Posted by: Ranjith Sankar | May 27, 2009

Live your Dream

Is it easy?

You ever had a dream which you gave up for a living?

Can you still make it?

I remember a show which i watched with Anupam Kher as host.He was actually mingling with the common man on the street searching for their lost dreams and looking for ways to inspire them to relive it.I dont remember the name of the show,think it was mr gold or something.

Somehow I used to watch that show regularly.I always loved reading success stories of people , their struggling day incidents and how they eventually made it.Nagesh Kukkonoor wrote an article on this,the way he was self motivated to leave his BIG job in US,come back to india and struggle to make hydrebad blues.

I wrote the first draft of passenger in 2003.I never thought of directing it myself.The script was rejected by almost all leading film makers here as it was too risky to make it.I realised if I wanted to see passenger on screen i would need to direct it myself.

I wrote for television before.But that was more of a writers medium.I could do whatever  i wanted within the limitations of a budget.Movie was totally different.It was and it had to be a directors medium.

I had realised that making passenger was the most important part of my life at that point of time.There seemed no point in living without making it or atleast be in the pursuit of making it.

I decided to learn direction to make passenger.I spend the past 3 years visiting movie sets and watch other directors work using some of the contacts I had.It was tough days but what kept me going was the excitement of seeing passenger on screen some day.

I felt confident that I was ready to direct in 2007.I approached all the leading producers with the passenger script.Again no one was ready to make it, as it was a huge risk.

So I had a script I believed in, but no producers, distributors, actors..  absolutely me alone. I knew I had to make a start somewhere. I remember it was during one of those sleepless nights I realised I could produce passenger myself.

Well I was not a multimillionaire to do it, but I could very well raise the amount from banks against my salary and against couple of properties I had bought by then. The best part was that my family supported me completely in it. They must have realised how important it was for me.

I met sreenivasan with the script to play the role of Sathyanathan. I told him I will produce and direct the movie. He heard the script and said it was excellent. I asked him whether he would act as Sathyan. He smiled and said that he will not only act in this movie but will stand by me to make it. We parted after a chat for an hour.

It was busy next day for me, approaching banks for loans. Canara bank offered me 10 lakhs. It was not enough. I was driving to HDFC that I got a call from Sreenivasan. He asked whether I was particular that I produce passenger. He said it would be difficult for me to focus writing, directing and producing a first movie. He offered to arrange me a producer. I was pleasantly surprised. I was not alone anymore.

Rest was easy. The best part was that evryone who joined us in the project loved and believed in passenger as much or more than I did. We got each and every actor whom we wanted to every particular role. It was dream casting. You cant actually plan it. Its luck. It happens for some movies which are destined to have it.

Passenger was one such movie. Today its 25 days after passenger release. Its projected as the movie which could change malayalan cinema. Or atleast a beginning to it.

Dream on guys.

All what you need is the will to follow it relentlessly, passionately.

Nothing can stop you from getting there.

Live your dream!



  1. You said it, Ranjith. Haven’t seen the movie but from the reviews it seems to be an excellent flick. You may not know me. I also grew up in Lakshmi Nagar and am your b-in-l’s friend. Your parents know me pretty well. Bindu mentioned about this movie a couple of months back. Anyways, you had a dream debut. Congratulations and keep up the good work. It is really great to see youngsters these days actually doing what they love to do and when you put your heart and soul into something it has to succeed.

  2. Thanks Raju chettan.I guess u r KB Nair uncles son right?

  3. Dear Ranjith

    You said it boss… I think in this blog you have written my present state of mind and situation

    I am in your plight now… But I won’t take the risk of making the movie myself… Let me wait till the stellar positions come my way… A long wait it is… I know… But I believe… It will happen


  4. Thanks for the prompt reply, Ranjith. Yes, this is Raju and I am pleasantly surprised that you remember me. Where are you based now? I always find the Lakshmi Nagar house locked. Regards to your parents. These days you must be basking in the glory of the huge success of Passenger. This is a good sign that young talents are being accepted and encouraged. Any new thread in mind? I know this a long and arduous process. Do keep in touch when you find time.

