Although film shootings were halted during the lockdown, two films have gone to court. The Tiger directed by Shaji Kailas with Prithviraj in the lead and the 250th movie starring Suresh Gopi as Kaduvakkunnel Kuruvachan. It is alleged that the two films bear a striking resemblance to the life of Planter Kuruvinakkunnel Kuruvachan (Jose Kuruvinakkunnel or Mlaparampil Kuruvachan) in Pala. This is the reason why both films are going to court. Kuruvachan is notable for his years-long legal battle with the police. Kuruvachan speaks openly to Manoramanews.com about making his life a movie.
The film is about the life of Kuruvachan. What do you think about life becoming a movie?
I have no objection to filming. But if my story, life background or name is used, you have to be convinced by the script along with the dialogue. Otherwise, he will not agree to make a film. Whoever makes the film must do justice to my life.
How Kuruvachan decided to make the story into a film?
23 years ago Ranji Panicker came to Biju’s house which is close to my family. After that Ranji once came to my house with Shaji Kailas in connection with the shooting of a movie. I talked to them about the legal battles I had that day and what I had experienced. It is time for the case to go to court. After hearing all this, Ranji Panicker asked Shaji Kailas if he could make it into a movie. I also agreed as Ranji is also my native. There was no court order that day. But I was sure that success would be with me. So write the story the same way. Ranji Panicker was verbally told that the film could be made after the verdict.
Can you summarize the incident that is the subject of the film?
The cases started with some dispute in the country with some high ranking policemen. It later grew into a feud. With case and case upon case. In the end, I won in every case.
Kuruvachan is said to be synonymous with the unique character of the Palas. It has been said that Kuruvachan’s method of cutting is the answer. About that?
I follow this method then and today. I do not need to be afraid. I do not live to steal from anyone. There is nothing wrong with that. From what I have reasonably earned I am helping the natives and the schools. Besides, toddy and cannabis have not been sold. Poor girls have also used direct money to get married and get an education. I help people I know personally. My daughter’s wedding even took place after giving a house to poor families in the neighborhood and marrying off two girls.
“Blessed are those who fight for justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” – I live by this Gospel of Matthew. Besides, I am not afraid of the church or the authorities. When I was treasurer of the church committee, the vicar of the church stole the piano (organ) donated by a family to the church. I raised my voice against this and went to the case.
Following the same, I was summoned to the bishop. They have even decided to expel him from the church. He received a letter from the Palace Court stating that he was not allowed to hold official office in the church. In response, he said he was happy. This is the beginning of the reasons why I feel animosity towards the church and the police.
I have been in hiding for some time due to a problem with the police. When a woman who was hanging out at my house at the time died, the church told her not to bury them. The reason given was that they had previously been convicted of a murder. My friends and I buried the bells of the church that day. I do not know.
The High Court has for the first time heard the case of Kuruvachan, who pronounced the verdict ‘Protection from Police’. What about that incident?
You can imagine the situation after breaking up with the police. They will be mentally abused in any way they can. I have been subjected to a lot of such persecution. There was a time when a police team lined up along the way to my house. I have had to go into hiding in Tamil Nadu for some time following the cases. They did not dare to touch me directly.
But my son-in-law has been hurt. My friends were with me that day. Knowing my character never touched me. He came home at half past one in the morning, called me and took me away. The police have even seized my vehicles. That day my friends helped me with the car. I was well aware that I was fighting for justice. So there was no hesitation in getting on the station. The struggle began with the conviction that he would not back down no matter what. When the verdict was pronounced in my favor, the court said that protection from police instead of police protection. The court itself said that if there was any harassment by the police, it should be reported.
What about the vibe with vintage cars and guns?
Licensed firearms are used. The oil is kept neat and tidy. Police have been commended for keeping the gun well. My Benz is the 86 model. Imported from London. 123 model. The Ambassador was acquired in 1984. Endeavor was used in Tamil Nadu when going on hire. Go up and down any forest. It also has a Mahindra Jeep with front gear.
Who would you like to see as your protagonist in a movie?
Suresh Gopi combines my body language, mannerisms and action. If my story is to be made into a film, I want Suresh Gopi to be the hero.