Posted by: Ranjith Sankar | February 4, 2010

Sreeniyettan

I met sreeniyettan first time  for my cousins marriage.My uncle was his friend.I had written some serials then.I remember my mother was very persistent that I meet him them(Donno why).We just shook hands on stage.I am sure he doesnt remember it now,we havent talked about it since.

I met him next when he was shooting for Arabikkatha.I was there as Lal joses friend.Laluvettan introcuced me to him as “someone who thinks of different movie ideas”.With his trademark  laugh he said “Thats a field which is very much in demand these days”.That was the only thing we talked during the 9 days I was there for the shooting.I felt like discussing passenger script(Mammukka was my hero then) with him but then withdrew from it,donno why.I was also really busy with Laluvettan learning the tricks of the trade.We sat together for lunch etc but never talked:)

I met him next at Dileepettans Guest house in Alwaye.He had agreed to hear passenger script.It was a harthal day.(Coincidently the day passenger released was also a harthal).I went there on a friends bike.He heard the script and said “Enikku santhosham aayi” with a full heart.He said he will not only act in the movie but will stand by me to make it.We parted after an hour.

He called me back the 2nd day offering me a producer.In his trademark style he laughed and said “I wont be able to take a remuneration from you if you produce it”.I laughed and replied “Dont worry about it.I was not going to pay you anyway”..The reply was a very big laugh.He committed with a producer that day itself on my behalf.Imagine the producer hadnt met me nor heard my script.That was Sreenivasan-The man commercial malayalam cinema trade believes blindly.A goodwill he had earned from all his years of hardwork.He was willing to trade it for a rank newcomer like me.It was just that one hour meeting.Just that.It was done.

I had to go to meet the producer S C Pillai on a said date.I got a call from an unknown number some 2 days back.I was in ottappalam busy scouting locations.It was sreeniyettan.He said he is in chennai,his phone is lost so calling from another number.He said he is also going to Trivandrum on the said date,I could go with him.

Dears,I was thrilled.Travelling with sreenivasan from Kochi to Trivandrum.What all I can talk with him etc etc.I had an important assignment in office that day but I turned it down saying I can resign but cant cancel this trip.Sreeniyettans wife was also with us that day.They were coming back from Chennai.That journey was special.It was such a wonderful family,such down to earth people.I talked non stop till we reached Trivandrum.

I had to return from Trivandrum the very next day since one of my uncle expired.We talked on phone the next day,we had some casting issues regarding Nandan Menon then.He asked me who else do I want to cast.I said Dileep will be good,but will he come.It was a very strong voice from the other end “VANNIRIKKUM”

I was meeting Dileepettan for the first time.Sreeniyettan called me and said he has fixed an appointment for Dileep to hear the script.I said it would be better if Sreeniyettan was also there.He said lemme see and cancelled the call.He called me in the evening.I asked “r u coming?”.He laughed and said ” I am already here”.He stayed in kochi for 2 days for that.(Dileepettan had some ailments),but he stayed.Dileepettan heard the script and immediately said yes to it.We had a ball that night.

I met him next in Ottappalam when he was shooting for “Samayam”.I was there for couple of days.He talked about his favorite movies,screenplays,life etc etc.He talked about what a good editor should be,cinematographer should be,sound recordist should be in movies,how good cinema happens..I listened as a good student.I had started realising this by then.My outlook to movies are changing with every meeting with him.I am listening to an institution in itself,a true legend and genius.

We talked through phone mostly after that,we met next when he was shooting Makante Achan.We talked on the minute details on locations and casting etc etc.

I badly wanted to sit with him on passenger script but he was really busy.Soon after Makante Achan he went into Katha Samvidanam Kunchacko.We met the next time almost a week before the shooting.I requested him that he should spend a day with me on the script.He readily agreed.We sat together and went through the whole script again.That was one big session for me.We trimmed some scenes,deleted some altogether,added some notches..That was experience..A great learning lesson for me how to perfectly edit a shooting script.I realised what a master script writer he was.

We started shooting and he was with me whenever I needed him.There has been times he was really angry at me,big quarells etc etc,,but most of  the times he loved me.He helped me realise my dream in whatever ways he could…It was like an old japanese saying “If you buy someone fish for a day he will eat for a day,but if you teach him fishing he will eat fish all his life”

He taught me movies,to work hard and harder to make them and loving the process of it.More than the wonderful movies he has given us , I feel the greatest contribution of sreeniyettan for malayalam cinema is the kind of talent he has supported.If you look at major directors of malayalam today,many came through sreeniyettan school.Its a shame our system hasn’t even honouned him with a “Padma” award till date.

