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Helming Passenger

May 12, 2009 15:48 IST

Helming Passenger

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Ranjith Shankar [inset] has every reason to smile, as he talks about his experience of making Passenger, which has become the flavor of the season.

The thriller, with Dileep, Sreenivasan and Mamta Mohandas in the lead is running to packed houses all across Kerala.

Ranjith, an IT professional, feels that it was his passion for cinema that made it possible for him to make Passenger.

In an exclusive interview to Meghna George, he talks about his debut venture and more. Excerpts:

How do you balance two careers -- an IT professional and a writer-director?

[Smiles] It all depends on your interest levels. For me, my background as an engineer and my job has helped me in films. Sometime back, I had presented a paper on how similar these jobs are. Like you have to do a project with the preferences of your client in mind. In films too, it is the viewer who will decide its fate. Of course, the reach of movies is tremendous and is beyond comparison.


Image: A scene from Passenger

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'I have always believed that movies are essentially a director's medium'

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What attracted you to films?

I have been addicted to movies for quite a long time. It was the fascination to write that brought me closer to the medium. I like all genres of films and my favorite film is Frank Darabont's The Shawshank Redemption. Even the thoughts about the film can inspire me when I feel low. My other favorites include Rob Reiner's When Harry Met Sally.

I have always believed that movies are essentially a director's medium and that was the reason why I decided to write and direct Passenger.

Take us through the evolution of Passenger?

It was the character of Sathyanathan, played by Sreenivasan that first happened when I started thinking about Passenger.

Frankly, the basic nature of the character has been inspired from my friend Sudheendran, who travels in a train every day to his office and back. It is his routine that he sleeps when the train crosses the bridge over the Chalakudy river and gets up right before it reaches Aluva. Then there was a friend of mine named Janardhanan who slept in a train one night and couldn't return from Guruvayur in the night. The rest of the story came later on.


Image: A scene from Passenger

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'Dileep was the right choice for the role'

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Dileep has been cast in a serious role, quite unlike his usual image. How did you choose him for the role?

His role is that of a lawyer, who is sincere and committed to social issues. The role suited him perfectly. He had to be a matured man and at the same time, young as well. He is newly married and shares good vibes with his wife. All these made Dileep, the right choice for the role.

You have not included any songs in Passenger?

I had a fast paced, gripping thriller in my mind hence there was no space for songs in the film. However, we have made a theme song for promotion purpose.


Image: A scene from Passenger

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'I was dying to see Passenger on screen'

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If you were to make Passenger again, how different would it be from its present format?

[Laughs] I have made the film exactly the way I had imagined it in my mind. Maybe after a year or so, I can say how different it would be, if I make it again.

What about your future projects?

I was thinking about Passenger for the last five years or so and was dying to see it on screen. I will think about a new theme and will make it into a film, when such a feeling happens again.


Image: A scene from Passenger

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