  5. I am exactly in that position , I am struggling to make a living online..I earned a whopping 10 $ till now …
    Guess whatever field we are in ..a passion is all that matters..:)
    Hope your future movies be successful as this one…

  6. മാഷേ,
    സ്വപ്നങ്ങളും അതിലേക്കെത്താനുള്ള പ്രയത്നങ്ങള്‍ക്കിടയിലും താങ്കള്‍ വിട്ടു വീഴ്ചകള്‍ക്ക് തയ്യാറായില്ല എന്ന് പാസഞ്ചര്‍ തെളിയിച്ചിരിക്കുന്നൂ (ഞാന്‍ എന്റെ കുടുംബത്തോടൊപ്പമാണു കണ്ടത്, അവര്‍ ശരിക്കും എന്‍‌ജോയ് ചെയ്തു..ശ്വാസമടക്കിയിരുന്ന്…)..കുറച്ചു മസാല മിക്സ് ചെയ്യാന്‍ ധാരാളം സ്കോപ്പുണ്ടായിരുന്നിട്ടു കൂടി അതിനു മുതിര്‍ന്നില്ല എന്നത് തികച്ചും അഭിനന്ദനാര്‍ഹം..(വില്ലന്മാര്‍ക്കിടയില്‍ ഒരു ഐറ്റം ഡാന്‍സ് തമിഴിലായിരുന്നെങ്കില്‍ ഉറപ്പ്- കടപ്പാട്: സരോജ.)
    അടുത്ത ചിത്രങ്ങളിലും ഈ ഡെഡിക്കേഷനും പ്രൊഫഷനലിസവും ഉണ്ടാവട്ടെ എന്നാശംസിക്കുന്നൂ…
    കംഫോര്‍ട്ട് സോണില്‍ നിന്നും പുറത്തു വന്ന് സ്വപ്നങ്ങള്‍ സാക്ഷാല്‍കരിക്കാന്‍ കഴിഞ്ഞതിനു എല്ലാ പിന്തുണയും നല്‍കിയ കുടുംബത്തിനാണു ഫസ്റ്റ് മാര്‍ക്..
    ഓഫ് ടോപിക്: ഞാനും ഉള്‍പ്പെടുന്ന എന്‍‌ജിനീയര്‍ ഗ്രൂപ്പില്‍ നിന്നും ഒരാള്‍ വഴി കാണിക്കുന്നതിലുള്ള സന്തോഷം മറച്ചു വെയ്ക്കുന്നില്ല….


  7. Prasanth,Paul,

    Keep working towards it.

    Raju chettan,

    Mostly in kochi now.


    Very good point about family.Thats one place we forget easily in times of success and remember in times of failures.This is for them.

  8. Hi Ranjith,

    You have written my present stage.Scripted, making calls to directors etc. & Atlast i found one rescue point as an associate director for a new movie.And one more similarity i found.Im a s/w engg.:D [ it sounds like i have a computer, a common stuff ]. Introducing myself, i do write blogs on malayalam movie reviews and common topics. I didnt get a chance to write review on your movie.Since that movie released on coimbatore last Friday only.I work in CTS, Coimbatore.

  9. Hi Ranjeeth,

    Here are my thoughts on your script and its criticisms:

    Some reviewers have opined that the initial scenes in the train and Sathyanath’s house were unnecessary or slow, and that the movie as a whole was not “racy”.

    Usually, thrillers end with a twist. These twists do not appear out of the blue, and are usually supported by hints placed at various places in the script. The twist reminds us of those hints, and we are thrilled by the new meanings the twist gives to those hints. (Remember the visuals accompanying the second “ente khalbile” song in Classmates.) But, Passenger does not end with a twist – it ends with a message. And, many hints are scattered in the movie to support the message.

    The movie’s message is to be less selfish and to be supportive towards others in need. The three major characters – Sathyanath, Nandan and Anuradha – personify altruism and care for fellow human beings. One method to highlight their virtues and underline the message is to contrast them with some characters having opposite traits. Thus, we have –

    • Train travelers who discuss various issues with gross apathy,
    • An old lady who is more interested in Devee Mahathmyam than in news reports about a suspected sexual abuse victim or an averted massacre of innocents,
    • A station master who is good-hearted but practical,
    • A taxi driver who is highly suspicious of a night time passenger,
    • Train travelers who ridicule Sathyanath’s request to help to save Nandan, who is in trouble, ironically, due to his attempts to save strangers, etc.
    Interestingly, characters are not presented as “all good” or “all bad”. Rather, they are shown to have different thresholds for their readiness to sacrifice their own needs for the interests of others.
    • Sathyanath, who is not ready to take his son to the selection camp because of the clashing dates with the temple festival, later sacrifices the same festival to help many strangers.
    • The taxi driver, who initially ridicules Sathyanath’s request to go faster so that they can save a life, later becomes an active participant in the process when he realizes the seriousness of the situation.
    • At a point, even Anuradha decides to hand over the clip and save Nandan. Later, she changes her mind when she realizes that the act cannot guarantee their safety.
    • Even Anali Shaji has a change of mind when he realizes that Nandan is fighting for lives of thousands of strangers.

