Spirit (2012 film)

Spirit is a 2012 Indian Malayalam-language satirical black comedy film written and directed by Ranjith. The film primarily focuses on the increasing habits of alcoholism in Kerala. It was produced by Antony Perumbavoor under the company Aashirvad Cinemas. The film stars Mohanlal in the lead role, while Kaniha, Shankar Ramakrishnan, Nandhu, Kalpana, Madhu, Lena and Thilakan plays supporting roles. The film features music composed by Shahabaz Aman.

Poster of malayalam film Spirit.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRanjith
Produced byAntony Perumbavoor
Written byRanjith
Shankar Ramakrishnan
Narrated bySiddique
Music byShahabaz Aman
Edited bySandeep Nandakumar
Distributed byMaxlab Entertainments
Release date
  • 14 June 2012 (2012-06-14)
Running time
145 minutes

According to Ranjith, "the movie does not, in any way, advocate or proscribe alcohol. Spirit discusses the subject and examines what happens when a person, however intelligent, falls prey to an addiction, any addiction for that matter."[1] The film released on 14 June 2012 to overwhelming positive reviews from critics. It also performed well at the box office and completed 125 days theatrical run in Kerala.[2][3] The film won the National Film Award for Best Film on Other Social Issues and two Kerala State Film Awards for music.


Raghunandan is an ex-banking executive of Bank of England who resigned his lucrative job because he was bored with the rather sedentary and mundane nature of his work. Having lived in different parts of the world as a banker, he chose journalism as his next career and worked in different cities in India. He now works for a TV news channel as an interviewer in a popular show named "Show the Spirit". In the meantime, he is in the process of writing an English novel too. He is essentially a loner but is a compulsive alcoholic and has an expensive collection of vintage drinks at home.

It was his excessive drinking that resulted in his divorce some years back, but he shares a healthy friendship with his ex-wife Meera and her current husband Alexy. The couple has custody of Raghunandan's and Meera’s son Aditya a.k.a. Sunny, who is deaf and mute. Captain Nambiar is jovial his next door neighbour. Raghunandan, however, is not really bothered about relationships, friendships or the norms of society and prefers to live life on his own terms. He rubs off some powerful politicians, who come to his TV show threatening dire consequences and offering bribes, the wrong way and doesn't regret it.

Raghunandan's fatal addiction towards alcohol takes a heavy toll on his personal and professional life. However, good sense dawns, albeit late, when he comes across a man who is worse than him because of his drinking problem. That is plumber Mani who is so drunk that he cannot distinguish between what is real and unreal. His character manifests all the worst characteristics of an alcoholic, including abusing his wife. Mani changes everything, bringing some meaning to Raghunandan's life.



Ranjith has scripted some of the finest films in Mohanlal's career like Devasuram, Aaraam Thampuran and Narasimham. But the two were not in good terms for a while, perhaps after the dud called Rock N' Roll. The two are now coming together, after a brief hiatus through Spirit.[4] Ranjith makes it clear that he opted for Mohanlal as he felt he was the best for this character.[1]

Talking about the film, Ranjith explains: "I believe there are two kinds of people in Kerala. On one hand, you have intelligent, successful people who become slaves to alcohol. They cannot function without it. As a result of it, their families suffer. Many of these alcoholics have marital problems and often, physically and emotionally, abuse their spouse. On the other, there are many others who are not teetotallers but they don't need booze 24X7 to keep them in good spirits," says Ranjith.[1]

After the success of Indian Rupee, Ranjith announced his new film Leela which was an adaptation of Unni. R's short story of the same name. But the project was postponed and Ranjith began the works of Spirit.[5] According to Shankar Ramakrishnan, who was to play the lead in Leela, "Leela has a landscape and a mindscape and the film was postponed as it requires us [the crew] to travel from Kottayam to Wayanad."[5] Ranjith completed the film's script in a short time and the whole film, including post-production works, was completed in about a month.[6] The principal photography of the film started in March 2012 and was completed by mid-April.[7] The film was shot mainly from Kochi and the "Casa Rosa resort" in the film was set in Choice house in Kochi.[8] It was produced by Antony Perumbavoor under the banner Aashirvad Cinemas. Prakash Raj was initially cast for the role of Alexy but he opted out reportedly due to payment issues.[9] He was replaced by Shankar Ramakrishnan who makes his debut as an actor.[10]


