|Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea|
|Malayalam||Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham|
|Produced by||Antony Perumbavoor|
|Edited by||M. S. Aiyyappan Nair|
Lyell Evans Roeder
|181 minutes |
|Budget||₹100 crore  |
Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea (titled Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham in Malayalam, Marakkyar: Arabikkadalin Singam in Tamil) is a 2021 Indian epic historical action 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 is produced by Antony Perumbavoor's Aashirvad Cinemas. Marakkar features Mohanlal in the titlular role, alongside ensemble cast in supporting roles. In the film, Upon being terrorised by an oppressive Portugual regime, legendary naval chieftain Kunjali Marakkar IV wages an epic war against the Europeans and their allies.
The film was shot in Malayalam and partially reshot in Tamil. 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. 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 a budget of ₹100 crore, 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.
The film, originally scheduled to release on 19 March 2020, was delayed by the outbreak of COVID-19. It was then rescheduled and postponed through three more dates in March, May, and August 2021 before settling on release date by the end of the year. Meanwhile, at the 67th National Film Awards, the film won three awards—Best Feature Film, Best Special Effects, and Best Costume Design. The film released theatrically worldwide on 2 December 2021.   It received mixed reviews and failed at the box office.   The film was also shortlisted among with 35 other films for the Indian submissions for Best Feature Film category at the 94th Academy Awards. 
During the late 1500s, the empire of Portugal allies with the kingdom of Kochi in Malabar, Kerala. This is in order to colonise the region by overthrowing the powerful kingdom of Kozhikode, a long time war rival of Kochi. Portuguese military commander Alfonso de Noronho trains Kochi soldiers to use firearms and offers them cannons in exchange for trading crops and spices. However, the Malabar natives are displeased with the new Cartaz license system they've established which impedes trade with the Arabs. Kuttiyali Marakkar, an influential merchant, finds a way to trade while bypassing Portuguese customs laws, but he's sold out by his brother-in-law Moidu who is allied with Alfonso.
In the past, Kuttiyali and his sons, Kutti Poker Ali and Pattu Marakkar, were commanders of the Kozhikode navy and helped resist Portuguese rule, but they resigned and became merchants after Poker died in battle. In the present, Poker's son Muhammad Ali is newly married to Aisha, his childhood sweetheart. However she, Muhammad's mother, and Kuttiyali are all killed that night by Alfonso in a raid. Kochi's king frames it as a civil massacre and blames Muhammad and Pattu, who had survived and escaped. In retaliation, the two assassinate Moidu and manage to flee by raft, but a storm causes them to land in Ponnani, Kozhikode. There they start a new life and meet the kingdom's military commanders, the arrogant and spoiled Achuthan, and the compassionate Anandan. Muhammad speaks against Achuthan for disrespecting him, but Anandan stops them from fighting. The king's associate and right-hand warrior Mangattachan distributes supplies to the storm's victims, but the corrupt nāduvāzhi Namathu Kurup hoards them to sell in market, and his men assault Pattu for calling him out. In retaliation, Muhammad recruits a bandit named Thangudu and his crew to rob Kurup's goods and distribute them to civilians. They perform many raids against corrupt noblemen and Muhammad takes up the mantle of Kunjali Marakkar, a protector of the people but fugitive to the kingdom.
Many years later, Marakkar's gang engage in guerilla warfare against Portuguese vessels, and on one raid they meet Chiang, a Chinese slave. Chiang fights them in defense so gang member Aimutty takes Chiang's mother hostage. Marakkar is against hurting women and children so he saves her but accidentally kills Aimutty. Aimutty's brother Mayinkutty witnesses this. Chiang and his mother are rescued, leading to the former and Marakkar becoming friends, and he calls Chiang "Chinnali". Since Marakkar is a fugitive of Kozhikode, Achuthan instructs Mayinkutty to kill him for revenge, but Chinnali kills him first.
