Pazhassi Raja to be released on Vishu

via PNS | Kochi published on January 21, 2009

Vasudevan Nair-Hariharan team’s historic film venture based in history,
Pazhassi Raja, would hit the movie halls during the Vishu festival. A
definite release date is now being announced after several
postponements, as the film was to be released for last Onam and the
release was later re-scheduled to Christmas.

The film for which
Jnanpith winner MT has penned the script and with the famous Hariharan
himself is the director, produced at a cost of Rs 10 crore or more, is
expected to be the costliest epic movie ever made. Pazhassi Rajawill go for maximum releases simultaneously as a movie with this cost will have to do it to get the money back.

is said that the film could be released in other languages than
Malayalam also, and harmonious communication would not be a problem in
Tamil and Telugu as stars like Sarathkumar and Telugu actress
Kanihaa are appearing in it. Reports say that Pazhassi Rajawill be released at least in one hundred centres in Kerala alone.

in the richest formats and compositions, the film will be a visual
treat, say those who have worked with Hariharan for the movie. The
movie, planned with the biggest ever budget for a Malayalam movie, is
produced by Gokulam Gopalan, who also considers it as his prestige
project. Most of the important scenes of the movie have been shot with
more than four cameras working simultaneously.

MT Vasudevan Nair
had been on this thinking about Pazhassirajaj even when he was writing
the script for Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha which took the box office by
storm in 1989. The film brings out the story of the first organized
revolt against British rule, led by Kerala Varma Pazhassi Rajaof the Padinjare Kovilakom of the Kottayam family near Thalassery in Kannur district.

Director Hariharan says that the story of Pazhassi Rajahad
appealed to him because it offered tremendous visual possibilities in
the backdrops of the forests and the wars. “We know about the high
expectations people have on the film and are confident that we will be
able to live up to it,” he says.

Pazhassi Raja, the Lion of
Kerala, is a legend in Kerala but not so well known outside the State.
He had to reckon with the armies of the Mysore rulers as well as the
British. Even before the much celebrated 1857 struggle, Raja had
spearheaded an attack against the British who made a futile attempt to
capture the Raja in his own palace at Pazhassi in April 1796.

British company then made proclamations which forbid people from
supporting the Raja, threatening to confiscate the property of all who
are supporting Pazhassi. In 1797 the Raja’s men launched attack on the
security personnel stationed at Pazhassi, and in continuous battles
that were fought over three days, Pazhassi’s men were able to overpower
the British forces, using swords, spears, bows and arrows . With an
army of thousands of Nairs, Pazhassi inflicted such defeat on the
British that they were forced to retreat and negotiate. This forced the
British to sign a temporary armistice, in accordance with Raja’s wishes.

Pazhassi Rajaonce
again revolted against the occupants when the British decide to take
over Wyanad in 1799 after the fall of Sreerengapattanam. This time the
British had an upper hand as they controlled most of the south. They
confiscated Raja’s properties and proclaimed a reward for capturing
him. The Raja who fled from the palace, took refuge in the jungles
accompanied by his wife and immediate attendants.

He tried to
continue his war with the help of Adivasas and his loyal Kurichiyar
tribe. Using guerrilla tactics and informers, he kept the British on
tenterhooks for longer than any other regional ruler. But on November
30 1805, the Raja was surrounded by Thomas Harvey Babar, a young
British officer in charge of suppressing Pazhaassi and was shot dead in
an operation on the banks of Mavila Thodu.

It is not yet clear
to what extent MT and Hariharan have shown justice to the legendary
fighter-king, but sources in the industry said Hariharan had taken
unusual pains to shape it up into a movie with all commercial

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