Kerala

100 years later, Malabar Rebellion fights for screen space

Prithviraj Sukumaran

Prithviraj Sukumaran   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

Four films on the theme have been announced back-to-back within a span of two days

The 1921 Malabar Rebellion has once again caught the creative imagination of Mollywood.

With the rebellion turning 100 next year, four movies have been announced back-to-back within a span of two days.

Three of them will narrate the story of freedom fighter Variyamkunnath Kunhahamed Haji, who was shot dead by the British police at Kottakkunnu, Malappuram, while the fourth film is said to ‘bring out the real truth behind the incident’ on screen.

The battle on screen comes almost 32 years after the late popular filmmaker I. V. Sasi gave his version of the rebellion through the movie 1921.

Actor Prithviraj Sukumaran fired the first salvo when he announced through social media his titular role in ‘Variyamkunnan’ on Monday. Ashique Abu and Muhsin Parari will be directing the movie.

Social media attack

The creative team was at the receiving end of a social media attack by right-wing radicals on Tuesday after they opposed the portrayal of Variyamkunnath as a Muslim hero against the British rule.

Veteran playwright Ibrahim Vengara was the next to announce his movie, The Great Vaariyam Kunnathu. “Besides actors in Malayalam, artistes from abroad will be part of the movie. The lead actress will be played by an African artiste,” he said.

Filmmaker P.T. Kunju Muhammed joined the bandwagon of directors working on the theme when he announced the title of the movie as Shahid Vaariyamkunnan. “The script will be ready in two months. I hope to start the shooting by the start of next year,” he said. Mr. Muhammed, who was elected twice to the Kerala Assembly as a Left Independent candidate, said that there was nothing wrong in having four versions of a common theme.

Ali Akbar, filmmaker and fellow-traveller of the Bharatiya Janata Party, took to Facebook to say that his movie, 1921, will portray the real heroes behind the incident. His post also left a hint that the film may not be showing Variyamkunnath Haji as a hero.

B. Rakesh, treasurer of Kerala Film Producers’ Association, said that they were yet to get any official word from the people behind the four projects.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 9:33:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/100-years-later-malabar-rebellion-fights-for-screen-space/article31901037.ece

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