Prithviraj’s recent announcement about his next movie titled Vaariyamkunnan has outraged right-wing groups in Kerala. The film about freedom fighter Variyamkunnath Kunjahammed Haji, who became the face of 1921 Mappila Uprising, is being seen as an attempt to whitewash history.
The right-wing groups claim Haji nurtured anti-Hindu sentiments during his rebellion. And the issue also made it to prime time debates of leading news channels in Kerala.
However, the filmmakers are confident and determined to go ahead and make the movie. They say they did extensive research about Haji and a documentary on his life will also be made along with the film.
Soon after the announcement by Prithviraj and Aashiq Abu, three more films on Variyamkunnath Kunjahammed Haji were announced.
Filmmakers PT Kunju Muhammed, Ali Akbar and veteran theatre director Ibrahim Vengara have all announced films about the freedom fighter.
It is said Kunju Muhammed has for long wanted to make the movie on Variyamkunnath Kunjahammed Haji. And he was preparing for the same. However, the announcement by Aashiq Abu forced him to expedite his announcement.
Filmmaker Ali Akbar, who is also a member of BJP, has taken offence to the proposed film of Prithviraj on Haji. Akbar said he has decided to make a film on Haji and that people will see the truth of “1921 in 2021”. It is safe to assume that Haji will be the antagonist in Akbar’s movie.
It is not the first time a Malayalam film is being made on the 1921 Malabar rebellion. In 1988, veteran filmmaker IV Sasi made a film on the historical revolt titled 1921. It had Mammootty and Suresh Gopi in the lead roles. Variyamkunnath Kunjahammed Haji was not the protagonist of the film.
Vaariyamkunnan, however, will see Prithviraj essaying the role of Haji, who is described by the actor as a “legend of a leader, a soldier, a patriot.”
Variyamkunnath Kunjahammed Haji became the face of the 1921 Rebellion against the British. He led a successful revolt and captured large tracts of land and established an ‘independent state’. However, his success story was short-lived as he was soon captured by the British.
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