1921 Malabar Rebellion Once Again Set to Stir Malayalam Cinema

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Unlike in the film “1921”, the central theme for all the new four films announced is Variyan Kunnathu Kunjahammed Haji, who played second fiddle to the main actor in Sasi’s film.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM — One of the biggest blockbusters of the late 1980s that had then taken the Malayalam film industry by storm, is again after three decades set to stir the Kerala film industry.

The 1921 Malabar rebellion also known as Moplah rebellion is back on the story board for four films.

Kerala’s legendary filmmaker I.V.Sasi in 1988 came out with the film 1921 — billed as the most expensive film in Malayalam then and a smashing hit.

With the Corona pandemic slowly ebbing away, the announcement came from upcoming superstar Prithviraj in a Facebook of his latest project. The topic is set to trend.

Unlike in the film “1921”, the central theme for all the new four films announced is Variyan Kunnathu Kunjahammed Haji, who played second fiddle to the main actor in Sasi’s film.

Haji is known for raising 75,000 natives, seizing control of large territory from the British rule and setting up a parallel government in open defiance of the British rulers in North Kerala villages Eranadu and Valluvanadu taluks.

Prithviraj wrote: “He (Haji) Astood up against an empire that ruled a quarter of the world. Etched out his own country with an army that waged a never before war against the British. Though history was burned and buried, the legend lived on!

“The legend of a leader, a soldier, a patriot. A film on the man who became the face of the 1921 Malabar revolution.A#Vaariyamkunnan. Filming begins in 2021, on the 100th anniversary.”

This film is being directed by Ashiq Abu who takes the different take from his predecessor.

Veteran theatre and writer Ibrahim Vengara is the second person to go forward with the same theme and has titled his proposed film as, “The Great Vaariyum Kunathu”.

“I have given the script of the film to a few people and this was reported in the media also. The location of the film would be in Kannur. Apart from leading Malayalam actors, others would be from other languages and lead actress would be an African lady,” wrote Vengara.

Ali Akbar, a popular film personality and a fellow traveller of the BJP, is the third person who have announced the film and wrote in his Facebook “We have made the decision. People will see the real face of 1921 in 2021 Should be with you, Truth wins.”

The fourth in line is former legislator and CPI-M fellow traveller P.T.Kunju Muhammed, who has also announced that he is going ahead with his film on the same subject.

Apart from, Ali Akbar, all the others stick to original hero character.

Popular director and general secretary of FEFKA (an umbrella organisations) B.Unnikrishnan said there is nothing wrong in different films coming out on the same theme.

“All are entitled to do what they like,” said Unnikrishnan.

Meanwhile, the film project has drawn sharp reactions from the Sangh Parivar demanding to scrap the project itself.

Pushing up the controversy, BJP leader and filmmaker Ali Akbar also announced a film “to expose the true face of the uprising”. Referring to Hindus killed during the uprising, he said, “They are the heroes, who were not ready to change religion, those who gave Ram’s name to the enemy. Those who fought till the last minute,” reports the Indian Express.

Sasikala, Kerala president of the Hindu Aikya Vedi, an umbrella outfit of pro-BJP organisations, said, “We (Hindus) would react and that would be a different reaction, which would not be on your expected lines. Like the Hindus of 1921, the Hindus of 2021 are not ready to get annihilated.”

— IANS (Inputs added)

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