Malayalam News

Vaariyamkunnan: Prithviraj Says the Decision to Opt Out of Controversial Film Was Not His

Actor Prithviraj Sukumaran has opened up for the first time about withdrawing from the controversial Malayalam film Vaariyamkunnan, based on the life of Variyankunnathu Kunjahammed Haji, one of the leaders of the Malabar Rebellion between 1921 and 1922 in northern Kerala.


Prithviraj was recently in Dubai for the promotions and world premiere of his film Bhramam. During a press conference there, when a question regarding the Vaaryiamkunnan project was raised, the actor said it was not his decision to back out of the film.

He further said that the question should be directed to the director or producer of the film, not him. According to an Asianet report, the actor added, “I am a person who conveniently does not pay attention to what is going on outside of my personal and professional life. That is something that life and my career have taught me.”

In September, filmmaker Aashiq Abu, who was supposed to co-direct and co-produce Vaariyamkunnan, announced that he and Prithviraj had opted out of the project due to differences with producers. 

Soon after Abu made the announcement, the Compass Movies banner put out a statement noting that the film would go ahead even though the actor and director had left the project. They also revealed that the film will be released in two parts in order to do justice to the history of the Malabar Rebellion and Haji.

Vaariyamkunnan was announced in June 2020. Zikandar Moideen’s Compass Movies was supposed to back the film in association with Abu’s OPM Cinemas. The project was to be directed by Abu and Muhsin Parari with Harshad and Rameez on board as writers.

The film has since faced several issues.


Following the film’s announcement, several religious outfits like Hindu Aikya Vedi criticised Prithviraj for agreeing to perform the role of the Muslim leader who, they claimed, had committed crimes against the Hindu community. Organisations like RSS and other Sangh outfits also alleged that it was a deliberate attempt by a particular community to glorify Haji.

Later, one of the scriptwriters of the film, Rameez temporarily withdrew from the project after he was called out for some controversial and misogynistic social media posts. He said that he had decided to step away from the project until the allegations against him were proven wrong.