    So, the message is not exactly about developing empathy and altruism where there is none, but about reducing the threshold at which you start giving more importance to others.

    So, all these “hints” related to the message had to be incorporated in the script. Most of them were presented as a part of the action (for e.g., Sathyananth’s plea to the travelers). But, the screenwriter did not succeed in incorporating some of them (like the old woman’s part) into the action, and they are being perceived as pace killers. But, they are not out of place, and serve a definite and important purpose of strengthening the movie’s message.

    Besides, the opening sequence also helped to set-up the following elements:

    1. The back story of Anali Shaji. This information about his history heightens whatever change of mind he has towards the end.
    2. The “programmed” nature of Sathyanath’s naps in the train – that makes his first meeting with Nandan more natural.
    3. Sathyanath’s craziness about the festival and his refusal to take his son to the selection camp. This information heightens his later sacrifice of the festival to help Nandan.

    Still, the details of the distribution company officer, Anoop Chandran character’s entry to the train, the way Sathyanath gets the signature of the stranger, etc. could have been easily trimmed.

    Some reviewers have commented about the lack of logic in certain portions of the story, and most of them are right. However, I am not aware of any thriller with a fool-proof plot. Look at the IMDB pages of some of the best thrillers like Shawshank Redemption or Silence of the Lambs – you will be surprised by numerous silly errors in these classics.

  10. Thanks Shahul,


    Good luck.

  11. Nice article… havent seen your movie yet…waiting for it to release..its on June 19th…will definitely send u a mail after watching it…

    Uma Sankar

  12. Hai sir,
    Wonderful article, i felt like a shock or a row of fire drops passing inside my body while reading it, you are the prime example for all the youngsters like me giving importance for dreams. Expecting more and more thrillers from you and we will watch it on big screen sitting at the tip of the chair. Keep up the good work………..


  13. Sure Uma,



  14. dear renjith sankar,yesterday i have seen passenger,it was good movie,having a very good message.when intervel reached everybody check their watch,we surprised one hour over.Infact that one hour passeed like 5 minutes.there are lot of suspense in passenger.congrats for ur good work.


  15. hallo sir,
    first i am appreciate for ur great work without even a single fault,,yesterday i watched passenger it was very nice with a valuable message to the viewers,,from today i ll try my maximum to promote passenger,,and am also awaiting ur next project

  16. hallo sir,
    first i am appreciate for ur great work without even a single fault,,yesterday i watched passenger it was very nice with a valuable message to the viewers,,from today i ll try my maximum to promote passenger,,and am also awaiting ur next project

    prasanth.m ambalapuzha alappuzha

  17. Praveen,Prasanth


  18. Mashe,

    This post is really motivating. Oru padam pidikkanam enna aagraham valare adhikam und. But still, athinu irangi purappedaan ulla dhairyam aayittilla. Njan ethratholam able aanu ennariyaathathaanu kaaranam. I would like to narrate a story with you, if you are interested(my mail id is here along with the comment).

    – Ajith S

  19. Keep working towards it Ajith

  20. Hello Renjith Sankar,

    I saw PASSENGER.I must say it is an excellent movie i have seen compared to all other running film.It had a different treatment and i did love to see it again.I was thinking how a person’s debut movie can be so excellent,each and every role cast was excellent,the story line was convincing and the most Superb direction.I now after reading this blog realize your effort and passion behind it,Great Work Keep it up.I must say iam am expecting another movie from you again and i humbly this same passion should drive that movie.


    With regards,

  21. All what you need is the will to follow it relentlessly, passionately.

    Nothing can stop you from getting there.

    Live your dream!
    hats off

  22. Thanks Vikas,indu

  23. hello sir

  24. Hi Ranjith,

    First of all congrats..
    I was searching for a media to communicate with you and finally got thie blog.
    Hope you will get an opportunity to see this.
    I am really happy to share with you that passenger was an eye opener for many who missed the importance of coexistence in this world.
    Island express was another feather in your cap.
    I still remember that day when we first heard the news from peruman, it was shocking and more painful.

    Thank you for converting these stories into movies.
    Keep doing such work

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