Viceroy Francisco de Gama threatens war against Kozhikode when their monarch, the Samoothiri, declines a trading deal proposed by their king. Since Achuthan, their naval commander, states that defeating them is impossible, Anandan proposes a controversial decision to recruit Marakkar, who is brought to the kingdom and recognised as Poker's son. The Samoothiri's judgement of Achuthan using Mayinkutty being dishonorable causes him to replace Achuthan with Marakkar as naval commander, leading Achuthan to jealousy. Marakkar leads the troops to battle and they use traps to sink many Portuguese ships, eventually finding Alfonso and killing him. Marakkar is praised by the court, except by the diplomats of Kolathunadu who ally with the Portuguese. The Samoothiri thanks Marakkar by renovating his family's fortress, and it grows into a village. In the meantime, Chinnali falls in love with Aarcha, the daughter of minister Dharmoth Panicker. She reciprocates, but Achuthan also has feelings for her. Their parents decide to get Aarcha married to Achuthan. Unbeknownst to them, Aarcha, who is now pregnant with Chinnali's child, runs away with him. Achuthan, out of jealousy, frames Chinnali for abducting her, causing tension. Achuthan attempts to force Aarcha to return to the kingdom, causing a fight between him, Chinnali, and Anandan. Anandan pleads to Chinnali to calm down, but Achuthan kills Chinnali and runs. Aarcha commits suicide, while Marakkar assumes Anandan is the killer after arriving late and slashes his throat.
Achuthan also beats up one of the court members to frame Marakkar for it, further painting him as a traitor. A new monarch named Nambyathiri takes the Samoothiri's place, and he decides to submit to the Portuguese rule. Thus, the Portuguese and Kozhikode work together and plot to kill Marakkar. The two armies lay siege to Marakkar's village, and despite resistance, they lose due to Kolathunadu's treachery. Marakkar continues to resist them, so De Gama proposes killing handfuls of his people (who were taken prisoner) each day. Nambyathiri is bludgeoned by De Gama for rejecting, and Pattu is one of the first to be executed. Marakkar manages to kidnap De Gama, forcing the release of his people, but he is drawn into a trap orchestrated by Achuthan and Subaida, Aimutty's wife. She regrets it when Marakkar apologises but it is too late, and De Gama's men arrest him. Marakkar is brought to Velha, Goa, and is convicted and sentenced to death by guillotine after refusing to beg for mercy. He is seen joining his mother in the otherworld.
A film based on Kunjali Marakkar was originally planned by Priyadarshan with screenwriter T. Damodaran in 1996, with Mohanlal in the title role. The idea for the film originated and was discussed in length at the sets of Mohanlal-starring Kaalapani (1996) in Kozhikode.  Due to budget constraints, it did not progress, "back then, our industry size was very limited and most producers weren't ready to invest hugely in such big ventures", said Priyadarshan.  Damodaran pitched a plot idea in 1999, but "it was inconceivable back then to make a film that was extensively set at sea", said Priyadarshan.  The project was still on their mind for years.  Priyadarshan recalled that it was difficult to shoot with one ship in Kaalapani, let alone a film with multiple ships on turbulent waters of the Arabian Sea. Years later, with the advancement of visual effects and producers willing to fund the film, Priyadarshan revisited the idea.  Meanwhile, during 2008 – 2009, director Jayaraj too planned a film on Kunjali Marakkar with Mohanlal in the title role and T. P. Rajeevan hired to write the screenplay. It was ready to begin production and when the screenplay was handed over to Mohanlal, he did not show interest. That screenplay was later bought by August Cinema from Rajeevan for making a separate project with different cast and crew. 
In 2013, Priyadarshan revealed that in addition to a Hindi film, he was working on a Malayalam period film about a Kunjali Marakkar chieftain with Mohanlal in the title role for which the research work was ongoing.   On 1 November 2017, Priyadarshan confirmed to The Times of India that he would start the project after completing a Hindi film first and the ongoing research would require at least 10 more months to complete. They wanted to look deeper into history since what was gathered until then was information already available to the public. It was undecided then on which Kunjali Marakkar would Mohanlal portray out of the four Marakkars. Priyadarshan said the story he would come up with would be a mix of fact and fiction, as the information about many of the incidents that happened during that era are unavailable.  Priyadarshan zeroed in on Kunjali Marakkar IV as the protagonist as he "has the most interesting story".  Mohanlal said that their idea was to make a patriotic film. Marakkar IV was at the forefront of resistance against the Portuguese invaders and is regarded as the first naval commander in India and was also an expert navigator. That is why they have dubbed him the "lion of the Arabian Sea". 
