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Arjunan Saakshi and Kochi Metro Rail - Ranjith Sankar Column
Ranjith Sankar  [ Thu, Nov 15, 2012 ]
  • Kochi Metro is the talk of the town these days. Director Ranjith Sankar talks about his 2011 movie - Arjunan Sakhshi which is based on the Metro Rail Project and his hope to see the Metro project becomes a reality.

    I remember one night when I called Prithvi and said "Man, we should shoot Arjunan Saakshi immediately, Kochi Metro Rail may become a reality very soon and we may have to change the script". It was mid 2010 then. Now almost 3 years later, nothing much has happened, is it? Only news, allegations and controversies...

    I remember my final year engineering in Kothamangalam and I had to present a seminar. The subject I chose was "Road Development in Kerala". While doing some R&D for the same, I happened to see a report in Hindu. It was a proposed Tram project connecting Alwaye and Kochi to be inaugurated in 2000. I was excited as I used to travel to Kochi many weekends from Kothamangalam. I felt this is going to save at least one hour of millions of people's lives for 100 years maybe!

    I was very excited talking about that Tram project during my seminar. I felt it was going to make history!

    Life got busier after I took up a job after my engineering. Earning for first time, new friends, new was changing. I was also writing couple of soaps for Asianet and Surya then. Struggle to make movies happening in parallel...

    I got a call from one of the GCDA officials one day. He liked my writing for the serial "Nizhalukal"and had called to Congratulate. We got talking and suddenly I remembered the Tram project. I was driving a Hero Honda Splendor those days and I had to travel either in scorching heat or in bad rains. Tram would have been a sweet and cheap alternative. He said he is not aware of the project and he will get back on the status. He called me next day and said that the project got extended and will become a reality in 2002. It was 2000 beginning then.

    Nothing happened in 2002. More than a decade has passed from then on. Nothing has happened yet. People don't even talk about it I guess. Now it's the Metro Rail time for all of us. Few years back it was express highway. isn't it?

    I never thought about making a movie after Passenger. And that's a very sincere statement. I was too torn out in those 6 years trying to make Passenger even to think about another movie. I felt I won't have the fire, vigor or energy left to make another movie. I had told my wife that once I make this movie, we will migrate to US or UK, which will give us money to clear the debts this film may make. We were prepared for it.

    Continued on next page...

  • Things changed drastically from there. Sreenivasan arranged me another producer for Passenger. It was a huge success once released. There were enormous offers to make another movie. Most importantly, I did not have to migrate since there was no debt remaining to be paid...

    Then I started thinking about making another movie! I happened to visit Dubai during one of those days. When I visited, some 6 months back then the metro was under construction; and in 6 months I got to travel in it! That journey for 30 minutes in Dubai Metro gave shape to Arjunan Saakshi.

    Arjunan Saakshi didn't do well at box-office. It was never discussed for the subject I tried to portray. Whatever shortcoming and mistakes it had, Arjunan Saakshi is going to remain the closest movie to my heart! It's the most personal film that I will ever make at various levels.

    And yeah, most importantly, hope I get to travel in Kochi metro rail at least in 2020!


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