MT Vasudevan Nair’s Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha did hurt the sentiments of many: KP Sasikala
Hindu Aikya Vedi chairperson KP Sasikala is never short of controversies. She recently threatened the makers of the upcoming magnum opus The Mahabharata that they will not allow it’s release with the current title. She wanted the makers to title it as Randamoozham, the novel on which the movie is based on.
Randamoozham, written by Jnanipath award winner MT Vasudevan Nair, is based on the Hindu epic Mahabharatha. It is told from the perspective of Bheeman. According to Sasikala, the novel is a distortion of the writings in the real Mahabharatha and hence it’s movie adaptation should not be titled as The Mahabharata. She stressed that Mahabaratha is closely knit to religious beliefs and hence a novel that distorted the history and beliefs would not be allowed to release with this title. She warned that if the makers did not change its name, then the Kerala Hindu Aikya Vedi would not allow its screening.
This statement from her created a huge controversy with several people accusing Sasikala for trying to force religion into cinema. Before the issue could settle down, Sasikala has once again accused MT Vasudevan Nair for twisting the facts and developing his own versions in his novels.
While addressing a gathering recently, Sasikala cited the case of Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha. She stated that MT Vasudevan Nair’s writing had hurt the sentiments of many. She accused him of portraying the villainous Chandu as a hero through the movie.
Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha, released in 1989 is a cult classic directed by Hariharan. The movie is based on the Vadakkan Pattukal or the Northern ballads of the Malabar region. Legend has it that, Aromal Chekavar, a well-known warrior, is killed after a sword fight in which his sword gets broken. Aromal manages to win the fight but then fingers are pointed at his cousin Chandu for replacing the metallic rivets with wooden ones. Chandu is said to have betrayed his cousin as he was jealous of Aromal’s popularity and skills. Chandu and Aromal end up in an altercation resulting in the death of Aromal. His sister Unniyarcha, vows her sons will avenge her brother’s death. Chandu finally gets killed by Unniyarcha’s sons.
Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha was an alternative version of what is written in the history books. The story was told from Chandu’s perspective, suggesting that grave injustice was done to Chandu by wrongly accusing him of replacing the rivets. The movie went on to become a huge blockbuster along with winning several accolades. MT Vasudevan Nair won the National Award for best screenplay while Mammootty won the award for best actor.