Jayesh, on whose life the film is based, was accused of the murder of Sundariamma, a 69-year-old woman he had come to see as a mother.

A murder and an acquittal Meet Jayesh the inspiration for Oru Kuprasidha Payyan
Flix Cinema Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - 12:46

Jayesh does not have a phone. He plans to get one when his salary comes. For now, if people want to talk to him they call Afsal, his friend. And there are quite a few people calling him now. They want to know if his story is quite the same as the one in Oru Kuprasidha Payyan, the new Tovino Thomas movie.

“It is,” Jayesh says.  He has seen the film, remembering as he did his life from four to five years ago – working as a waiter at a wayside hotel in Kozhikode, getting arrested one day for the murder of Sundariamma, a 69-year-old woman he had come to see as a mother. Jayesh was acquitted four years ago, but wishes to this day that the real murderer of Sundariamma be found.

Jayesh’s life has been nearly the same as in the film, scripted by writer Jeevan Job Thomas and directed by Madhupal. He worked in a hotel – City Light Hotel in Kozhikode – for years, collecting idlis from Sundariamma every day. When Sundariamma was found murdered in her home, Jayesh had at first helped the local police with valuable inputs. But when the crime branch took over the investigation, he became an accused. He was allegedly tortured brutally like in the movie. But an advocate came to his life like a saviour.

“It was a woman in the movie, in my life it was a man called Anil Kumar,” says Jayesh in his thick Kozhikode dialect. He means Nimisha Sajayan, who plays the young advocate saving Ajayan, the character Tovino plays.

But the similarities between his life and the movie end on the day Jayesh was acquitted of the crime after spending more than a year in custody. The life after has not been the same.

Jayesh was not welcome at his old job. There was no woman waiting for him. “She cheated me and went away,” he says half in humour when Afsal teases him about it. “I will not marry,” Jayesh adds.

A little after his acquittal in October 2014, the police had come for Jayesh again, accusing him in another case. “Another fake case they tried to trap me in. I had to go to the magistrate court,” Jayesh says. He lost the job he had found after a lot of trouble. No one would take him.

After a lot of trouble he found a job as a cleaning staff at a café on the Gujarati Street in Kozhikode. After the film’s release, however, he has got a couple of job offers. The cast and crew of the film have not met him yet, he expects that they soon will.

But the writer of the film, Jeevan, has met him, back in 2014 when newspaper reports of his acquittal had come out.

Jeevan had expected a deeper story to come out.

 “I waited one and a half months for it. When it didn’t happen, I went out to do the job on my own. It’s the first journalistic piece I wrote,” Jeevan says. He was then writing a collection of articles called Maranathinte Aayiram Mukhangal. He wrote of identity issues, minorities and more. A point in Jayesh’s case, written in passing in newspaper articles, interested him particularly – that Jayesh was also called Jabbar. 

Jeevan decided to interview Jayesh, and spoke at length with his advocate M Anil Kumar aka Anil Thiruvannoor. He wrote the piece for the Pachakuthira magazine. Director Madhupal, who read the article, asked Jeevan if he could write a screenplay. That became Oru Kuprasidha Payyan.

Advocate Anil had been, like Nimisha in the film, a regular attendee of the court. He went day after day, whether he had a case or not, to the Kozhikode Magistrate Court 3. He watched with interest the accused of Sundariamma’s murder standing in the court and repeating that he didn’t do it, demanding for a narco analysis test to prove his innocence. “I had an intuition about the case, a feeling that it’d be good if I could take it,” Anil says.

Anil Thiruvannoor

His wish came true when judicial officer Titty George asked Anil to be present for the case, when it was transferred to the sessions court in Marad. Anil went through the case documents and found many problems with it. “I am a very suspicious man by nature. I had my suspicions about the materials produced in court and the earlier proofs that were destroyed,” he says.

The prosecution lawyer was, like in the movie, a senior advocate. But he is not the villainous man that Nedumudi Venu plays. “K Bhaskaran Nair is a very respected lawyer. I have been his junior. So many prominent advocates have been his juniors,” Anil says.

Of course, Jeevan has taken a few such liberties. There is a lot of difference between the real story that he wrote for Pachakuthira and the screenplay, a ficitonalised version of the reality, that he wrote for Madhupal, Jeevan says.

Anil knew that. Bits of Sundariamma’s life – Chembakammal in the movie, played by Saranya Ponvannan – have also been fictionalised. But when he and his wife, senior advocate Beena, watched it, they found the film a lot like the real case Anil had fought so hard four years ago.

“I had enjoyed cross-examining all 39 witnesses of the case – breaking the lies they told, exposing the fake proof fabricated by the crime branch that had taken over the investigation from the local police,” Anil says. He visited Sundariamma’s house, one and a half kilometers away from his own, several times and found more proof for Jayesh’s innocence. Even the eye-witness Divakaran, who claimed to have seen the accused run away through the back door, had made contradictory statements, like Alancier did in the movie.

One would wish the likeness of the movie extended to Jayesh’s life post his acquittal. As he runs from job to job, Jayesh has only one wish, that no one else should have such a life as his.


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