The movie is something that all of us can be proud of, as it's well made. It tells the story of Kunjali Marakkar, who is considered as India's first Naval Commander and we are dedicating the film to the Indian Navy. The making is a level higher than usual Malayalam films and it has made use of all the available technical facilities.— Mohanlal 
The title of the film was officially announced at a press conference held at Kochi on 28 April 2018 by Priyadarshan, Mohanlal, producer Antony Perumbavoor and co-producers Santhosh T. Kuruvilla and Roy C. J.  The budget was revealed to be ₹100 crore, making it the most expensive film made in Malayalam cinema—produced under the company Aashirvad Cinemas, with Moonshot Entertainments and Confident Group as co-producers.  Production is said to have begun on 1 November 2018 on the day of Kerala Piravi.  Priyadarshan said that it took him three years to commence filming from the day he had conceived the film. 
Priyadarshan co-wrote the screenplay with his disciple Ani Sasi. Ani himself expressed interest in collaborating with Priyadarshan when he learned that the later was working on a film about Kunjali Marakkar.  Priyadarshan also incorporating many inputs from late Damodaran from their early discussions. The first draft was completed in April 2018. It was estimated to require seven months for pre-production and eight months for post-production.  They completed the final draft by early June 2018.  The story spans the period from 1505 to 1601.  Marakkar IV was chosen as the protagonist not only because he has the most interesting story, but also they knew more about him than the other Marakkars, and he was the one who brought a lot of strategies, and "everything ended with him".  Priyadarshan said that not many reliable sources exist about Marakkar I, and facts about Marakkar II, III, and IV are a mystery, and their available accounts are conflicting with each other. The screenplay was written with a combination of facts, fiction, and folklore. He said that his characters are historical figures but they all may not be contemporaries, cinematic liberty that he has taken. 
Most of the female characters in the film are imaginary. Due to a lack of sufficient written history and reliable sources, it is difficult to know the facts about Marakkars. There were more unanswered questions and contradicting accounts and perspectives. Priyadarshan relied on commonsense and basic human behavioral patterns to fill the gaps. According to him, the screenplay contains 30 percent history and 70 percent fiction. Marakkar IV is presented as a hero of a fairy tale.  Since nothing much is known about Marakkar IV, artistic freedom was to be used to tell his story. Whatever was found about him was completely contradictory, while the Europeans portray him as a villain, the Arabs hail him as a savior. Priyadarshan took the basic structure of the story from a chapter he learned as a child in his grade three textbook and worked on that.  According to him, "Marakkar was a patriot whose loyalty to his land came above barriers of caste and religion. That is my message in my film. If Kunjali Marakkar could do it so many years ago, why do we find it so difficult to put our country ahead of caste, religion and region?".  A disclaimer is added in the opening of the film that it contains fiction. 
Mohanlal was attached to the project in the initial discussion itself in 1996. The screenplay was written with Mohanlal in mind as Priyadarshan wanted an actor with an image that fits the larger-than-life stature of Marakkar IV.  Priyadarshan said that, "heroic figures like Marakkar or Velu Thampi Dalawa had this aura about them and Lal has that", also Marakkar IV was 53 years old when he died and Mohanlal suits the age too.  The team was then on a lookout for a Chinese actor to play the role of Chinali, Marakkar IV's trusted lieutenant.  In May 2018, it was reported that Nagarjuna, Suniel Shetty, and Paresh Rawal has been cast alongside Mohanlal in ensemble roles.  Shetty was confirmed to have signed the film,  while Nagarjuna was in talks for a role.  Shetty grew his hair out for his role.  In June, Nagarjuna said he has not yet heard the script and will sign only after that.  At the end, he did not take the role.  Madhu and Prabhu were confirmed in that month, with the former cast as Kunjali Marakkar I / Kuttiyali Marakkar.  Prabhu plays a Tamil shipwright who build boats for Marakkar, such a character is mentioned in history.  Madhu opted out from the film (and other films) as part of his decision to retire from cinema industry.  Fazil took the role in his absence.  Akshay Kumar was offered a role, but declined. 
