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Aadujeevitham subtitler Vivek Ranjit – ‘Songs were the most exciting part for me to subtitle’

March 30, 20245 Mins Read

Aadujeevitham, the survival drama that marked the first collaboration of Prithviraj Sukumaran and senior filmmaker Blessy, is winning the hearts of audiences across the globe. The movie finally hit the theatres at the time when Malayalam cinema is breaking free of all the linguistic and cultural barriers. Even though Aadujeevitham has released in five languages, the majority of audiences, especially non-Malayali viewers prefer to watch the Prithviraj starrer in Malayalam. The subtitles done by scenarist-subtitler Vivek Ranjit have played a part in making The Goat Life a full-filling cinematic experience for them.

In an Exclusive interview with OTT Play, Vivek Ranjit opened up about his journey with Aadujeevitham, and much more. Read the excerpts from the chat…

  • How did you become a part of Aadujeevitham?
  • I joined Aadujeevitham in December 2022. It was the film’s Chief Associate Director Robin, who approached me for the project. Robin is a friend of mine, and he has worked with director Blessy Sir for the longest time. Initially, I did the subtitles just for the Arabic portions, as AR Rahman sir wanted to watch the film. I watched the second half of Aadujeevitham first. Later, I met Blessy Sir. Then I did subtitles for the various versions, including the technicians’ copies and the film festival editions. I was still working on the film’s other language versions including Tamil and Hindi, until a week before its release.

  • How was it to work with a senior filmmaker like Blessy?
  • It was a fulfilling experience. I met Blessy Sir only once after joining the Aadujeevitham team. However, he used to share his feedback with his Chief Associate director Robin. He gave a few suggestions after watching the subtitles of the Arabic portions of the film. I guess he is happy with the results.

    Aadujeevitham is based on a famous novel and has minimal dialogues. How challenging was it to subtitle the film?

    The film has very basic yet meaningful dialogues. So, I had to keep its essence intact even the subtitles. Aadujeevitham has a lot of versions. Initially, we did the subtitling for the entire Arabic portion of the film – first in Malayalam and later in all languages. However, it was removed from the film, very recently. It was because Najeeb doesn’t understand Arabic. 


    It was decided that only the dialogue in the scenes involving the Arabs should have subtitles. The team felt that the subtitles should convey only the necessary details so that the audience could further comprehend Najeeb’s feelings. It was an important yet very interesting creative decision. It is more of a visually stunning film with minimal dialogue. So, the subtitles were there just to support that narrative. 

    The songs were the most exciting part of the film for me to subtitle. I first heard the songs over a year ago. I have done subtitles for all versions of all the songs and it was a great experience. I had the opportunity to make it better even right before its release, especially with the song Periyone. But, the love song, Omane, was the one I enjoyed working on the most. I think the subtitles of that song have come out very well. 

    The best part is that I saw the film many times over the last year as a part of my job. When I finally saw Aadujeevitham in the theatre, I cried again watching Prithviraj Sukumaran’s performance. I think no other actor can pull off the character.

  • The audience were disappointed because the movie hit the theatres without subtitles, initially. What’s your take on it?
  • It was decided that the Malayalam version should be released without subtitles as the dubbed versions were also released on the same day. Aadujeevitham already had Malayalam subtitles, so the team felt that adding English subtitles above it might clutter the impact of visuals. The issue is resolved now, as the viewers prefer the Malayalam version over the dubbed versions.

  • As a subtitler, how does it feel to witness Malayalam cinema breaking all the languague barriers?
  • I’ve been working as a subtitler for over a decade now. it feels great to witness the growth of Malayalam cinema. I feel the dry phase in other language industries is benefiting our industry. But for this phase to continue, we should focus on utilizing this opportunity by expanding the market further. Even the other language audience prefers the original Malayalam films over the dubbed versions. The technical issues related to subtitles in the other states should be resolved soon. We are making unique and different content. So more active promotions, especially in North India might benefit the industry hugely. 

    I just finished the subtitling of Vineeth Sreenivasan’s Varshangalkku Shesham. This is my third association with Vineeth, after Jacobinte Swargarajyam and Hridayam. I’m also working on Malayalee From India, Guruvayoor Amablanadayil, Pavi Caretaker, and Oru Jaathi Jaathakam.

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