I realised what “genius” was , being with him,knowing him. Honestly I consider one of the biggest blessing in my life so far was to getting to know someone great as him from that close.

He was in USA when passenger released.He already had got calls from producers/distributors saying its a hit before I called.He asked me “Which scene is getting the biggest clap?”

I said…”I am happy..I am happy…”

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Responses

  1. […] Sreeniyettan « Ranjith Sankar […]

  2. […] post: Sreeniyettan « Ranjith Sankar Share and […]

  3. Thanks Ranjith chetta for sharing this story, to know more about our dear Sreenivasan sir..It may be the sincerity in the story that attracted Sreeni sir very much…I cant imagine any other person for that Sathyanath role …The climax sequence also got a good impact , because it is Srenivasan sir…
    “evide ninno ayal vannu njangalude nandi vakku polum kelkkathe ayal engotto poyi”,and the closeup shots of Sreenivasan, that created a pain to all viewers….When i watched the movie in Kottayam Abhilash theater, i saw once person is crying after that climax sequence…Ranjith chetta, you are lucky to get Sreeni sir’s support for your first film….All the best…!!!

  4. പാസഞ്ചറിന്റെ നാള്‍വഴികള്‍ പങ്കു വെച്ചതിന് നന്ദി…

    ഭര്‍ത്താവിന്റെ നിരുത്തരവാദിത്തപരമായ പ്രവൃത്തികള്‍ മൂലമുണ്ടായ ജീവിതപ്രതിസന്ധികള്‍ സധൈര്യം നേരിട്ട് വിജയം കൈവരിച്ച ശ്യാമളയെ വിജയന്‍‌മാഷിന്റെ കാല്‍ചുവട്ടില്‍ കരയിച്ച് കൊണ്ടിരുത്തിയ ആ ഒരു ഷോട്ട്, അതാണ് ശ്രീനിവാസന്‍ എന്ന ഫിലിം മേക്കറിനോട് എനിക്ക് ആകെയുള്ള പരിഭവം!

    വടക്കുനോക്കിയന്ത്രത്തിന്റെ സൂചിപോലത്തെ മനസ്സുള്ള ഭര്‍ത്താവ്, പാതി തുറന്ന ജനാലയിലൂടെ പ്രേക്ഷകന് നേരെ വെളിച്ചമടിക്കുന്ന ഷോട്ട്, അത് ആ പ്രതിഭാധനനോടുള്ള എന്റെ ഏറ്റവും വലിയ ആരാധനയും!

    സസ്നേഹം
    സലില്‍ | ദൃശ്യന്‍

  5. Thanks Aju and drishyan

  6. Mr Renjith,
    Its been a while I want to send an email or to call you for two reasons. I was so impressed with the movie passenger and the narration you had followed. Most importantly it was for a social cause. I live in US and I am not a critic or a big movie reviewer. But I enjoy watching all movies and I know to identifiy good movies. I got a somoething in my mind about a story which I believe you might be able to expand and make a good movie out of it. can you pass me on your email id or phone number where I can call you. If you are not intrested dont worry about it. Keep in mind I only watches movie and I am not trying to pusue any career in Movie industry but I like talents like you,Blessy, Lal jose and so on.

  7. Thanks Rizwan.

  8. Hi ranjith,
    whats the update with Arjunan… shooting is planned?
    ALL THE BEST

  9. […] […]

  10. […] Sreeniyettan Ranjith Sankar __________________ ഇനി നമുക്ക് മലയാളത്തില്* സല്ലപിക്കാം. http://www.google.com/transliterate/indic/Malayalam […]

  11. Thanks Renjith, no doubt he is one of the great script writers of malayalm film industry.

  12. Thanx for the write up PFC,

    So Arjunan Sakshi will be a real test for you… How much you learned from Sreeni will be on display… but having seen passenger, we are confident of getting a good movie…

  13. nice writing ranjith…
    i’m living in saudi arabia without my family… i say in bottom of my heart, the peoples like you are make me still alive…
    thank you very much for your great effort to entertains us.


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