Reputed filmmaker Ramasimhan (formerly Ali Akbar) was excited to venture into producing “1921 – Puzha Muthal Puzha Vare” (1921 – River to River), a Malayalam movie on Hindu massacre of 1921, engineered in the name of Khilafat Movement. He resolved to take up this initiative when CPM-led Kerala Government declared projects to glorify notorious Muslim rioter Variyankkunathu Kunjahammad Haji, who led the inhuman massacre of thousands of Hindus including women and children, conversion of thousands of Hindus into Islam, sexual abuse of thousands of women and desecration and demolition of hundreds of Hindus temples, as a freedom fighter and paint the anti-Hindu Khilafat movement as farmer’s agitation which turned to freedom struggle against the Britons. But, Ramasimhan’s dream project still remains a mere dream, thanks to the unreasonable and rude hurdles and hassles created by the Censor Board.
In fact, Khilafat was the worst Hindu genocide Dakshin Bharat has ever witnessed. Congress-led (Opposition) United Democratic Front was all smiles to support the ruling LDF initiatives, due to the Muslim Vote Bank Politics prevailing in the state. And, a pro-Jihadi film personality came out to declare that he was going to make film picturing Haji as a freedom fighter. It invited stiff opposition from pro-Hindu and nationalistic forces. However not much has been heard about that film thereafter.
It was against this backdrop that Ramasimhan came out with his resolution to make a film picturising the factual story of 1921 genocide. Along with declaring the film project in 2021 he said to the media persons that thereafter he is Ramasimhan, instead of Ali Akbar. He was accepting the name of a prominent person who was born and lived in Muslim majority district Malappuram. He was a prominent Muslim called Unnyen Saheb before his whole family embraced Hindutva and accepted the name Ramasimhan. But, within few years Jihadis stormed into his bungalow and massacred the entire family of himself and his younger brother Dayasimhan on August 2, 1947, barely two weeks before country’s independence.
Filmmaker Ramasimhan took the initial steps for his pet project in a unique style. He deviated from the traditional line of roping in a single producer’s money for the film. On the other hand, he invited investments from the general public. People with hearts filled with Hindutva, nationalism and anti-Jihadism, put in their hard-earned money for Ramasimhan’s noble project. And, he completed the production of the historic project in a short period of time. But, Malayalam Film Censor Board would not give him its Certificate, the nod to screen. Ramasimhan told that two out four member team who examined the movie gave their green signal. But, then came the ‘cast vote’ of Kerala Regional Officer of the Central Board of Film Certification. Officer Smt. Parvathi, the granddaughter of late senior CPM leader and former Kerala Assembly Speaker Varkkala Radhakrishnan, had already completed her two years’ deputation about couple of years back. But, she enjoys an extension of another two years despite strong opposition from film industry. (Ramasimhan understands, Parvathi holds the additional responsibility of AIR Thiruvananthapuram also).
Then it was left for the decision of the Revising Committee in Mumbai. Because, there is no Revising Committee in Kerala since filmmaker and cinematographer Shaji N. Karun resigned as the chairman when Narendra Modi took over as PM. Reason: He did not like to hold any position under the Modi regime.!
In Mumbai, it is a nine member team. And, they invited Dr. C.I. Isaac, famous historian from Kerala and member of ICHR to join the screening committee. After examining the movie, they invited Ramasimhan to Mumbai. When he reached Mumbai, they suggested the following changes to the film –
1). Film: Ten people are beheaded and thrown into Thuvoor well (Note: it is the well where hundreds of Hindus were beheaded and pushed into).
Committee’s demand: Reduce the number of beheaded people into 3 or 4.
2). Film: Jihadis kill a calf, cut it into pieces, cook it and feed the Namboothiri Brahamins by force and compel the Hindu women to dress up like Muslim women do. (Note: According to belief, if a Brahmin eats beef, he turns an outcast and could never return to his community).
Committee’s demand: Reduce the duration of cutting the beef.
3). They will only grand “A” Certificate, not “U”.
Ramasimhan agreed to the aforementioned conditions and returned to Kerala somewhat satisfied.
After some time, Ramasimhan was asked to reach Mumbai again as the film was before the ‘Re-revising Committee’. Now, the nine-member Committee consists of three Muslim ladies and the entire committee was manned by Hindi-speaking members; no one could follow Malayalam. Again, Ramasimhan was asked to make crucial changes as follows –
1). Film refers to a Muslim Kingdom founded by Variyankkunathu Kunjahammad Haji in Malabar based on Shariat laws.
One Muslim lady member asked Ramasimham to remove it.
2). Committee asked him to remove Gandhi’s name from the film.
3). Committee asked the filmmaker to remove the quotation from the speech of late Madhavan Nair, Congress leader from Malabar, during Khilafat days that ‘Quran says, those who come against Muslims alone can be treated as enemies’.
4). Committee asked him to remove the visuals of Nagalikkavu well. Several massacred Hindus were thrown into it just like Thuvoor well.
5). Committee asked to remove the visuals and reference to forceful conversion of Hindus into Islam.
6). Film shows people addressing male members of Nilambur Palace as ‘Thamburane’ and its subtitle translation was ‘Lord’.
Committee wanted to change it into ‘Land Lord’.
7). Committee asked him to remove his name ‘Ramasimhan’, the name he accepted couple of years back. They wanted him to use his original name ‘Ali Akbar’ in the title.
Ramasimhan told that several film technicians use their pseudonyms. Pro-CPM Malayalam filmmaker Kamaludheen uses his pseudonym ‘Kamal’ in the title of his films. Censor Board does not have any right to dictate its terms regarding the filmmaker’s name.
8). Committee asked him to reduce the number of raising the slogan ‘Bolo Thakdeer’ by 50%.
9). Committee asked Ramasimhan to execute several other ‘reductions’. Total duration of the film is 3 hours 12 minutes. But, the funny thing is they have asked him to make changes in the scene of even the 17th minute after three hours.!
10). Committee objected to the dialogue between Chathan and Savithri, Dalit youth and Namboothiri Brahmin girl respectively, two characters from Duravastha, famous mahakavyam (large text of poem) authored by Mahakavi (great poet) Kumaran Ashan, beloved disciple of Sri Narayana Gurudev and Chattambi Swamiji, legendary Hindu monks of Kerala. Savithri reached the hut of the labourer Chathan, when she tried to escape from Jihadis during Mopla rebellion. Chathan gave her the asylum. Later on, when Savithri proposed to him he said, ‘I don’t mind, but it is your choice’. Then they lived a happy life together.
Ramasimhan wonder why did the Committee want to remove this part from his film.
11). Committee insisted on the introductory declaration stating that the characters are imaginary.
Ramasimham told, with deep regret and grief that he is worried about the infiltration of Jihadis into the establishment. He drafted the script based on the works of Madhavan Nair, the Congress leader of Malabar during Khilafat days and “The Mopla Rebellion 1921” of C. Gopalan Nair, the then Deputy Collector of Malabar. He was the Enquiry Commission appointed by the British government to enquire into the Rebellion. If he makes the changes according to the whims and fancies of the Re-revising Committee, his film would lose its spirit and it would not make any sense. It will negate the true history. His whole effort will be futile.
The entire RSS-inspired organisations agitated against the glorification of Mopla Rebellion and the notorious Jihadi killer Variyankkunathu Kunjahammad Haji.
Ramasimhan hopes, BJP government will take immediate steps in this historic issue. Meanwhile, he gears up to seek legal redressal to release the film in the true spirit with true facts devoid of any compromise.
Courtesy – Organiser