Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja

It would be too presumptuous to write a review for this movie. Not because it is not possible, but for me, it introduced an unnoticed gem of a person from our own culture. Also, I must state the wonderful relationship Mammooty and Mohanlal have in their film career. I see very often that the one comes and comperes in the other person's movies. You don't see that every where!

BTW, is this person, Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja for real? It is too fairy tailish to even believe - but yes, apparently he existed! Some notes from the movie:

* He chooses guerrilla warfare for fighting the British. Guns in a war situation, but only knives and swords in the forest. Because the forest is more important than individual people.

* In one instance, he says that the taxes imposed by the East India company causes farmers to commit suicide. I was thinking - isn't the Indian Government allowing the suicides today!?! Apparently, much hasn't changed.

* In many situations and contexts, he keeps asking - why are traders allowed to collect taxes and tell *us* where *we* should be? I always kept wondering this for several years now. I remember that scene I watched many many years ago from Gandhi where a British judge fines Gandhi for his protest. I remember thinking "Why is this guy telling Gandhi to pay? Who put him in that seat and why is he taking that power upon himself?". I am wondering if the Iraqi's are thinking the same today!

* The fact that Pazhassi Raja created people who laid their lives down for him without second thought speaks a lot about the man!

* One scene where Pazhassi Raja's closest aide and his 17-18 year old son are about to be hanged in public - as a sign of disgracing them and instilling fear on the public. The man asks his son - "Are you scared?". His son replies "No.". The man replies,  "Don't be. If you are scared, they win and we lose!". Too much power in that scene. What an expectation out of a teenager! And they both go without a whimper!

* Apparently, the greatest of the kings have all gone because of betrayals! Here there are two people! So sad.

* This man had the guts to go single handed into a British camp to confront an group of armed people (with guns). He also had the talent to come out alive (but injured).

* He displays a primal passion for his land and its people. But he also displays immense wisdom to act as per situational demands. To examples - he sides the British in a war to fight against Tipu Sultan in one situation. He also signs a treaty with the British because his feud with the British causes immense discomfort to his people (a sort of a win-win treaty which the British didn't bother to honor).

* That final scene is an overpoweringly emotional scene. It will be etched for long!

I am sort of ashamed that I grew up without hearing about him. I think it will be a worthwhile exercise to go back and read about the freedom struggle again to know about the folks who stood up like this. I hope this movie breaks-even without causing a loss. We need more elucidations of this kind.

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