A Blog on Cinema

Conversation with a Saint: Bullet Point Report


(Ranjit Nair blogs at Occupied Space)

  • Pranchiyettan and the Saint” is, I believe, director Ranjit giving the finger to those who had labeled him a “Hinduvta” director after a series of movies such as Devasuram, Ravanaprabhu, Nandanam, Prajapathy etc.
  • There have been several movies based on the Kottayam Christian milieu; however movies set in Thrissur are rare. Other than Padmarajan’s Thoovanathumbikal, I can remember no other movie that has used the town and its slang as an important facet in the movie.
  • It is refreshing that the movie has no “villains”. Siddhique is portrayed as Pranchi’s main rival, but Ranjit has resisted the temptation of having either the hero or villain import a dozen ruffians from several different places, and indulge in an outlandish fight sequence.
  • The whole bit about hints around the hypocritical lives lead by Siddhique and Khushboo was uncalled for – a cheap shot, really. Could Pranchi not find his happiness even as his childhood sweetheart and her husband lived happily too?
  • The whole speech sequence was awesome. It reminded me a bit of the iconic “balatkaar” sequence from “3 Idiots”; but the one in “Pranchiyettan…” was more about the fear of public speaking.
  • The whole concept of “Padmashree-chasing” was a riot. Ranjit clearly has a ball here, with digs at all and sundry.
  • Jagathy could have been avoided. He added absolutely nothing to the movie, and did nothing new (other than demonstrate a few Yoga poses) either.
  • Finally, what does one say of Mammootty? This amazing performance is most un-Mammootty-like; in fact it is almost Mohanlal-esque, except for the spotless Thrissur slang (which I think Mohanlal could not have quite managed). We all know that Mammootty excels in statuesque roles, but to see him excel as the self-deprecating Pranchi reminds us that the veteran still has unexplored depths. More innovative scripts please!


  1. Agree with this 95%. Hadn’t Mohanlal handled the Thrissur slang well in Thoovanathumbikal??

  2. A really good one, enjoyed every bit of it. Good work, ranjith..

  3. @Binai: No, Mohanlal sounded very foced in his Thrissur accent (I come from Thrissur). Also, he conveniently forgot his Thrissur accent as the movie progressed – a tiny flaw in a great, great movie I guess!

    @Bimal: Thanks!

  4. is thrissur accent the only focal point of the movie? i think not – if so all movies featuring innocent in a major role – manichithrathaazhu etc – should be hailed for the thrissure bit.
    so also kalabhavan also t j ravi (remember enthuttada shavvvi).

    the movie should be remembered for the hypocricy shown by some learned (or should we say unlearned) people in our society – trying for padma sree (based on a real life character roots in kollam), jewellery ads (again you know who)

    the movie is definitely worth a watch. but sounding as if it was wowww – is not on. Thuvanathumbikal was a master piece and Mohanlal didnt sound ‘forced’ – it was AWESOME – the movie ie – did the accent matter? maybe a bit yes..

    as always everyone is entitled to their opinions and am not from thrissur by the way

  5. Does anyone care to explain what is that about Hindutva mentioned about the director? If a director makes movies whose characters are Hindu, you automatically become a Hindutva director? Seriously, you (or your ancestors) ended up on the wrong side of the partition in 1947. Futile attempt at make yourself look secular? Man you guys are crap and certainly don’t know what secularism means.

  6. When it comes to accents and slangs, Mammootty is better than Mohanlal in that area of acting.

  7. Venu – as I mentioned in my comments, the accent bit in Thoovanathumbikal is a tiny flaw in an otherwise great movie. However, the forced accent bit in some sequences and the total absence of a Thrissur accent in most other scenes is a little disquieting.

    Also – Pranchi.. and Thoovanathumbikal are probably the only 2 mainstream movies set in and around Thrissur that I know of – the former especially so. Sure – Innocent, Mani etc have employed the dialect in dozens of other movies, but none of these movies had the town almost as a sort of character in the movie.

    For me, it was a “wow” movie alright since (a) this was a character-heavy movie more than a plot-heavy one, and those are far and few in Malayalam esp nowadays, and (b) how Mammmootty converted what was quite a difficult role into a wonderful piece of natural acting.

  8. Abilash,

    There have been accusations leveled at Ranjith for being a pro-Hinduvta guy for his series of movies such as Mayamayoorm, Devasuram, Aaram Thamburan, Prajapathy (as scriptwriter or director or both). All of these had an old “tharavad”, a temple and a temple festival etc as one of the main plot points. Ranjith has denied these accusations many a time.

  9. James – quite so. Movies like Sangham, Kottayam Kunjachan, Maravathu Kanavu, Vidheyan, Rajamanickyam, Pranchi.., and Chattmbinad (which is a lousy movie otherwise) bear testimony to this. Of course, there are things that Mohanlal does with ease where Mammotty falters too :).

  10. Thrissur slang itself has got a lot of sub branches. The slang used in Kodungallur side, Town area, Wadakkancherry area all are different. I feel Mohan Lal used the Wadakkancherry area slang which was common among the rural (naattinpuram) nayar samudayam in thrissur in Thovvanathumbikal, whereas Mammootty used the Thrissur town slang which belong to the shop owners and businessmen in Thrissur town which is considered as the “Thrissur slang”. So I think both the actors did well..

  11. One thing I still don’t understand is why Ranjith opted for an english name for the movie… “Pranchiyettanum Punyalanum” would have been an equally fit.

  12. ‘The whole bit about hints around the hypocritical lives lead by Siddhique and Khushboo was uncalled for – a cheap shot, really.’—Cant agree more. It was convenient and cliche-yish.

  13. the ‘pro hindutva’ thing has also been accused against jayaraj,shaji kailas et al…if you go to the online page of ‘maadhyamam’ or similar pieces of crap(which come disguised as film reviews’,remember reading a review of ‘traffic’ written by an online portal accusing the movie for its ‘anti minority stand’!) you can easily find out how much ‘secular’ our people have become ….unfortunately in our country secularism is an extremely ‘distorted’ thing….in some way or other anything related to a temple’,naalukettu or an ancient hindu tharavadu automatically becomes ‘communal’…the same logic has been made use by ‘mass’ leaders like ‘digvijay singh'(the ultimate’liberal’,the country has ever produced) to garner some cheap political mileage…..!

  14. For a moment I thought I landed on an archived page of Varnachitram. Wasn’t the movie released almost an year ago? Didn’t this blog discuss all these points in detail much earlier?

    You guys are doing a wonderful job, but will be great if we move on to newer movies and topics!


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