Film on Variyamkunnath to continue even as Prithviraj, Aashiq Abu back out

Ever since the film on Variyamkunnath Kunhahammed Haji and the Malabar Rebellion was first announced in June 2020, there has been a lot of criticism surrounding the project.
Variyamkunnath Kunjahammed Haji
Variyamkunnath Kunjahammed Haji
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After it was reported that actor Prithviraj Sukumaran and director Aashiq Abu have withdrawn from the film Variyamkunnan, which is based on the historical figure Variyamkunnath Kunhahammed Haji, the producers of the movie said that they are continuing with the project and it will be taken in two parts. As a response to the media reports and the controversy circling the film, the production company Compass Movies has released an official response. "The work is on to take the film Variyamkunnan in all artistic brilliance to the global cinema world. It will be taken in two parts so that the history of Variyamkunnath Kunhahammed Haji and Malabar Rebellion get the space they deserve," wrote Zikandar, Managing Director of Compass Movies.

Ever since the film was first announced in June 2020 there has been a lot of criticism surrounding the project. Right-wing supporters opposed the making of a film on Variyamkunnath and the Malabar Rebellion that he led back in 1921, saying that it was an anti-Hindu movement. However, Variyamkunnath had been recognised as a freedom fighter and the Malabar Rebellion as a movement against British rule in India. 

There were also a lot of social media attacks directed at Prithviraj for accepting to play the character. Choosing Ramees, a person accused of taking regressive stands in the past, as the film's scriptwriter was also criticised. Following this, Aashiq Abu announced that Ramees would stay away from the film temporarily. However, no further updates regarding the film were reported for a while.

Recently, there arose reports of a Union government move to remove names of Malabar Rebellion leaders from the martyrs’ dictionary. Soon afterward media reports emerged about Prithviraj and Aashiq Abu backing out of the project, citing discord with producers, though this had happened a few months ago. 

It is in response to this that Compass Movies released a statement about continuing with the film. "It has been five years since we took up this film project. We understand the challenges behind taking a film based on the life of the revolutionary Variyamkunnath Kunhahammed Haji." Saying that both Prithviraj and Aashiq had to move out of the project due to unfortunate circumstances, the producer adds that it does not mean the film itself has ended.

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