In July 2018, Durga Krishna was reported to have been cast in a pivotal role.  The team was aiming to complete the casting by the end of September 2018, including the actress for female lead role. More cast were revealed in that month. Arjun Sarja was confirmed in a principal role. Both Shetty's and Sarja's roles are based on real-life characters in a "slightly fictionalised" forms as not much about them are known from history. Renji Panicker, Nedumudi Venu and Siddique were confirmed in supporting roles.  Priyadarshan revealed that Pranav Mohanlal and Kalyani Priyadarshan will be making "special appearances" in the film, with Pranav enacting a young Marakkar IV.  They play a couple.  Kalyani said she herself asked her father for a role in the film.  Keerthy Suresh plays an important role. She learned veena as part of preparing for her character who is trained in classical music. Her character has a romantic relationship with Chinali / Chiang Juvan, played by Chinese actor Jay J. Jakkrit.  Mukesh was confirmed to be in the film. In October 2018, Pooja Kumar was in talks for a role.  Manju Warrier was cast as Subaida.  Ashok Selvan was cast in an antagonistic role, making his debut in Malayalam cinema.  Shiyas Kareem was cast as a sidekick in Marakkar IV's gang; he had 50 days shoot. 
Principal photography began on 1 December 2018 at Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad. Cinematography was handled by Tirru.  Co-writer Ani Sasi also worked as an assistant director in the film. Pranav and Kalyani shot a few scenes early that month.  A song sequence between the two was choreographed by Brinda.  Prasanna Sujit choreographed another sequence.  Mohanlal joined the sets in mid December.   Filming was wrapped by late March 2019.  Principal photography lasted 104 days.  The film was shot in Malayalam while a few scenes were reshot in Tamil.    The bulk of filming took place at Ramoji Film City itself, a five-day shoot was also held in Thiruvananthapuram.   Meeting scene between the Samoothiri and the Portuguese was shot at Adimalathura.  Kazu Neda, Sumret Muangput, and B. Thyagarajan were responsible for the action sequences. 
Priyadarshan's frequent collaborator Sabu Cyril was the film's production designer.  The story is set 500 years ago in what is now Kerala. Even though the events happened during that period are recorded in history, there are no proper documentation about the outfits, ornaments, their colour, weapons or home appliances used. Hence, some of them were made from imagination and referring available material.  Ships were not built but bought from Egypt during the period of Kunjali Marakkars. Four life-size ship replicas and a 200×200 metre tank were built at Ramoji Film City.  Installed on a one-acre space, the tank was filled with 150,000 litre of water. The film was never shot on sea, the action sequences on the high seas, the storm, and the thundering waves was completely created using visual effects. There are no paintings of Marakkar IV, and it is unknown how he became the admiral of the Samoothiri. There were hardly any pictorial references regarding the costumes or ornaments worn by the warriors and the people, for that they had to depend on their imagination and some books and paintings for reference.  Several other sets were also created for the film.  Cannons were built accurately, but swords, shields, and helmets of Samoothiri's arsenal was made by referring similar armory existed in that century, exact models could not be found. A total of 40 cannons and more than 1000 swords were made. Some swords were made from carbon fibers while others were from bamboo. Horses were used in the film because there was recorded history that Samoothiri used to import horses from Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. 
On setting the period, they also considered the temperature of that period, which was only 21 degree Celsius at peak in summer. Priyadarshan said that creating the old mast ships, war galleys of the Portuguese, and the battle sequences on sea were the bigger challenges in making the film.  For research, Priyadarshan could not locate the spot or remains of neither Marakkars' fort in Iringal, nor Samoothiri's palace, even Archaeological Survey of India did not have any clue. In the film, elephant is used as the insignia of Samoothiri's kingdom. The idea was taken from the Emblem of Kerala which is presumed to be composed of the elephant insignia of Samoothiri and shanku insignia of Trivandrum kingdom. Since Samoothiri bought the ships from Egypt by bartering spices, his ships are Arabian model.  Cyril took only ₹25 lakh as remuneration, which was far less than what he usually charge, for his love for the film.  Sujith Sudhakaran and V. Sai was in charge of the costume department.  Keerthy's wardrobes, ornaments and character looks were based on three Raja Ravi Varma paintings. Indrakshi Pattanaik was her stylist. 
