1921 (1988 film)

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1921 poster.jpg
Directed by I. V. Sasi
Produced by Muhammed Mannil
Written by T. Damodaran
Screenplay by T. Damodaran
Story by T. Damodaran
Starring Mammootty
Suresh Gopi
T. G. Ravi
Music by Shyam,VM Kutty
Cinematography V Jayaram
Edited by K. Narayanan
Mannil Films
Distributed by Mannil Films
Release date
  • 19 August 1988 (1988-08-19)
Running time
197 minutes
Country India
Language Malayalam
Budget Rs. 1.20 crore[1]

1921 - Ayirathi Thollayirathi Irupathi Onnu is a 1988 Indian historical war drama film written by T. Damodaran and directed by I. V. Sasi. The film has an ensemble cast including Mammootty, Suresh Gopi, Madhu, T. G. Ravi, Seema, Urvashi and Mukesh.[2][3][4] The film was distributed by Mannil Films. It tells the fictional story of Khader (Mammootty), a World War I veteran, who joins with the Mappila rebels during the Malabar Rebellion.

Made with a budget of Rs. 1.20 crore, 1921 was then the most expensive film in Malayalam. T. Damodaran has called this film as his dream project. [5][6] The film won Kerala State Film Award for Best Film with Popular Appeal and Aesthetic Value in 1988.[7]


The screenplay was written by physical education teacher-turned-scriptwriter T. Damodaran. T. Damodaran later called this film as his dream project. He was particularly good at writing political dramas, especially for director I. V. Sasi, with whom he formed a remarkably prolific partnership.[8]

The film focuses on Mappila bullock cart driver Khader (Mammootty), a retired corporal and World War I veteran, and Unni Krishnan (Suresh Gopi), a hardline nationalist revolutionary from a family of upper-caste Hindu landlords. Both men join the brigade of Variyan Kunnathu Kunjahammad Haji (T. G. Ravi), one of the prominent leaders of the 1921 Uprising.

The plot gradually introduces a variety of characters, representing the South Malabar society of the 1920s. The film also touches various social dilemmas which led to the 1921 Uprising, the atrocities committed by the British army and the rebels during the events and the eventual collapse of the rebel unity and organisation.

"Even history has been tinged with an overdose of fantasy to suit the image of Mammootty who plays the lead role of Khader, a legendary hero who took part in the historic Moplah rebellion [1921 Uprising]," film critic Sreedhar Pillai wrote in India Today.[1]


Actor Ranjini was initially approached by I. V. Sasi for the film, but due to some date clashes she could not sign up.[9]


"It [the film] deals with a contentious chapter of our [Indian] Independence struggle, but does it in grand style and high drama. It is also one film that does justice to history. Its representation of the region [South Malabar], the milieu and the historic incident [1921 Uprising] became all the more politically relevant and socially resonant in the next decades when the [Malayalam] movie images of minorities [Muslims] became biased and parochial."[10]

—Film critic C. S. Venkiteswaran in The Hindu

The film's screenplay and dialogues, written by T. Damodaran. Initially [as per December, 1988] the film was not doing at the theatres as expected.[1][11] The film's budget was 1.2 crore (US$170,000).[1]


The soundtrack was composed by Shyam. The lyrics of the songs in the film were adapted from folklore Malayalam poems by poets such as Moyinkutty Vaidyar (19th century). Independent India's "national song" Vande Mataram, written by Bengali poet Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (1838 - 1894), is also featured in the film with vocals by K. S. Chithra. Other "playback singers" are Naushad and Vilayil Fazila.

Song Playback singer Lyrics Duration
"Manathu Maaran" Naushad Moyinkutty Vaidyar
"Dheerasameere Yamunatheere" K. S. Chithra traditional poem
"Muthunava Rathnamukham" Naushad Moyinkutty Vaidyar
"Firdausil Adukkumpol" Naushad and Vilayil Fazila P. Abdul Khader
"Vande Mataram" (Sanskrit) K. S. Chithra Bankim Chandra Chatterjee


  1. ^ a b c d e Sreedhar Pillai. Celluloid Sultans of Kerala 31 December 1988 India Today Archives
  2. ^ "1921". www.malayalachalachithram.com. Retrieved 2014-10-24.
  3. ^ "1921". malayalasangeetham.info. Retrieved 2014-10-24.
  4. ^ "1921". spicyonion.com. Retrieved 2014-10-24.
  5. ^ T Damodaran cremated with state honours MARCH 28, 2012 The Mathrubhumi daily
  6. ^ Sampurn Media. Mammootty - IV Sasi - Damodaran together again 23 April 2010 The New Indian Express
  7. ^ "List of Malayalam Films Released During the Year 1988". Information and Public Relations Department, Government of Kerala. Retrieved 2009-07-27.
  8. ^ P. K. Ajith Kumar. "Malayalam scriptwriter Damodaran dead". [1] The Hindu 28 March 2012
  9. ^ "Remembering the legend" [2] Deccan Chronicle 25 October 2017
  10. ^ C. S. Venkiteswaran. "The End of an Epoch" The Hindu OCTOBER 26, 2017 [3]
  11. ^ T Damodaran cremated with state honours MARCH 28, 2012 The Mathrubhumi daily

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