Wednesday, September 15

Pranchiyettan and The Saint

Movie - Pranchiyettan & The Saint (Malayalam)
Director - Ranjith
Producer - Ranjith
Cast - Mammootty, Innocent, Priyamani, Khushboo, Siddique,Tiny Tom, Edavela Babu, Jagathy Sreekumar, Ganapathy, Ramu, TG Ravi, Biju Menon, Sivaji Guruvayoor, Sadique.
Music - Ouseppachan
Cinematography - Venu ISC
Editing - Vijay Shankar
Art - Manu Jagath
Story, Screenplay, Dialogues - Ranjith
Release Date - 10th September 2010

Ranjith is one director in Malayalam who is not scared of experimenting in his films. His last few films are proof that he is trying to bring a definite change to the diminishing Malayalam film industry. And after the path-breaking Palery Manikyam : Oru Pathirakkolapathakathinte Katha, he is back with Pranchiyettan & The Saint, a hilarious satire on Malayalees and their greed for fame and popularity. And he has cast his current favourite Mammootty as the protagonist  Pranchiyettan, a Trisshur based rice merchant. Another interesting factor is that most of the actors in the film actually hail from Trisshur district which gives a great deal of authenticity to the film and its characters. The movie doesnt fall into any of the traps of a commercial film like songs, dances and fights. Yet it manages to entertain its audience completely through its intelligent humour and wonderfully written scenes. 

The movie is about CE Francis alias Pranchiyettan (Mammootty), Aripranchi for most of the people of Trisshur and his encounter with St. Francis at a church, just when he is about to make a crucial decision in his life. Pranchiyettan is a rich rice merchant who has all the luxuries in life, except for one thing - name and fame in society. His attempts to create a definite name and image in the society is the crux of the movie. He shares different episodes of his life to the Saint like his school time love story, the election for the president post in a private club, a pursuit to get the Padmashree honour, a few days with another Padmashree (Priyamani) and finally, a young boy Pauly (Ganapathy) who changes his life. 

Ranjith has opted for an episodic format in his screenplay. So there is a chance that you would not find a coherent storyline in the movie. But Cinema, as we all know, is not about the story, it is about the screenplay, or how a story/idea is told. And Ranjith's screenplay for this movie is nothing short of fantastic. Each episode is given the right treatment, out of which the Padmashree pursuit is the high point. Pranchi falls for all the hopes that his advisor Vasu Menon (Innocent) gives him and fails each time. His support system includes Bahuleyan (Ramu), Supru (Tiny Tom), Uthuppu (TG Ravi) and Ousepp (Edavela Babu). His arch rival is Dr. Jose (Siddique) who got married to his childhood flame Dr.Omana (Khushboo). Each character in the movie has a distinct characterization and that is one of the major strong points of the movie. Each one of these characters have their share of fair contribution to the narrative. 

Mammootty excels in yet another role that challenges the great actor in him. The actor who has a peculiar skill in picking up characters who speak in different slangs and dialects, has opted for a Trisshur dialect-speaking uneducated merchant, whom he plays to perfection. Everything from his look to his dialogue delivery to his body language, expressions and timing is perfect. The actor shows that he does not need slapstick comedy to prove his comic timing once again after Loudspeaker last year. Mammootty is the strongest asset of this movie and he has made Pranchiyettan an iconic character who will be remembered for a long time. 

The rest of the cast is led by Innocent in his most wonderful comic performance in a long time as Pranchi's advisor Vasu Menon who lands him in all sorts of troubles. His remarks about a certain elocutionist Mr.Prabhakar Anthikkod is rip-roaringly hilarious if you get the joke. He matches Mammootty in every frame and is a delight to watch. Priyamani is wonderful in a short role and makes a mark in the little screen time she gets. Siddique appears in hardly 2 or 3 scenes, but each one of them is a howler where one cant help but jump off the chair laughing. Ganapathy is impressive as the prankster Pauly. Ramu is excellent and his expression while he remembers one of Pranchi's remarks his priceless. Jagathy Sreekumar gets a good role after a series of mundane roles and is as usual, brilliant. Khushboo is graceful. The actor who played the servant Eeyappan deserves special mention. Tiny Tom, TG Ravi, Sivaji Guruvayoor and Biju Menon deliver noteworthy performances. The Saint, played by Jesse Fox Allen is good and his dubbing by director Ranjith himself is great. And the director has made sure that the entire cast has spoken very naturally in the Trisshur slang in all the scenes.

The interactions between Pranchi and the Saint slightly reminds one of the interactions between and Munnabhai and Gandhi in the brilliant Lage Raho Munnabhai. And the speech scene where Pranchi embarasses himself is slightly similar to the Balatkaar speech scene from 3 Idiots. Apart from these 2 positive Rajkumar Hirani influences, Ranjith's film is completely original and amusing. It does not insult the sensibilities of the audience and yet manages to entertain them. Thats the sign of a quality filmmaker. Ranjith is a master at writing dialogues and here also the dialogues are intelligent, witty and packs a solid punch. The innovative casting is also a master stroke from the director. 

The one song in the movie is more of a montage sequence and it actually helps in carrying the narrative forward. Composed by Ouseppachan, the song is just about okay. Veteran cinematographer Venu has made the movie look as authentic as possible. Most of the movie has been shot indoors and Venu has given the right look and feel for all the frames. Vijay Shankar gives the right pace to the film through his smart editing. Art director Manu Jagath ensures that Pranchi's world looks as real as it can. Ouseppachan's background score is apt for the movie. 

On the whole, Pranchiyettan and The Saint is a great treat coming from one of the best writer-directors we have in the industry today, as part of his conscious effort to bring about a change in the industry. Hope that this film does extremely well so that we can get more films like Thirakkatha, Kerala Cafe, Palery Manikyam and Pranchiyettan. It can be called a commercial entertainer even though it has none of the trappings of a regular commercial film. A quality film with a fresh narrative, great performances and simplicity as its biggest strength. One of the best movies that has come out in recent times. Ee gadi kalakkeettondu kettaa!! Highly recommended!!!

Rating - 4.5/5  (It keeps getting better with each viewing). 


  1. im soo glad to know that we have a sensible critic to malayalam cinema with such a sharp eye to detail..this review is nothing short of "perfect" !!!!!!!!

  2. perfect writing and simply composed free fall appreciation.

    rakesh nath

  3. pranchiyettan a nice movie....
    ithil priyamaniude scenukal illenkil ithoru nalla movie ayirunnene...
    oru nayikaye kondu varan mathram undakiyedutha scene poleund...
    ithil pranchi vijayikkunnath aaa payyane makanayi sweekarikkumbozhanuuu....
    athu kazhinju priyamanik pranchiyod sneham thonnunnath parama bore ayippoyi....
    nyway ranjith hav done a gud job..
    nd mammoty performed well nd gud at dubbing....

  4. ur review is nice
    i am a regular reader of ur reviw