Pa. Ranjith

This article is about the Tamil film director. For the Malayalam filmmaker, see Ranjith (director).
Pa. Ranjith
Born Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Nationality Indian
Occupation Film director
Years active 2012 - Present
Awards SIIMA for best director

Pa. Ranjith is an Indian film director who has made Tamil language films. He made his directorial debut with the 2012 romantic comedy Attakathi, before earning unanimously positive reviews for his second film, the political drama Madras (2014). In 2016, he wrote and directed the gangster-drama Kabali, starring Rajinikanth.


Ranjith was born in Karalapakkam, a village near Avadi, north-west of Chennai. He graduated from Government College of Fine Arts, Chennai, and has described that his travels to and from his college often helped create inspiration for film ideas.[1] During his time in education, he joined the film chamber and began watching world cinema, regularly attending annual film festivals. He gained inspiration from films including The Battle of Algiers (1966) and City of God (2002), stating they changed his thinking of cinema and revealed that they had a deep impact on him.[1]

Early Stages

Ranjith joined the film industry as an assistant director and first worked on Shiva Shanmugam's Thagapansamy (2006), which he has since revealed as an "unmemorable stint", before moving on to apprentice under film makers N. Linguswamy and Venkat Prabhu. He initially helped prepare a storyboard for a Malaysian album that Venkat Prabhu had been working on in 2006, before gaining trust and being allowed to work closely with him during the making of Chennai 600028 (2007).[1]


Ranjith was introduced to a newcomer producer C. V. Kumar in 2011 by a mutual friend, Mani, who convinced Kumar to give Ranjith an opportunity to make a film. Consequently, Attakathi was completed in fifty days in a budget of just 1.75 crores.[1] Following promising pre-release reviews, the venture became bigger when production house Studio Green chose to buy the distribution rights. The film opened to positive review in August 2012, with noting the film "looks at youth and romance in a most refreshing way" and added that Ranjith should take "the credit, completely, of taking an ordinary storyline and infusing it with warmth and hilarity."[2] Sify's critic, similarly, wrote "we recommend that you make time for this charming little treat of a film, as it has an inherent sweetness and honesty that will stay with you".[3]


Studio Green signed up Ranjith to direct a film for their production house and in December 2012, he confirmed that he would shortly begin work on a project titled Sarpatta Paramparai with Karthi in the lead role, though production was subsequently delayed and did not take off as planned.[4] In July 2013, it was announced that the pair would collaborate on a new script and that Sarpatta Parambarai and their ongoing venture, Madras, were two different scripts. Although the producers liked both scripts, Ranjith decided to shoot Madras first as Karthi had accidentally read the script of Madras and liked its concept and characters.[5] During pre-production of the film, Ranjith returned home to North Chennai to research and took stock of the residents' body language, sports, fashion, behaviour and dialogues. He revealed that through his script, he hoped to depict the angst and depression of the youth of the region and wrote several characters in the film including the two leads to represent individuals with "bottled up anger".[1] Ranjith also informed that some changes were made to the script to accommodate Karthi in the lead role.[6] Also featuring Catherine Tresa and Kalaiyarasan in prominent roles, Madras told the story of a dispute over a political message written on wall in North Chennai and how the region's political rivalry affects the inhabitants. Madras received highly positive reviews from critics, who praised the performances of the actors, as well as the technical aspects of the film.[7] Udhav Naig, writing for The Hindu said, "Rarely does one get to see a Tamil film that reflects the social reality so closely and sketching a detailed account of life that the middle and the upper middle class know little about. Full marks to Pa. Ranjith for that".[8] Writing for The New Indian Express, Malini Mannath said, "With an engaging screenplay, deft narration, well fleshed out characters and actors well cast, Madras captures the feel, flavour and ambiance of North Madras with perfect precision".[9] Sify said, "Madras works big time as writer and director Ranjith has given priority to his script, which hooks the audiences straightaway. It is a triumph of honest writing and heartfelt dialogues. It is a gutsy and outstanding film".[10]


He began pre-production work for a venture starring Suriya in October 2014, after the actor approached him being impressed with Madras.[1] The project has been put on hold, after he began working on Kabali (2016) featuring Rajinikanth in the title role.


Ranjith has been a continuous target of criticism for his Dalit image.[11]His movies are referred as Dalit movies representing a specific caste.[12][13][14][15]


Year Film Credited as Notes
Director Writer
2012 Attakathi Green tick Green tick
2014 Madras Green tick Green tick SIIMA Award for Best Director – Tamil
Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Director – Tamil
2016 Kabali Green tick Green tick


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6
  2. "Review: Attakathi is worth a watch - Movies". 2012-08-16. Retrieved 2012-11-09.
  3. "Movie Review:Attakathi". Retrieved 2012-08-18.
  4. "'Attakathi' Ranjith confirms Karthi project". Behindwoods. 27 December 2012. Archived from the original on 6 September 2014. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
  5. ""SANTHOSH NARAYANAN IS AN IMPORTANT FORCE TO RECKON WITH IN TAMIL FILM MUSIC", DIRECTOR PA.RANJITH". Behindwoods. 13 September 2014. Archived from the original on 14 September 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  7. "'Madras' Movie Review Roundup: Must Watch". International Business Times. 26 September 2014. Archived from the original on 26 September 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  8. Naig, Udhav (26 September 2014). "Madras: A tale of crime and punishment in the slums". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 27 September 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  9. Mannath, Malini (28 September 2014). "Perfect Feel of Life in North Madras". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 28 September 2014. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  10. "Madras". Sify. 26 September 2014. Archived from the original on 27 September 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  11. "Pa. Ranjith Kabali caste, Pa. Ranjith Kabali Controversy". 2016-06-20. Retrieved 2016-11-17.
  12. "The Kabali-Baashha Connection: Kabali is Dalit because Manickam is an Auto-Rickshaw Driver! | Spicy Blog". Retrieved 2016-11-17.
  13. Naig, Udhav (2014-10-17). "'Madras, a critique of Dalit politics'". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2016-11-17.
  14. Rangan, Baradwaj (2014-10-11). "'Impure' Tamilians?". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2016-11-17.
  15. "I am opposed to "Kabali" being called a "Dalit-movie" - Pa. Ranjith's interview to News18 - Part 1 - Dalit Camera". Retrieved 2016-11-17.
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