Soundtrack album by
Shahabaz Aman
LabelSatyam Audios
ProducerShahabaz Aman
Shahabaz Aman chronology
Indian Rupee Spirit Bavuttiyude Namathil

The film features songs composed by Shahabaz Aman and written by Rafeeq Ahammed. The audio released on 12 June 2012. Mathrubhumi managing director M. P. Veerendra Kumar released the CD by handing over the CD to actor Mammootty. Mathrubhumi Music and Sathyam Audios were jointly released the music.[11]

All lyrics are written by Rafeeq Ahamed; all music is composed by Shahabaz Aman.

1."Ee Chillayil"K. J. Yesudas3:43
2."Mazhakondu Mathram"Vijay Yesudas3:34
3."Maranamethunna"Unni Menon3:25
4."Mazhakondu Mathram"Gayatri Asokan3:33


A premiere show was held on 10 June 2012 in Chennai where it garnered good responses. Noted filmmakers and writers such as Priyadarshan, M. P. Virendra Kumar and Anjali Menon were all praise for the film with special mention to Mohanlal's performance.[12]

Originally set to release on 7 June 2012,[13] Spirit opened in more than 100 theatres a week later, on 14 June 2012 with good results. The film was screened in 84 centres in Kerala while the Chennai, Mumbai and Bangalore sector had the film in around 20 centres. The movie was reportedly well received by the audiences who opined that it is a class affair with a fine script from the director.[14] Most of them suggested that it gives a good message to the youth who is addicted to alcohol.

The film was screened in front of several politicians and ministers such as K. Babu, Ramesh Chennithala, N. Sakthan, Mullakkara Ratnakaran, A. P. Abdullakutty, P. C. Vishnunath and Dominic Presentation on 21 June 2012 at Sreekumar Theatre, Thiruvananthapuram. The show was presided over by about fifty legislative assembly members and other politicians who were all praise for the film.[15] P. C. Vishnunath suggested the Ministry of Entertainment exempt the film from entertainment taxes stating that the film carries a good message. In late-June, the decision to exempt the film from the tax was announced in the assembly by Minister for Panchayats and Social Welfare M. K. Muneer. "The film created an awareness on social issues faced by the society due to increase in liquor consumption," M. K. Muneer said. The Minister also congratulated the film's crew including Mohanlal and Ranjith for presenting a value oriented film to Malayalam film industry.[16][17] Central minister Vayalar Ravi has written to the Ministry of Broadcasting to screen the film all over India through Doordarshan television channels.

Accusation of plagiarismEdit

Abdul Azeez, a short filmmaker and assistant director, has accused that Spirit is plagiarised from his short film My Hero But Big Zero. He adds that Plumber Maniyan, the character played by Nandu in Spirit, was entirely based on the protagonist of his film.[18]


Critical receptionEdit

Performance of Nandu as Plumber Maniyan was particularly praised.[19]

Paresh C Palicha of Rediff.com gave the film a rating of 3 out of 5 stars and said, "Spirit is not flawless but is recommended for the sincere effort by the cast and the crew." In regards to Mohanlal's performance, the critic said: "Spirit belongs to Mohanlal who brings to the table a kind of vulnerability hidden behind the arrogant exterior. There are occasions when the mask of arrogance falls away and Mohanlal has the expertise to handle such situations with élan."[20]

A review by Sify.com said, "If you are not expecting a high voltage drama stuffed with the usual share of emotions, Spirit can turn out to be a nice experience. It may not bowl you over like some of Ranjith’s brilliant movies and seems to be a bit too long, at nearly two hours and thirty minutes. Still, this one has been made with noble intentions."[21]

