Director-producer Pa Ranjith, who recently unveiled the first-look poster of his upcoming film-series Vettuvam at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, has several projects lined up for production. These include a collaboration with actor Kamal Haasan, a series set in the same world as his period boxing film Sarpatta Parambarai, and a period drama with actor Vikram set amidst the Kolar Gold Fields in Karnataka.
Ranjith’s upcoming line-up begins with the director’s Tamil film Natchathiram Nagargirathu, led by Dushara Vijayan, Kalidas Jayaram, and Kalaiyarasan. It is co-produced by Yaazhi Films and Neelam Productions. Speaking to Silverscreen India, a source from the filmmaker’s team says, “It is currently being sent to festivals, ahead of a theatrical release sometime in July, as the team feels that the content has the potential to stand out. A love story much like his debut film Attakathi, Natchathiram Nagargirathu is more nuanced and explores the different forms of love across genders, also tackling LGBTQIA+ romance, and the political connotations all of these bear. The film is set against the backdrop of the theatre as well.”
After Natchathiram Nagargirathu comes Vettuvam. The filmmaker unveiled the first-look of Vettuvam at the Cannes Film Festival recently. It is to be developed into a film as well as a web series in Tamil, and is expected to shed a new perspective on the figure of Robin Hood. Said to be a rural gangster drama, predominantly set against the backdrop of a prison, our source tells us the project will go on floors in late 2022. Casting for Vettuvam is yet to be finalised.
Following this, Ranjith will be teaming up with actor Vikram for a film tentatively referred to as Chiyaan 61. Backed by Studio Green in association with Neelam Productions, Chiyaan 61 is currently in the scripting stages, mentions the source. “It will be finished in a few days and will be set against the backdrop of the Kolar Gold Fields (KGF). The film will show the other side of KGF, revolving around the lives of the people who live there. It will be a period drama set in the 19th century,” the source adds.
After collaborating with actor Rajinikanth in Kaala and Kabali, Ranjith is set to next team up with his contemporary, Kamal Haasan. Earlier, Silverscreen India had reported that talks were on between the two parties. Now, we hear that the upcoming film will be based in Madurai. “The production house is yet to be decided, but most probably, it will be backed by Kamal Haasan’s banner,” says our source.
Ranjith is also set to make his Hindi directorial debut with a biopic of tribal leader Birsa Munda. The film is expected to be made on a large scale and Ranjith had earlier told us that he views Birsa Munda as a “pan-Indian script, similar to the stories of world leaders who have fought against oppressors.” On helming a film in a different language, he further added, “I don’t see the language barrier as a big problem; the thoughts and emotions in the story transcend it.” Our source tells us that the screenplay for this project is currently under development.
Following the success of Sarpatta Parambarai, Ranjith is also set to helm a series based in the same world the period sports drama was set in. Led by actor Arya, Sarpatta Parambarai was set in the 1970s and captured the lives of the boxing clans of North Madras. While the cast and crew for the series are yet to be confirmed, it will extend up to three seasons, spanning from the British rule up to the 1990s.
Aside from these directorial projects of the filmmaker, Ranjith’s Neelam Productions is also backing films helmed by other independent and up-and-coming directors like Athiyan Athirai, Akiran Moses, and Lenin Bharathi. Lenin’s film will delve into the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871, while Akiran’s directorial is set to be centred around a battle between two gangs that spiraled after a small incident. Athiyan’s film, on the other hand, will follow the trials and tribulations of youngsters who struggle to find employment in government sectors.