M. S. Aiyappan Nair was the editor, digital intermediate was processed by Prime Focus studio. M. R. Rajakrishnan of Sync Cinema was the sound designer. Around a quarter of the film is set in sea, nonetheless, the film was never shot on sea, except for a shot of sea shore. The sea was completely created using visual effects. Priyadarshan's son Siddharth Priyadarshan worked as the film's visual effects supervisor, he hired his son to reduce the film's cost. Siddharth divided the graphics work among four personnel. The film was shot using storyboard (which is scarcely used in Indian productions) as it is helpful in creating visual effects.  In Priyadarshan's view, success of a film like Lion of the Arabian Sea depends largely on the fineness of graphics, "if you don't get your graphics right, the film will look terrible. Which we have seen often in Indian cinema".  Priyadarshan said that the most difficult thing to create in VFX is water and fire, for that they bought necessary software from Austria and Hungary.  Pune-based Anibrain, and two Chennai-based Knack Studios and Golden Star Studio were employed for the film's visual effects creation.  Post-production began in Chennai as soon as they completed filming. It was expected to last 11 months, with eight months consuming for visual effects alone.  Post-production took 14 months to complete.  The film was reportedly completed with a cost of ₹85 – 100 crore.    The film's theatrical cut runs for 181.07 minutes. It underwent censoring in India on 23 December 2019. 
The original score was composed by Rahul Raj, Ankit Suri and Lyell Evans Roeder. Suri and Roeder, composers of Alternative Fidelity, a British-American music production house were hired to compose the score for battle sequences in the film. It was also their debut in Malayalam cinema.  A few months later, Rahul Raj, who freshly graduated from Berklee College of Music was hired to independently compose and produce the rest of the score.  Raj was chosen by Priyadarshan after being impressed watching a video of him conducting a 52-piece London orchestra as part of his thesis in Berklee.  While scoring, Raj avoided giving a regional touch to the music which would have been easier for a film set in Malabar, as Priyadarshan was clear that he was making a film which caters for a global audience and it should resonate in its music too.  Deviating from his usual norm, Priyadarshan who is known for giving references and definitive instructions to his composers, gave full creative freedom to Rahul Raj for scoring. His only instruction was to imagine as if he is working for a Hollywood epic and compose with that on mind. Raj wanted a soundscape that could bring an epic feel as in films produced during the golden age of Hollywood.  He mentioned Ben-Hur and The Ten Commandments as examples.  Beside composing, Rahul Raj also performed programming and production entirely by himself as opposed to have additional programmers in many regular film scores. The Chennai Strings Orchestra played string pieces for some of the significant portions. 
The original songs in Malayalam were composed by Ronnie Raphael. In the initial stage, Priyadarshan planned only fours songs in the film, with one being instrumental. His plan was to experiment by diving three songs to three composers. However, all songs were finally given to Raphael.  Raphael had composed music for Priyadarshan's Hindi film Anamika in the Forbidden Love series, after which he was offered the position in Lion of the Arabian Sea too. He composed five songs for the film.  Recording began as early as November 2018 when filming had not begun.  The songs were sung by K. S. Chithra, M. G. Sreekumar, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Shweta Mohan, Shreya Ghoshal and Zia Ul Haq, with lyrics by Prabha Varma, B. K. Harinarayanan, Shafi Kollam, and Priyadarshan. Saina Music acquired the music rights in February 2020 for an all time record sum in Malayalam cinema. 
The first single "Kunju Kunjali", sung by K. S. Chithra was released in all languages on 10 February 2021.  A flute cover of "Kunju Kunjali" by Josy Alappuzha, who also played flute in the original track, was released on 22 February 2021.  It was released on digital music platforms on 3 March 2021 as a track in the album. A teaser of second track "Kannil Ente" was released on 24 March 2021,  and the full song was released in all languages on 31 March 2021. The third track "Chembinte Chelulla", sung by Vishnu Raj was released in all languages on 21 May 2021, marking Mohanlal's birthday.  On 10 November 2021, the theme of "Marakkar" composed by Rahul Raj, was launched through streaming platforms and also on YouTube. 
