Merchant of Thrissur

On location Ranjith's ‘Pranchiyettan and the Saint,' starring Mammootty, is about a rich but uneducated man who craves for recognition. Vijay George

P ranchiyettan is sitting on the veranda of his house reading a newspaper. Soon afterwards Deenadayal cycles into the compound, and goes inside the house.

The scene being shot is from writer-director Ranjith's ‘Pranchiyettan and the Saint,' the shooting of which was going on at an elegant bungalow in Thrissur town. Mammootty plays C.E. Francis a.k.a. Pranchiyettan, while Jagathy Sreekumar dons the role of Deenadayal.

About Pranchiyettan

“Pranchiyettan hails from a rich family that is traditionally into the business of selling rice. But he has an inferiority complex about the fact that he is not that educated. And so Pranchiyettan hankers for social acceptance.

"He simply cannot understand why people who are less affluent than him can get respectable positions in society. And so he is always in search of some easy way to get there, with the help of friends like Vasu Menon (Innocent). But sadly for him, that kind of acceptance always eludes him,” says Ranjith.

“He hates his nickname, ‘Arippranchi,' which he got as a result of the family rice business. To get rid of the nickname he starts a jewellery shop only to have people call him ‘Arippranchi the jeweller,'” adds Ranjith with a laugh.

Priyamani plays Padmashri, a Mumbai-based interior decorator who hails from Thrissur. She invites Pranchiyettan to inaugurate a painting exhibition, after learning about his generosity. It is Dr. Omana (Khushboo), the wife of Dr. Jose (Siddique), who introduces Padmashri to Pranchiyettan. The latter is the couple's former schoolmate.

“After a while, Pranchiyettan realises the futility of yearning for acceptance. Meanwhile he meets a 15-year-old boy named Poly. Pranchiyettan's interactions with Poly changes his perception of life,” says Ranjith. Ganapathy, the young actor who shot into fame with his role in Sathyan Anthikkad's ‘Vinodayathra,' plays Poly.

The scene now shifts to the lawn of the bungalow where Deenadayal is trying to give yoga lessons to Poly. Jagathy Sreekumar gets a briefing regarding certain yoga poses, from a professional. But when the shot is canned, Jagathy adds his own quirky touch to the poses which has the whole unit in splits, including Mammootty who is keenly watching the proceedings.

“My character is there only in a few scenes but he makes a definite impact, which is quite exciting for an actor. He is an idealistic teacher, who lives as per Gandhian principles and leads a simple life,” says Jagathy Sreekumar.

Says Ganapathy: “It is indeed great to be doing such a nice role with some of the big names in the industry. My character is a live wire.”

‘Pranchiyettan and the Saint' is being produced under the banner of Capitol Films and distributed by Play House. The cinematographer is Venu. Lyrics by Shibu Chakravarthy have been composed by Ouseppachan. Still photographer is Paul Bathery.

Pranchiyettan hankers for social acceptance

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