Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea (titled Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham in Malayalam and Maraikkayar: Arabikadalin Singam in Tamil) is an Indian epic war film directed by Priyadarshan. Set in the 16th century Calicut, the film is based on the fourth Kunjali Marakkar named Muhammad Ali, the admiral of the fleet of the Zamorin. Priyadarshan scripted the film with Ani Sasi. The film was produced by Antony Perumbavoor through Aashirvad Cinemas, with Roy C. J. and Santosh T. Kuruvilla as co-producers. The film stars Mohanlal in the title role, and also features Arjun, Suniel Shetty, Prabhu, Manju Warrier, Keerthy Suresh, Siddique, Mukesh, Nedumudi Venu and Pranav Mohanlal in supporting roles. The film is shot simultaneously in Malayalam and Tamil languages with an estimated budget of 85–100 crore.
The initial plan for a film based on the admirals Kunjali Marakkar started between Priyadarshan, Mohanlal, and screenwriter T. Damodaran in 1996. Damodaran pitched a plot idea in 1999. However, the film did not materialise in Damodaran’s lifetime because of the high budget requirements, which was unaffordable for a Malayalam film at that time. Priyadarshan kept the project in mind for years, until in 2017 he proceeded with the research work. Due to scarce documentation, contradicting accounts, and perspectives, he had to develop his own version of the character and events by synthesizing history, fiction, and folklore. He modelled it after a chapter he had learnt as a child in his grade three textbook and also incorporated input from Damodaran. The final draft was completed by June 2018.
Principal photography took place from December 2018 to March 2019, filmed in sets created at Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad. It lasted 104 days and post-production took 14 months. Four life-size ship replicas were constructed and were shot inside a water tank. The sea was completely created using visual effects. Sabu Cyril and Siddharth Priyadarshan oversaw the production design and visual effects supervision, respectively. Production began with an estimated budget of ₹80 crores, making it the most expensive Malayalam film to date. The original score was composed by Rahul Raj, Ankit Suri and Lyell Evans Roeder; and songs by Ronnie Raphael.
Story plot of malayalam movie Marakkar
Kochi lost yet another battle against Kozhikode. Kochi Raja signs a treaty with Portugal for getting firepower to reinforce Kochi’s armed forces in return for allowing them to institute Cartaz system in Kochi Port. This disrupts the maritime trade of local Muslim merchants, who now have to remit heavy duty to Portuguese customs, leaving them little to no profit. They seek Kuttiyali Marakkar, an influential merchant, for help. With his request turned down by the Raja, Kuttiyali devises a plan to bypass Portuguese customs and transport goods to Arab ships anchored off the port, but his brother-in-law Moidu double-cross him for Portuguese commander Alfonso de Noronho.
In the past, Kuttiyali and his sons Kutti Poker Ali and Pattu Marakkar had served as Kozhikode Samoothiri‘s naval commanders against the Portuguese Armadas. After Poker’s death, they amicably resigned and settled in Kochi as merchants. In the present, the Marakkar family is preparing for the wedding of Muhammad Ali, Poker’s son. Their procession carrying the bride and groom camps at nightfall. Noronho pulls a coup de main and massacre everyone, including Kuttiyali, Muhammad’s mother and bride, while Muhammad and Pattu survive. Raja declares them outlaws believing Moidu’s story that Kuttiyali’s men triggered the fight over dowry that lead to the tragedy. Muhammad and Pattu assassinate Moidu and flee the place. Their raft is destroyed in a storm and gets stranded in Ponnani, Kozhikode.
In Ponnani, they start a living and make friends with Thangudu and the gang. Samoothiri entrusts nāduvāzhi Namathu Kurup to allocate ration and reimbursement to people whose livelihood was destroyed in flood, but Kurup plans to sell these provisions in market. When questioned, Pattu is beaten by Kurup’s men. That night, Muhammad and the gang ambush Kurup’s convoy and steal the provisions and distribute it among the impoverished, marking the bundles as “from Kunjali”. Muhammad is referred to as Kunjali from hereon. Kunjali continues to rob corrupt noblemen, building a reputation as the saviour of the poor, while remaining anonymous.
Years passed, Kunjali has grown up. While pirating a Portuguese ship, he inadvertently rescues a Chinese slave Chinnali and his mother, but accidentally kills his own gang member Aimutty. Kunjali puts them under the care of Aimutty’s wife Subaida. Meanwhile, the Portuguese put pressure on Samoothiri to capture Kunjali. Achuthan, Samoothri’s fleet admiral volunteers. To avenge Aimutty’s death, his brother Mayinkutty sides with Achuthan and tries to kill Kunjali during his salah, but Chinnali saves him and kills Mayinkutty.
Viceroy Francisco de Gama gives an ultimatum to Samoothiri when he declines a trading deal proposed by the King of Portugal. As Achuthan has ruled out chances of defeating Portuguese in naval warfare, Samoothiri seeks Kunjali, who is known for his maverick tactics. Kunjali agrees and Achuthan is compelled to hand over his position as fleet admiral. Kunjali sunk a fleet commanded by Noronho, whom he kills to avenge his mother’s death. Kunjali is honoured by Samoothiri and earns the approval of courtiers, except Kolathunadu‘s diplomats, who dislike him as an outlaw. Kolathunadu secretly allies with the Portuguese.
Kunjali renovates his family fortress. Meanwhile, Chinnali develops a romantic relationship with Aarcha, daughter of minister Dharmoth Panicker. Achuthan’s marriage is fixed with Aarcha. Aarcha elopes with Chinnali. Brothers Anandan and Achuthan arrive to take Aarcha back. A fight ensues between Anandan and Chinnali, when Anandan hesitates to kill Chinnali, Achuthan interrupts and kills him. Kunjali arrives late and mistook Anandan as the killer and kills him.
Samoothiri orders an enquiry into the incident. His courtiers replace him with the new Samoothiri, Nambyathiri. Nambyathiri allows the Portuguese to build churches and feitoria, Kunjali is declared outlaw and Achuthan are reinstated as admiral and agrees with da Gama and commander André Furtado de Mendonça to siege Kunjali’s fort. Kolathunadu’s commander Chandroth Panicker sides with Kunjali. In the battle, unbeknownst to Chandroth, Kolathunadu betrays Kunjali and open the gate and the fort is besieged.
Kunjali, Thangudu, and Subaida live in the hideout. Kunjali starts killing each minister by ambushing. Da Gama urges on killing ten prisoners of war every day until he surrenders. When disagreed, Nambyathiri is bludgeoned to death. Ten prisoners including Pattu are executed. Kunjali kidnaps da Gama and arranges a clandestine meeting with old Samoothiri to discuss exchanging da Gama for remaining prisoners. Subaida betrays Kunjali and leaks this to Achuthan, who ambushes the meeting and captures Kunjali.
At Velha Goa, Kunjali is tried and found guilty of all charges—piracy, murder, and treason. He rejects mercy plea admitting charges and is sentenced to death by guillotine. While he is brought to scaffold, the Goan Catholics throw rubbish at him. He is given a last chance by da Gama on behalf of King Philip II to beg for mercy to exclude him from the death penalty. Kunjali refuses and is guillotined. Kunjali is then shown joining with his mother in the otherworld.
Trailer of malayalam movie Marakkar