On 22 September 2019, The first teaser trailer of the film was exclusively screened at Aashirvadathode Lalettan, an event held at Gokulam Park, Kochi, organised by Aashirvad Cinemas.  The first trailer released in March 2020 was edited by Alphonse Putharen.  In November 2021, a promotional event was conducted on the luxury cruise ship Nefertiti Cruise, organised in association with Jain International School of Creative Arts. 
The film was originally scheduled to be released on 19 March 2020, as announced in October 2019.  It was then moved to 26 March by January 2020.  However, it was further postponed without a release date after the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.  Priyadarshan said that the postponement was at the behest of exhibitors in the Gulf, particularly those across Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as the box office collection from these countries are crucial to the film's success.  In February 2021, Mohanlal told to Variety that it is a global film with an international release, so they are waiting for the COVID-19 situation to normalise, "when everything settles and people are back to the theaters, only then can we release".  The film was then rescheduled and postponed again three times in 2021: 26 March, 13 May, and 12 August. 
Fans show tickets for more than 100 shows were already sold out when it postponed release in March 2020.  There was a surge in COVID-19 cases in India when it was about to release in May 2021 coinciding with Eid al-Fitr.  The film could not release in the Onam holidays aimed August 2021 date as the test positivity rate (TPR) in Kerala was the highest in India at that time and theatres remained closed per government order.  Theatres were later allowed to run with half its seating capacity.  On 6 November 2021, producer Antony Perumbavoor said that they are cancelling theatrical release and the film will have a direct-to-OTT premiere through Amazon Prime Video.  Reportedly, they made a ₹90 crore deal with Prime Video for a direct-to-OTT premiere.  In early November 2021, a preview show was held for Mohanlal, his wife Suchitra Mohanlal, and producer Antony in Chennai, the theatrical experience from the show changed their decision to opt for a theatrical release.  On 11 November, Saji Cheriyan, minister of Kerala State Film Development Corporation announced that the film will be releasing on 2 December 2021 in theatres, which was decided after a meeting with the makers.  The government also waived entertainment tax for all films releasing in Kerala until 31 December.  The makers renegotiated and relaxed the deal with Prime Video to allow for a theatrical debut prior to OTT.  The film's release date coincide with the National Day holiday of the United Arab Emirates, where it premieres a day early, on 1 December 2021.  
The film was reported to be releasing in more than 5000 theatres worldwide in March 2020,  and in more than 50 countries worldwide, which would make it the largest release for a Malayalam film up until then.  Besides the original Malayalam and Tamil versions, the film also has dubbed versions in Hindi, Telugu, and Kannada. Priyadarshan said that they also plans to dub the film in Arabic.  In 2019, they made a deal to release the film in China, dubbed in Chinese, and signed a co-production and distribution agreement with a Chinese company.  Kalaipuli S. Thanu of V. Creations bought the distribution right for the film's Tamil version.  The Telugu version is distributed by Suresh Productions.  The film is releasing in 4100 screens worldwide in five languages, with 16,000 shows on the opening days. Out of the 631 screens in Kerala, 626 screens is playing Lion of the Arabian Sea. 
Marakkar was released on December 17 through Amazon Prime Video in Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi. 
The movie received mixed reviews from critics and audience. In his review for The Hindu , S. R. Praveen wrote, "Kunjali Marakkar certainly deserved a much better tribute. In the end, it is not about the crores that you spend, but about how well you manage to engage and move the audience."  The Times of India rated the film 2.5 on a scale of 5 and wrote that the film is "a historical hero's story that isn't rousing."  Malayala Manorama praised the visuals, cinematography and production design. They wrote, "Marakkar is undoubtedly the biggest film by the Priyadarshan-Mohanlal combo, but not the best by the two."  The Indian Express wrote, "Priyadarshan tells an age-old story without wearing down the viewers, though after a point, you may feel the movie is reluctant to show its inevitable climax. Otherwise, the movie makes for an engaging watch."  The News Minute rated the movie 3 out of 5 and wrote that the film is "visually stunning" but "badly written."  The New Indian Express wrote that the film "is yet another testament to Priyadarshan's remarkable ability to paint in broad strokes, but it falters when it comes to the emotional stakes."  Anna M. M. Vetticad of Firstpost gave the film 1.5 out of 5 writing "Mohanlal-led war drama is remarkably unremarkable."  Hindustan Times wrote that the film is "ambitious but underwhelming."  Rating the film 2 out of 5, Deccan Herald also wrote that the film is an "underwhelming experience."  The Quint gave the film a rating of 2.5 out of 5 and wrote that the film "is an epic disappointment."  International Business Times commented that "Marakkar is one such movie that is technically brilliant, but it lacked that powerful script and screenplay." 
