Kunjali Marakkar biopic runs into controversy

Mohanlal as Kunjali Marakkar in Arabikadalinte Simham.  

A descendant of Kunjali Marakkar has filed a writ petition in the Kerala High Court seeking to stop the release of the upcoming Mohanlal-starrer Arabikadalinte Simham (Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea) based on Kunjali Marakkar IV, the naval chieftain of the Zamorin of Calicut, “for distorting the history” of the 16th century hero.

The suit, filed by Mufeeda Arafath Marakkar, wife of Muhammed Yaser Arafath Marakkar of Koyilandy, says the big-budget moview with mega stars “disseminates a wrong message to scholars and researchers” through a perverted version of the history of the Marakkars.

The epic historical drama, said to be the most expensive Malayalam film ever made, directed by Priyadarshan is scheduled for release on March 26.

The petitioner alleges that the film offends the religious sentiments of Muslims by showing the great martyr in poor light. Kunjali Marakkar is portrayed as a romantic hero and “a dancer singing songs with women.”

The history of Kunjali Marakkar is a component of the school curriculum and if this version is exhibited it would have a serious impact on the minds of the children in their formative years.

To ascertain the authentic history and trace minute details, the respondents have failed to approach or consult the descendants of Kunjali Marakkar who reside in Kottakkal and other areas of Koyilandy taluk. Kunjali Marakkar IV was a bachelor and had no love affairs in his life. But a leaflet published by the respondents shows vulgar scenes of the great martyr, bringing disgrace to his family.

Distorted history

The movie shows the perverted attire of Kunjali Marakkar. He was a pious Muslim and his attire was according to the religious tenets of his time. However, the leaflet shows him sporting an image of Lord Ganapaty in the centre of his turban. As pointed out by Portuguese historians, Kunjali Marakkar and his 40 lieutenants were promised pardon by the Portuguese if they embraced Christianity but they opted death to conversion. In movie fiction is allowed to a lesser extent, but it cannot distort the original history. The Central Board of Film Certification has given a U/A certificate for the movie without application of mind.

The petitioner’s father-in-law P.V. Muhammed was a research scholar and has written a book in Malayalam, Ariyappedatha Kunjali Marakkar, and it was edited by the petitioner’s husband and published by Kunjali Marakkar Smaraka Vedi , Kottakkal, in May 2015.

The petition names the Union of India; the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting; chairman, CBFC; Regional Officer, CBFC; State Home Department; M.J. Antony (Antony Perumbavoor), producer; chairman, Confidential Group; Priyadarshan, film director; and film distributors as respondents.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 12:12:03 AM |

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