Over and over, I’ve had the 2015 Malayalam film Ennu Ninte Moideen (Yours Truly Moideen) recommended to me. It’s an incredible love story starring PrithViraj and Parvarthy. And it is so incredible because it is a real life story of Moideen and Kanchanamala.
In 2006, director R.S. Vimal interviewed the real Kanchanamala and people who knew Moideen in the half hour long documentary Jalam Kond Murivetaval (or) One Who Was Wounded By Water
Kanchanamal wanted Prithviraj to play Moideen because she thought looked very much like him.
Ennu Ninte Moideen is the tragic love story of an interfaith couple who were kept separate by their families for years. Moideen and Kanchanamala’s fathers were friends and each were land owners in Mukkam, Kerala. Moideen’s father was a renowned Muslim leader, and Kanchanamala’s family were Hindu. Kanchanamala and Moideen went to school together as children, but later Kanchanamala went away from her home to attend college.
As she was returning to college from a school vacation, the family car broke down and she was allowed to take the bus back to the college town (something she was normally not allowed to do). On that bus, Moideen and Kanchanamala’s eyes met, and they fell in love. It’s an adorable scene in the film. Moideen sends a book of poetry to Kanchanamala and then they exchange secret letters.
She steals away from the college, and there is a beautiful love song in the rain.
In their courtship, Moideen and Kanchanamala never even touch once. When their families learn of their romance Moideen’s father throws him out of the house when he won’t go along with an arranged marriage. Kanchanamala’s brothers and uncles react even more cruelly, and lock her up in the house. She’s barely allowed to even leave her bedroom.
They sneak letters to each other, and even come up with their own private language to communicate with each other.
Moideen becomes a political activist, in opposition to his father’s politics. He uses the campaign speaker car to speak his love to Kanchanamala. Moideen’s father attacks him with a sword in the heat of an argument over Kanchanamala, and Kanchanamala’s relatives beat her to try to break her bond with Moideen.
The decades long devotion of Moideen and Kanchanamala would seem impossible to believe and like a fairy tale if it were not based on a real life story.
Finally, they decide to emigrate to America, but then a tragic accident happens. I thought the director had hyped up what happened for dramatic effect, but the documentary showed the newspaper clippings!
Moideen’s mother has left Moideen’s rigid father in disgust after the sword attack, and she takes Kanchanamala into her home as Moideen’s widow.
Ennu Ninte Moideen is an extraordinary love story. Tragic and very sad in the end, but still inspiring. The acting is wondrous both from Prithviraj and Parvarthy. Luminous soundtrack as well.
The real Kanchanamala criticized the director for changing parts of the story, but for a biopic, I think he was maybe almost too slavish to the true events and could have tightened up the narrative a bit. Still, a magical romantic film about love that transcends religious and cultural barriers.
Four stars out of five.