|2020||50th Kerala State Film Awards||Best Dubbing Artist||Vineeth||Won|||
|Best Choreography||Brinda, Prasanna Sujit||Won|
|Special Jury Award (Visual Effects)||Siddharth Priyadarshan||Won|
|2021||67th National Film Awards||Best Feature Film||Priyadarshan, Antony Perumbavoor||Won|||
|Best Costume Design||Sujith Sudhakaran, V. Sai||Won|
|Best Special Effects||Siddharth Priyadarshan||Won|
Mohanlal Viswanathan, known mononymously as Mohanlal, is an Indian actor, film producer, playback singer, film distributor, and director who predominantly works in Malayalam cinema besides also having sporadically appeared in Tamil, Hindi, Telugu and Kannada-language films. Mohanlal has a prolific career spanning over four decades, during which he has acted in more than 400 films. Mohanlal's contributions to the Malayalam cinema have been praised by his contemporaries in the Indian film industry. The Government of India honoured him with Padma Shri in 2001, and Padma Bhushan in 2019, India's fourth and third highest civilian honours, for his contributions to Indian cinema. In 2009, he became the first actor in India to be awarded the honorary rank of lieutenant colonel in the Territorial Army. Mohanlal was named as one of "the men who changed the face of the Indian Cinema" by CNN-News18.
Priyadarshan is an Indian film director and screenwriter who predominantly works in Malayalam and Hindi cinema. He was one of the first directors in India to introduce rich color grading, clear sound and quality dubbing through his early Malayalam films.
Kunjali Marakkar was the title inherited by the Admiral of the fleet of the Samoothiri / Zamorin, the king of Kozhikode / Calicut, in present-day Kerala, India. There were four Marakkars whose war tactics defended against the Portuguese invasion from 1520 to 1600. The Kunjali Marakkars are credited with organizing the first naval defense of the Indian coast.
Malabar Gopalan Sreekumar, better known as M.G. Sreekumar is an Indian playback singer, composer, music producer, television presenter and film producer, who works predominantly in Malayalam cinema. He has sung more than 2000 songs in various Indian languages including Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, and Sanskrit. He owns a music company named KMG Musics and the Saregama School of Music in Thiruvananthapuram. Sreekumar has won several awards, including two National Film Awards, three Kerala State Film Awards and 5 Filmfare Awards South. He was also honoured with the Harivarasanam Award by the Government of Kerala in 2016. His career as a singer spans over 44 years.
Irruppam Veedu Sasidaran was an Indian film director who made over 110 films predominantly in Malayalam, in addition to Tamil and Hindi languages. In 2015, he was awarded the J. C. Daniel Award, the highest award in Malayalam cinema. Often described as a pathbreaker, Sasi made his mark during Malayalam cinema’s transformative period from the 1970s to 1990s.
Vineeth Radhakrishnan is an Indian actor, classical dancer, voice artist and choreographer who primarily works in Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu language films. He has also starred in a few Kannada and Bollywood films. He has won several awards including 2 Kerala State Film Awards, Kalaimamani from Government of Tamil Nadu and Filmfare Award South.
Pranav Mohanlal is an Indian actor who works in Malayalam films.
Aashirvad Cinemas is an Indian film production company based in Kochi, Kerala. It was established in 2000 by Antony Perumbavoor, since then, it has produced over 30 Malayalam films, starring Mohanlal. Since 2009, the company co-operates with the distribution company Maxlab Cinemas and Entertainments co-founded by Mohanlal and Antony Perumbavoor for distributing films. It is one among the most active and leading production houses in the Malayalam film industry.
Komal Sharma is an Indian actress, model, National Squash Player. She won the title Miss Metropolis 2011. She won the best actor award from American Film Festival 2018. She Acted with Mohanlal in Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea.
