Why would I dedicate a post to a movie that I am yet to see? Because this is a film that has excited me from the day I came to know of its announcement and because the film is about a man who I adore to the cusp of hero worship. And because I don't see a trace of this man's sacrifice, leadership and heroism in today's generation of young Keralites. "Naxal" Varghese as we call him today was the CPM Wayanad district secretary who chucked a promising future as a politician(probably chiefministership too???) to join the Naxalite Movement protesting against the party's acquiescence of landlordism and exploitation of tribals and peasants ultimately laying down his young life for the people whose conditions he strived to better.
I am no supporter of violent upheaval but there are situations when you feel justified in your support for such movements. Naxalites are back in relevance and have even begun to rule, as we see in neighbouring Nepal where the ruling class and middle class ignored the fate of the underprivileged majority. We have states in India with naxal menace like Jharkand, Chattisgarh, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, etc that are seething at the non-improvement of their living conditions despite 60 years of independence and democracy. While India has zestfully responded to the justified need of supressing these violent movements, more importantly the efforts to address the ills that plague the societal inequalities in these states have not been tackled properly.
Thalappavu will release anytime soon I hear. Many years back I read these three wonderful articles on rediff when retired police constable Ramachandran Pillai who is dead now confessed to the cold-blooded murder of Varghese. On that same day rediff also carried this article indicting the establishment. A few years later noted Kerala journalist George Iype travelled to Thirunnelli and discovered the legend that surrounded Varghese 30 years after his death. Around the same time, mainstream newspapers like Manorama and Mathrubhumi retrieved superbly written articles from their archives chronicling the last days of Varghese, Ajitha's arrest and the fatal torture inflicted on Rajan. Unfortunately I didn't have the foresight to save those gems.
In Thalappavu, Prithviraj plays Varghese and Lal plays constable Pillai who killed him. The movie is directed by actor Madhupal who makes his debut behind the megaphone, script is by Babu Janardhanan who arrived in prominence with Achanurangatha Veedu and Vasthavam in 2006, with camera helmed by veteran Azhagappan and is produced by Tamil actor, Mohan. Check out the film's superb website at http://www.thalappavu.com. I decided to pitch this movie seeing propoganda aimed against this film by our "harmless" superstar fans who have already begun deriding it as offbeat, a "derisive" label which today is used to keep people away from theatres. A movie like this deserves to succeed but is waiting release as crap superstar flicks like Annan Thampi and Innathe Chinthavishayam continue their artificial run. Hope my little blog has given you all a heads-up and everyone will go watch this movie in its first week. Also check out two snaps I uncovered from the net of Varghese, shot by famed Manorama photographer, T.Narayanan . Note the facial similarily he shares with Prithviraj which probably prompted his casting for this role. The other one is Varghese shot to death after the "encounter".