T P Rajeevan’s stories are set in another milieu; they throb in vintage colours making a clever tapestry of fact, fiction, history and folklore. Njan, Ranjith’s latest outing based on his K T N Kottoor :Ezhuthum Jeevithavum, promises yet another trip back to yesteryear ethos. If Mammootty played the lead in Paleri Manikyam, the screen adaptation of his book by the same title, now it’s Dulquar Salman who steps into the shoes of Kottoor. “It’s a work that places fiction in a historical context. As the title suggests, it zooms into one’s inner self,” says Rajeevan.
The film, with its strong period flavour, maps the life of its hero during the politically turbulent 1930s and 40s. “K T N Kottoor is a fictional character, not any historical figure. But the simmering socio-cultural backdrop and the path-breaking political developments are part of history,” he says.
The protagonist played by Dulquar belongs to a remote village in Malabar. “He is drawn to the mass movements that ignited a nationalist spirit in pre-independent India. He is also a poet, who is often at clash with his political self. The storyline is woven around Kottoor’s internal conflict,” he elaborates. The film features many icons of modern Malabar’s socio-political history. “The fictional Kottor is surrounded by real-life figures like P Govinda Pillai, EMS and AKG,” he adds. As its tagline goes Njan is more of a self portrait. The film mainly deals with the issues of identity, revolving around an individual who ends up a social misfit. “Since art is culturally rooted Kottoor’s feudal background and upbringing are reflected in his poetry. But he finds that it’s something unjustifiable in the progressive political ideology. He is branded a bourgeois poet, but he is a man who believes in and is part of the socialist wave. As a result Kottoor is ostracized from all circles. The writers count him as a politician and the politicians cast him aside as a poet,” he says.
Apart from the lead actor Suresh Krishna, Joy
Mathew and Saddiq are among others who are a part of the cast. He says though the film has some cinematic vagaries, the director has kept the soul of his work intact. “He has made some alterations to establish a link between the past and present. Then, other than some technical changes demanded by the visual idiom, Njan is a film that stays closest to its original,” he says.