KOCHI: A day after director Aashiq Abu announced a new project Vaariyamkunnan based on the life of Variyamkunnath Kunjahammed Haji and the 1921 Malabar Rebellion, three more movies were announced on the same theme. It is for the first time in Mollywood’s history that four movies are being planned on the same historic event. The announcements came from directors who support different political ideologies, making it a significant development.
On Monday, actor Prithviraj announced his project Vaariyamkunnan helmed by Abu. With Abu being a staunch Left supporter, the announcement was criticised by many BJP leaders and right-wing supporters.
Kunjahammed Haji was always a historic character who was portrayed by Sangh as an anti-Hindu person. There was a planned cyber attack on actor Prithviraj and director Aashiq Abu.
Later in the evening, director Ibrahim Vengara came up with the announcement that he is planning a movie based on Haji’s life titled The Great Vaariyamkunnan. He said the movie will be an adaptation of his own play. Meanwhile, filmmaker P T Kunju Muhammed, who was twice elected to the assembly as a Left independent candidate, also announced a movie Shahid Vaariyamkunnan on Monday evening.
After seeing people from the Left wing coming up with their versions of the Malabar rebellion, director Ali Akbar, a BJP leader, on Monday night announced that he would be doing a movie titled 1921 that would “reveal Haji’s real face.” Akbar said he is planning to make the movie with the support of crowdfunding. Earlier, RSS and BJP leaders and Hindu Aikyavedi had criticised actor Prithiviraj following his Facebook post in which he said Haji was the legend of a leader, a soldier and a patriot.
Criticising the movie plans, senior BJP leader Sobha Surendran said, “This generation has the right to know about the Malabar Riots and history of Kerala and the cruel and monstrous atrocities committed on Hindus of Malabar. But if the idea behind this film is to shift the blame and make the oppressor a hero, we will not stand still.”
Director Aashiq Abu said the cyber attack from the right wing was expected. “It will neither affect me nor Prithviraj. I knew there will be debates on the topic on social media. The year 1921 was manipulated by many. Hence, it is nice to have more than one version of the same incident,” he said. He said his movie does not intend to hurt anyone’s sentiments. The Federation of Film Employees, Kerala, (FEFKA) welcomed the move to make four movies on the same theme. The FEFKA office-bearers said they respect the creative freedom of all the filmmakers involved in these projects.
Giving a political twist to the ongoing controversy over the movie Vaariyamkunnan, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Tuesday that Variyamkunnath Kunjahammed Haji was a warrior who led a brave battle against the British. It was during the post-Covid-19 press meet that the CM came up with the remarks. “I have not followed the controversy over the new movie. However, Kerala has always recognised him as a warrior. There is no need for giving a communal angle to that historic fact,” he said.