The film received negative reviews as well. Parvathy Anoop of Deccan Herald stated, "There are too many characters and side stories, some of which are not relevant at all. Also, it [the film] has too many disconnects. Some ideas are introduced and left incomplete, which is a shame. All the drinking, smoking and swearing in this movie seem to have gone waste as it does not drive the message strongly. Mohanlal, as always, has done his part well, but Ranjith had set his own bar high with movies like Pranchiyettan and Indian Rupee and this one does not come anywhere close to that league."[22] Dalton L, in his review for Deccan Chronicle, criticised Mohanlal's acting: "Mohanlal acts like he’s never really been sloshed in his entire life; the only indications to the contrary being his trembling fingers, the clichéd dazed look, and an occasional stagger. He should learn a thing or two from Thilakan’s sterling performance. Kalpana and Nandu too get real." He gave the film a rating of three in a scale of five.[23]

Sreenath Nair of The Hindu said that the film "lacks punch and kick". He praised the film's art direction and acting by Mohanlal and Nandu but was critical about the film's cinematography, dialogues and background score. He particularly criticised the statements about fashionable drinking and the attributes of the rich, saying, "these could have avoided by an intelligent director." He also criticised the slow pace of the film, saying, "as the film moves towards the climax comes the spoilsport device, a television show."[24]

Box officeEdit

Sify called it a box office super hit.[3] It completed a theatrical run of more than 125 days in Kerala.[2][25]


60th National Film Awards
Kerala State Film Awards
2nd South Indian International Movie Awards
60th Filmfare Awards South
Asianet Film Awards
Asiavision Movie Awards[26]


  1. ^ a b c "In the right spirit". The Hindu. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Spirit: Completed 100 day run in all centre Box office"
  3. ^ a b "Kerala Box-Office (June–July 2012)". Sify.com. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  4. ^ "Spirit". Times of India. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  5. ^ a b Nagarajan, Saraswathy (6 June 2012). "Spirited approach". The Hindu. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  6. ^ "Renjith creates history with Spirit". The Times of India. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  7. ^ "'Spirit' completed in 31 days". Indiaglitz.com. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  8. ^ George, Vijay (6 April 2012). "Triumph of the human spirit". The Hindu. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  9. ^ "Ranjith: Prakash Raj is unprofessional". Rediff.com. 28 March 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  10. ^ "It's Shankar instead of Prakashraj". Indiaglitz. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  11. ^ "`Spirit' audio CD released". Mathrubhumi. 13 June 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  12. ^ "പ്രതീക്ഷകളുടെ ഉയരത്തില്‍ സ്പിരിറ്റ്‌". (in Malayalam). Mathrubhumi. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  13. ^ "Spirit is set to release on June 7". The Times of India. 4 June 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  14. ^ "Spirit opens in 100 plus centers". Indiaglitz. 15 June 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  15. ^ "'സ്‌പിരിറ്റ്' കാണാന്‍ രാഷ്ട്രീയഭേദം മറന്ന്". Mathrubhumi (in Malayalam). 22 June 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  16. ^ "Mohanlal's film Spirit exempted from tax". Press Trust of India. NDTV. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  17. ^ "Malayalam film 'Spirit' exempted from tax". Press Trust of India. IBN Live. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  18. ^ "സ്പിരിറ്റ് കോപ്പിയടിച്ചതോ ?". Veekshanam (in Malayalam). Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  19. ^ Krishna, Aswathi (22 June 2012). "നന്ദു: രഞ്ജിത്ത് തിരിച്ചറിഞ്ഞ താരം". Mathrubhumi (in Malayalam). Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  20. ^ "Review: Mohanlal shines in Spirit". Rediff.com. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  21. ^ "Movie Review: Spirit". Sify.com. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  22. ^ Anoop, Parvathy (16 June 2012). "'Spirit' has a message, but elicits no cheers". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  23. ^ L, Dalton (18 June 2012). "Spirit review: A diseased spirit". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  24. ^ Nair, Sreenath (17 June 2012). "This film lacks punch and kick". The Hindu. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  25. ^ "Spirit: Completes 100 day run on Box office". CNN-News18. 20 September 2012.
  26. ^ "South Indian movie stars honoured in a run-up to awards ceremony " Archived 10 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine. The Gulf Today. 23 October 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2012.

External linksEdit