The subject of one of the biggest blockbusters of the late 1980s is back on the story board for four Malayalam films after three decades. The annnouncements of new films on the Malabar Rebellion have already stirred the Kerala film industry.
The new films that have been just announced will revolve around one of the characters -- Variyan Kunnathu Kunjahammed Haji -- in the 1988 film.
The Malabar Rebellion in 1921 is an epochal event in the Indian Freedom Movement.
It was in 1988 that Kerala's legendary filmmaker I.V.Sasi came out with the film '1921'. It was billed as the most expensive film in Malayalam then and was a smashing hit.
With the Corona pandemic slowly ebbing away, the latest announcements came initially from Aashiq Abu and superstar Prithviraj.
Unlike in the film "1921", headed by Mammootty, the central theme for all the new four films announced is Variyan Kunnathu Kunjahammed Haji, who played second fiddle to the main character in Sasi's film.
Haji is known for raising 75,000 natives, seizing control of large territory from the British colonialists and setting up a parallel government in open defiance of the overseas rulers in villages within the Eranadu and Valluvanadu taluks of Malabar.
Prithviraj wrote: "He (Haji) stood 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. #Vaariyamkunnan. Filming begins in 2021, on the 100th anniversary."
This film is being directed by Aashiq Abu and will have a different take from IV Sasi.
Others in the fray
Veteran playwright 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, the film will have artistes from other languages. The 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 a film on the same topic and wrote on his Facebook page: "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 associate P.T.Kunju Muhammed, who has also announced that he is going ahead with his work on the same subject.
Apart from, Ali Akbar, all others may stick with the portrayal of the titular character.
Director and general secretary of FEFKA (Film Employees Federation of Kerala) B.Unnikrishnan, meanwhile, said there is nothing wrong if different films come out on the same theme as it is a matter of creative freedom.
"All are entitled to do what they like," said Unnikrishnan.