Kunhi Mohammed makes it amply clear at the beginning of the film Veera Puthran, that his film isn't an exact replication of history, but rather a creative piece in which imagination has been blended with reality. Perhaps an anticipatory bail as this does give the film maker the liberty to adopt a stand that need not necessarily conform to the scruples of creating a historical.
Veera Puthran tells the story of renowned freedom fighter Mohammed Abdul Rahiman, and his struggle against the British empire. Rahiman (1898 - 1945) in Kunhi Mohammed's film, is shown waging a war of his own in Malabar for the freedom of his country, with the major movements of the day reconstructed as a backdrop - the KPCC Convention, Khilafat Movement and the Salt Sathyagraha, to mention just a few.
The film is based on a story by NP Mohammed, and it's a surprise that Rahman's heroism is somewhat restricted to the title. Because in the film, we get to see him more as a romantic, who was head over heels in love with his wife Kunhi Beevathu (Raima Sen). Rahiman is depicted as being devastated by her untimely demise, and is literally haunted by her memories.
Rahiman is also shown to have a great affinity towards animals, with a deer following him around like a puppy. That it's an animated one does dampen things down a bit, but the point is driven home nevertheless.
The Al-Ameen newspaper published by Rahman is depicted as having had a massive impact on the socio-political scenario of the times. There isn't exactly a conclusion in the film as to how Rahman passed away, and it's through vague suggestions that Kunhi Mohammed points at the possible reasons.
Veera Puthran's script at the end of it all, presents a very hazy sketch of Rahiman, the man, and the heroic attributes are found to have gone missing to a great extent. It's a mellowed down version of the freedom fighter's tale perhaps, and fluctuating between the personal and political lives of the great hero, the film does justice to neither.
Narein in the title role, does full justice to the character, though his voice is a bit too mellow to bring in the fire and flames associated with the spirited personality. We would perhaps never know how Rahiman himself sounded like, but we do wish while watching the film, that he was more of a strapping personality.
Ultimately Kunhi Mohammed's Veera Puthran does not satisfy either as a historical reenactment or as a fictional piece. It might have been worth the ride had it discarded the trappings of a conventional freedom fighter film, but unfortunately it doesn't.