Aadhivaasi (The Black Death) is the title of Malayalam filmmaker Vijeesh Mani’s next film. It will star Appani Sarath, who rose to fame with his performance in Angamali Diaries, in the lead.
Aadhivaasi is produced by Sohan Roy under the Aries Group of Companies banner.
In conversation with Silverscreen India, Vijeesh says, “The film is based on the Adivasi youth Madhu, who was lynched to death by a mob in Attapadi, Kerala in 2018. Appani Sarath will play Madhu. The core subject of the film will be hunger and the story behind the heart-wrenching and painful death of Madhu.”
In February 2018, Madhu, the tribal youth, was beaten to death by a group of people in Attapadi in Palakkad district, Kerala. He was accused of stealing rice and groceries.
Vijeesh says Aadhivaasi will be shot in the Muduga language spoken by the Muduga tribal community in Attapadi. “Madhu belonged to this community. The film’s dialogues are written by Thangaraj M and the lyrics are penned by Chandran Mari. Both are from the Muduga community and they have been working with me since the beginning of this project in 2020.”
He adds that actors from that community will also be roped in for the film, which will go on floors on October 10 in Attapadi. The team is planning to shoot there for a month.
Vijeesh also mentions that he is familiar with Attapadi and the team did research to learn more about Madhu and his lifestyle from the people who knew him.
On casting Sarath, the filmmaker says, “I wanted someone who physically looked similar to Madhu and Sarath fit the bill. Besides, Sarath is a good actor and this film will provide him with a huge scope for acting.” He adds that Sarath has been training for the film, including learning the language, for six months.
Vijeesh, who has previously made two other tribal language films, Mmmmm (Kurumba) and Netaji (Irula), says he has an inclination towards tribal communities. “Hence, I decided to make films in these languages and tell stories about tribal communities to the world.”
“Sohan Roy produced my previous film Mmmmm, which was shortlisted for the Oscars in 2021. It also won the Best Film award at the 2021 Paris Film Festival. When I pitched the idea for Aadhivaasi, he was interested in the subject and agreed to back the project,” he adds.