Yesterday, I went for the movie “Pazhassi Raja”. Released in 4 theatres in the city, this big budget film, narrates the story of Pazhassi Raja, a hero and warrior from northern kerala, who raised his voice and sword against the plunders of English East India Company. He is one of the first to proclaim that, ” People who came to trade cinnamon and pepper has no right to pass laws in our land”.
A bit history about pazhassi Raja: When Kerala was ruled from Mysore by Tipu and Haider, their officers used to collect taxes directly from the farmers bypassing the land lords, but the British changed this and decided to collect taxes directly from the Kings and Nair Lords. The amount fixed as tax by the British was unreasonable and people did not have the capacity to pay that much. Faced with revolts from people, the kings were unable to collect the taxes.
After Tipu left, the British ignored Pazhassi Raja and gave the land to his uncle on lease. This insult also helped in triggering the revolt. Pazhassi Raja stopped collecting taxes and this upset the British. Since the king was popular, they could not do anything but stop collecting tax for a year, but to add more insult, they extended the lease given to his uncle for another five years. On June 28, 1795, Pazhassi Raja challenged the British by stopping all tax collection and giving refuge to people who were considered revolutionaries by the British.
This was followed by Guerilla warfare tactics launched from Wyanad rain forests by Pazhassi and his army harassing the English company. finally the fire power and the dirty tactics of British company had him killed. But he lived through the history of India’s Struggle of independence as a great martyr.
Overall, the film did justice to the history. There is no hypes or added up romance to promote the movie. The characters are strong and did their part extremely well. The sound engineering by the Oscar Winner Rasool Pookutty out stands. The script by the great malayalam writer M T Vasudevan Nair and the eminent cast and the production team made the movie an epic for sure. There are few shortcomings in places, but I should vote for the good things in the movie and the intention of retelling an history to the modern world, where we often forget the value of freedom, free will and independence.