A Ranjith Cinema story: After a series of cinematic incidents in his life, aspiring filmmaker Ranjith decides to script one half based on true incidents and the latter, on fictional events. However, he soon finds out that the fictional incidents that he had scripted for his movie is all coming true. As he races to check these from happening, he is also entangled in a crime case. In parallel, Sunny, an entrepreneur, who crosses paths with Ranjith and finds himself at the receiving end of misunderstandings, has an axe to grind with him. Will Ranjith’s real life have the same ending as his reel one?
A Ranjith Cinema review: Given that the team of debutant filmmaker Nishanth Sattu’s A Ranjith Cinema, which has Asif Ali in the lead, did little to no promotions for the movie, it lets the audience go in with zero expectations. For a movie like this – which is high on concept and yet the writing tries to break it down to let the audience enjoy it, this ploy, even though unintended, helps.
The movie revolves around its titular character Ranjith (Asif), who is an aspiring filmmaker and has just wrapped his final episode as the content lead of a prank show. His final prank also has disastrous consequences for Sunny (Saiju Kurup), who is married to a wealthy entrepreneur’s daughter but just can’t seem to win over his father-in-law. Every time Ranjith crosses paths with Sunny, the latter ends up being misunderstood – once causing his wounds to fester for him to seek vengeance on Ranjith. In addition to this thread, Ranjith also stumbles into a piece of evidence that would incriminate a police officer.
These two threads alone, would have made for a simple film. But what Nishanth does use these are the subplot in the film that’s largely concept-driven, and we are introduced to this till the beginning of Act 2, where Ranjith narrates a script to a producer – one that is partly inspired by his real life and part fiction; only for him to find out that things he imagined in the second half soon comes to pass in real as well. This aspect of A Ranjith Cinema is what will keep the audience hooked for most parts.
It's easy for concept-driven movies to go wrong; but Nishanth has put in thought to keep it simple as well as intriguing by using the protagonist’s emotions. Some of this work, for instance, how Ranjith has to make a choice between saving his girlfriend or his mother. But then there are also elements where despite the events unfolding just like his script, Ranjith seems to be clueless about how to stop it.
The use of two different actors – Asif and Anson Paul – as Ranjith in the real and reel life was an interesting way to tell this story, which has too much going on after a point of time. This distinction helps the audience, despite the dullness that does creep into the reel portions, to understand what the makers are trying to say. This also makes the second half, a much easier watch – where the viewer and the makers can just follow Ranjith’s track rather than bombard with the other threads.
Asif plays Ranjith with relative ease; he’s an actor who has evolved over the years and now knows how to magnify emotions in every scene. There’s also a sense of freshness – though it’s again a confused youth that he plays – that Asif brings into the character through his body language. Saiju Kurup also deserves special mention, as he plays Sunny, who could have ended up comedic if not subtly portrayed, with the respect the character required. Anson Paul, Namitha Pramod, Jewel Mary, Renji Panicker and Hannah Reji Koshy also play their limited parts well, with Krishna making the best use of his character.
Had the film been trimmed further, it could have kept the proceedings taut. Also, for some reason, the stakes didn’t feel too high for Ranjith’s character and that means that the climax, despite all the twists, didn’t quite land right.
A Ranjith Cinema verdict: Though A Ranjith Cinema takes some time to find its footing, the makers deserve credit for attempting a movie that has enough interesting elements to keep the audience hooked.