KOCHI: When the biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi — starring Vivek Oberoi — was ready for release in 2019, the Election Commission had asked the makers of the film to postpone it to a date after the Lok Sabha elections. Accordingly, the film was released 24 hours after the election results were declared.
However, One — in which megastar Mammootty plays the role of Kadakkal Chandran, a stern and bold chief minister — is unlikely to face any such trouble. The reason: the makers of the film have made it abundantly clear that One is not inspired by the real-life story of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The clarification came after the launch of the movie’s teaser earlier this month, which led to discussions among movie buffs about the character’s uncanny resemblance to Pinarayi.
Since the film is slated for a March 26 release, two weeks before the state is scheduled to go to the polls, some Congress leaders have also voiced apprehensions about the film. However, Bobby and Sanjay — the film’s scriptwriters — said that One is a completely neutral movie about the politics it depicts. “We have approached the story from the standpoint of voters, that is the general public. We have adopted an unbiased approach towards the subject. There is no point connecting it to the current cabinet and chief minister,” said Bobby.
The duo pointed out the theme of the movie is totally different. “We always try to be ‘objective’ when it comes to the characters that we give shape to. Here, the chief minister has intention and purpose. That is why he has been made the central character in the movie,” said Sanjay.
This is not the first time that political thrillers have set off a controversy in Malayalam cinema. In 1982, Ee Nadu triggered a row as the film featured a true Communist and a votary of practical politics, essayed by Balan K Nair and T G Ravi respectively.
The political thriller Bhoomiyile Rajakkanmaar (1987) also faced stiff opposition from a section of the political class for its thematic treatment. Finally, when it had a delayed release, the movie helmed by the late Thampi Kannamthanam was issued an ‘A’ certificate by the then Censor Board for its political references.
When Lal Salam was released in the 1990 Christmas season, a controversy erupted over the characters Stephen Nettooran (Mohanlal), D K Antony (Murali) and Sethulakshmi (Geetha) –- whose persona were inspired by pioneering Left leaders Varghese Vaidyan, T V Thomas and K R Gowri respectively. But Lal Salam proved a huge hit.