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O Baby director Ranjan Pramod: Be it Meesa Madhavan or Naran, I have always tried to experiment in commercial films

Scriptwriter-director Ranjan Pramod, who is gearing up for the release of O Baby, explains why box-office success is important to him

O Baby director Ranjan Pramod: Be it Meesa Madhavan or Naran, I have always tried to experiment in commercial films
Ranjan Pramod and (R) poster of O Baby
  • Sanjith Sidhardhan

Last Updated: 08.45 AM, Jun 06, 2023


Almost six years after the release of the Biju Menon-starrer Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu, scriptwriter-director Ranjan Pramod is back with a drama-thriller titled O Baby that has actor-filmmaker Dileesh Pothan in the lead.

In an exclusive interview with OTTplay, Ranjan, who has scripted superhit such as Meesa Madhavan, Naran and Achuvinte Amma, talks about his upcoming film that is set to hit theatres on June 9, why box office success of a movie is important to him and how he has always tried to bring something novel with his films. Excerpts from the interview:

Compared to Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu, O Baby has a relatively lesser-known cast except for Dileesh Pothan. How did the project shape up?

It was shaped up after a call I received from Dileesh, asking me why I have not been doing films. I told him we can discuss something together because you need someone to keep pushing you. He said we can think of something and then we discussed. When we synced, we landed on a subject and then it was about where we could place it. Once that was finalised, we went to the location and after seeing the place is when I began with the script and the other processes.

What’s the subject?

I can’t reveal that right now. It has globally relevant content. O.Baby is a drama-thriller. It has a lot of characters and topographically, it’s made on a big canvas. It won’t feel like a small movie. The film also has a political undertone. That said, it doesn’t revolve around political parties but the politics between people.

Also read: Exclusive! Dileesh Pothan: Acting in my contemporaries’ films has helped me learn, update myself as a director

The film also stars Dileesh and Raghunath Paleri, who are also directors and the latter, an accomplished writer. Did having them onboard also help improve the content of the movie?

I don’t think anyone can suggest a lot when someone else is already working on a script. They can react when we bounce off the ideas with them. How the association with Dileesh benefited this film is when you are doing a movie with so many newcomers, you need a selling point. If Dileesh was just another actor, it wouldn’t have added as much value. But because he is also an established director, the content of the movie is valued by the audience. We are hoping to capitalise on that expectation of the audience.


You have been the writer of some big theatrical hits such as Meesa Madhavan, Manassinakkare, Achuvinte Amma and Naran. But post-pandemic, it’s tricky for movies that are made on a limited budget and scale. In that sense, are you wary about how the film will be received by the audience?

You have that worry with every film you do – be it Meesa Madhavan or Naran. You want the movies to work commercially. There’s no fear in how a movie would work artistically because after you wrap up the film, you would know if it’s good or not. But you don’t know its fate at the box office till it releases in theatres. As far as I am concerned, the box office performance of a movie is important.

My previous movie was released six years ago, and it’s only because my film was also a commercial success that I can still direct films. Otherwise, it would have been difficult for me to activate a movie, if it was just critically acclaimed. I have always tried to explore a new cinematic language through my work. When I try to do something new with every film, it also becomes tough for the audience to trust me as a filmmaker. Instead, if I would make the same kind of films, the viewers would have a notion of the kind of movie that will be watching in theatres even before they buy the tickets.

So, even for the producers or distributors, when I pitch an idea, they wouldn’t immediately support me. If Dileesh Pothan wasn’t the lead actor of O Baby, I wouldn’t know how to convince another actor to be part of it. So, they will have to completely trust me because an actor too shoulders this responsibility.

When you have that trust of the actors and producers, the box office success of a movie becomes crucial, especially for a filmmaker like me who tries to experiment with commercial films. That’s the only way you can do your next movie. I don’t do experimental movies like Terrence Malick, but there’s such an element in all the movies I have done from Randam Bhavam and Meesa Madhavan to O Baby. When it becomes a hit, they say it’s a trendsetter; before that it’s just an experimental film.