Kunjali Marakkar is a 1967 Indian Malayalam-language historical film directed by S. S. Rajan, written by K. Padmanabhan Nair and produced by T. K. Pareekutty. It stars Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair, Prem Nazir, Sukumari, P. K. Saraswathi and P. K. Sathyapal. The film has a musical score by B. A. Chidambaranath. The film won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam.
Gimi George, better known by her stage name Miya George, or more commonly Miya, is an Indian actress and model who predominantly works in Malayalam films, along with a few Tamil films. She started her career as an actress by playing supporting roles in television shows.
Ashok Selvan is an Indian actor who works predominantly in Tamil cinema. He made his breakthrough playing one of the lead roles in Soodhu Kavvum (2013), before gaining critical acclaim for his performances in C. V. Kumar's productions Pizza II: Villa (2013) and Thegidi (2014). His recent blockbuster is Oh My Kadavule (2020) and Manmadha Leelai (2022).
Keerthy Suresh is an Indian actress who appears predominantly in Tamil and Telugu films, in addition to a few Malayalam films. She won the National Film Award for Best Actress for portraying actress Savitri in the Telugu film Mahanati (2018). She has received three SIIMA Awards and a Filmfare Award South. Keerthy was placed in Forbes India's 30 Under 30 list of 2021.
Priyadarshan is an Indian film director, producer, and screenwriter. Priyadarsan movies are mostly known for their comedy but he did an artistically historical epic film about freedom fighters in India known as Kaalapani and his epic period drama is Kancheevaram. In a career spanning almost three decades, Priyadarshan has directed over 90 films in several Indian languages, predominantly Malayalam and Hindi, besides six in Tamil, and two in Telugu. Though he began his career in Malayalam cinema in 1984, Priyadarshan was active mainly in Hindi cinema for 2001–2010. In 2013, he announced Rangrezz would be his last Hindi film for a while; and he is shifting focus to Malayalam Cinema.
Oppam (transl. Along) is a 2016 Indian Malayalam-language crime thriller film written and directed by Priyadarshan from a story by Govind Vijayan. It was produced by Antony Perumbavoor for Aashirvad Cinemas and starred Mohanlal and Samuthirakani. The film contains songs composed by the group 4 Musics, and the score was composed by Ron Ethan Yohann. N. K. Ekambaram was the cinematographer.
Hareesh Peradi is an Indian actor who predominantly acts in Malayalam and Tamil films.
Kalyani Priyadarshan is an Indian actress who primarily appears in Malayalam, Telugu and Tamil- language films. She began her film career as an assistant production designer, and made her acting debut in the Telugu film Hello (2017), for which she won the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut – South and the SIIMA Award for Best Female Debut – Telugu.
Thuramukham (transl. Harbour) is a 2023 Indian Malayalam-language historical drama film directed by Rajeev Ravi and written by Gopan Chidambaran. It is based on the play of the same name by his father K. M. Chidambaran. The film stars Nivin Pauly, Indrajith Sukumaran, Joju George, Arjun Ashokan, Sudev Nair, Manikandan R. Achari, Senthil Krishna, Nimisha Sajayan, Poornima Indrajith and Darshana Rajendran in prominent roles. In the film, the harbor workers protest against the Chappa labor allocation system practiced during the 1940s and 50s in Cochin district of Kerala.
Jitin Puthenchery is an Indian film actor and assistant director who work predominantly in the Malayalam film industry. He is the son of popular Malayalam lyricist and poet Girish Puthenchery.
Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea is the soundtrack to the 2021 Indian period drama action film of the same name directed by Priyadarshan. The film features five songs composed by Ronnie Raphael, whilst the original score is composed by Rahul Raj, Ankit Suri and Lyell Evans Roeder. The album features lyrics written by Prabha Varma, B. K. Harinarayanan, Shafi Kollam for the Malayalam version, and Priyadarshan, R. P. Bala, Samji for the Tamil version, whereas the lyricists for the dubbed versions are: Vennelakanti (Telugu), Aniruddha Sastry, Vybhav M (Kannada), Nawab Arzoo and Ishtiaq Feroz (Hindi). The album released through Saina Music on 1 August 2021.