Prithviraj’s upcoming Malayalam movie caught in a Historical muddle with Political twists



A row over an upcoming Malayalam film, ‘Vaariyamkunnan’ on the 100-year-old Malabar rebellion is taking a political twist with the BJP alleging that the movie that glorifies an ‘anti-Hindu’ leader as CPM’s plot.

Many Hindu outfits have strongly come up against the movie ‘Vaariyamkunnan’ based on the life of Malabar rebellion leader Variyamkunnath Kunjahammed Haji who was killed by the British in 1921.

Filmmaker Ashik Abu, who is a left fellow traveler, is making the film with Prithviraj Sukumaran doing the lead role. Prithviraj made the announcement about the film on social media the other day. 

The BJP and Hindu Aikya Vedi maintained that Kunjahammed Haji was an anti-Hindu leader as it was Hindus who were killed in the Malabar rebellion, which also resulted in communal riots. They also claimed that Communist leaders like E M S Namboothiripad had even said so.

But the left camps maintained that Haji was a legendary leader. Even Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that Haji was a leader who strongly fought against the British and he was well respected for that reason.

Veteran historian M G S Narayanan said that the Malabar rebellion was not anti-Hindu, but was against the British and the landlords. Since the majority of the landlords were Hindus, the majority of the victims also turned out to be Hindus, he said during a discussion over the issue.

BJP state vice-president A P Abdullahkutty alleged that the film was a political ploy of Pinarayi Vijayan to appease the Muslim community. The government’s stand against NRIs over COVID has caused strong resentment against the left front mainly from Muslim community members who forms a major chunk of the NRIs. Hence the film glorifying an anti-Hindu Muslim leader was being brought out by a left fellow traveler, he said.

Meanwhile, the BJP and Hindu outfits have been making all-out efforts for a Hindu polarisation in Kerala right from Sabarimala women entry issue and the fresh row was also widely considered as another such bid.

In the backdrop of the row, filmmaker Ali Akbar, who is a BJP supporter, announced that he would also bring out a movie on the topic, while another left supporter and filmmaker P T Kunju Muhammed also announced a similar project. Noted Malayalam playwright Ibrahim Vengara is also bringing out a film on the topic to mark the centenary.