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Aadujeevitham's real-life hero is now an election icon in Kerala

Aadujeevithams real-life hero is now an election icon in Kerala

Sitting MP and Alappuzha LDF candidate A M Ariff visits Najeeb Muhammad at his residence | Photo: Express

Alappuzha: As the real-life protagonist of Benyamin's novel 'Aadujeevitham', Najeeb Muhammad, was visibly moved when he saw his film counterpart in the eponymously named Blessy film.

“The film paints a more dastardly picture of my experience in the desert. I was in tears when the movie ended. Prithviraj lives his character,” an emotional Najeeb said outside Ernakulam’s Vanitha Theatre, where he saw the Thursday premiere event amidst the swarm of selfie-taking moviegoers.

The people of Najeeb's hometown of Arattupuzha, close to Haripad, where he even has a fans' association, applauded the movie's portrayal of the difficult period in his life. The association, led by L Mansoor, a panchayat member, is organising to get any ward 18 resident who is eager to see the movie transported to a theatre in Kayamkulam or Haripad, the New Indian Express reported.

This kind of attention could not be overlooked during election season. The Election Commission decided to make use of it by designating Najeeb as the icon for the Systematic Voter Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) programme. Not to be outdone, other candidates from the Alappuzha constituency made time to speak with him.

Najeeb endured severe hardships for about two years while living on a goat farm in Saudi Arabia. In the book, Benyamin recounted his experiences as a goatherd, and it became the biggest-selling book in Malayalam literature ever. Later on, Najeeb managed to get away from his Arab landlord. He arrived in Riyadh, where he was taken care of by a fellow Malayali, after wandering through the desert for days without food or drink.

Later, in August 1995, he turned himself into the police, who then made arrangements for his deportation to India. Najeeb later lived in Bahrain for twenty years. He currently resides in his hometown with his wife Sabiyath and daughter Safeena, working as a fisherman. Safeer, his son, who was employed in Oman, just got back home. The week leading up to the film's premiere was particularly difficult for Najeeb since he had to deal with the death of his grandchild, Safiyath's daughter, last week.

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TAGS:KeralaaadujeevithamNajeeb Muhammad
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