Pa. Ranjith [ Pa. = Panduranga, his fathers name ] is an Indian film director who has made Tamil language films. He made his directorial debut with 2012 cult romantic comedy film Attakathi, before earning unanimously positive reviews for his second film, the drama Madras (2014).
Ranjith was born in Karalapakkam, a village near Tiruninravur, north-west of Chennai. He graduated from Government College of Fine Arts, Chennai, and has described that his travels to and from his college often helped create inspiration for film ideas. During his time in education, he joined the film chamber and began watching world cinema, regularly attending annual film festivals. He gained inspiration from films including The Battle of Algiers (1966) and City of God (2002), stating they changed his thinking of cinema and revealed that they had a deep impact on him.
Ranjith joined the film industry as an assistant director and first worked on Shiva Shanmugam's Thagapansamy (2006), which he has since revealed as an "unmemorable stint", before moving on to apprentice under film makers N. Linguswamy and Venkat Prabhu. He initially helped prepare a storyboard for a Malaysian album that Venkat Prabhu had been working on in 2006, before gaining trust and being allowed to work closely with him during the making of Chennai 600028 (2007).
Ranjith was introduced to a newcomer producer C. V. Kumar in 2011 by a mutual friend, Mani, who convinced Kumar to give Ranjith an opportunity to make a film. Consequently, Attakathi was completed in fifty days in a budget of just 1.75 crores. Following promising pre-release reviews, the venture became bigger when production house Studio Green chose to buy the distribution rights. The film opened to positive review in August 2012, with Rediff.com noting the film "looks at youth and romance in a most refreshing way" and added that Ranjith should take "the credit, completely, of taking an ordinary storyline and infusing it with warmth and hilarity." Sify's critic, similarly, wrote "we recommend that you make time for this charming little treat of a film, as it has an inherent sweetness and honesty that will stay with you".
Studio Green then signed up Ranjith to direct a film for their production house and in December 2012, he confirmed that he would shortly begin work on a project titled Sarpatta Paramparai with Karthi in the lead role, though production was subsequently delayed and did not take off as planned. In July 2013, it was announced that the pair would collaborate on a new script and that Sarpatta Parambarai and their ongoing venture, Madras, were two different scripts. Although the producers liked both scripts, Ranjith decided to shoot Madras first as Karthi had accidentally read the script of Madras and liked its concept and characters. During pre-production of the film, Ranjith returned home to North Chennai to research and took stock of the residents' body language, sports, fashion, behaviour and dialogues. He revealed that through his script, he hoped to depict the angst and depression of the youth of the region and wrote several characters in the film including the two leads to represent individuals with "bottled up anger". Ranjith also informed that some changes were made to the script to accommodate Karthi in the lead role. Also featuring Catherine Tresa and Kalaiyarasan in prominent roles, Madras told the story of a dispute over a political message written on wall in North Chennai and how the region's political rivalry affects the inhabitants. Madras received highly positive reviews from critics, who praised the performances of the actors, as well as the technical aspects of the film. Udhav Naig, writing for The Hindu said, "Rarely does one get to see a Tamil film that reflects the social reality so closely and sketching a detailed account of life that the middle and the upper middle class know little about. Full marks to Pa. Ranjith for that". Writing for The New Indian Express, Malini Mannath said, "With an engaging screenplay, deft narration, well fleshed out characters and actors well cast, Madras captures the feel, flavour and ambiance of North Madras with perfect precision". Sify said, "Madras works big time as writer and director Ranjith has given priority to his script, which hooks the audiences straightaway. It is a triumph of honest writing and heartfelt dialogues. It is a gutsy and outstanding film".
He began pre-production work for a venture starring Suriya in October 2014, after the actor approached him being impressed with Madras. The project has been put on hold, after he began working on Kabali (2016) featuring Rajinikanth in the title role.The film is stated to release on the 22nd of July 2016.