Art & Entertainment

'Aadujeevitham': Here's The Real Life Story Of Najeeb - The Man Who Inspired Prithviraj Sukumaran's Upcoming Film

'Aadujeevitham' is set to release in cinemas on March 29. Here's all that you need to know about the story of Najeeb Muhammad on whom the film is based upon.

Prithviraj Sukumaran in 'Aadujeevitham', Najeeb Muhammad Photo: X

One of the most anticipated Malayalam releases of the year is set to hit the cinemas tomorrow. Helmed by Blessy, ‘Aadujeevitham’ is finally here after it was in production for over a decade. The film stars Prithviraj Sukumaran in the lead role. It is based on a book which was written by Benyamin. Benyamin’s Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award-winning book was, in fact, based on the real story of a man – Najeeb Muhammad.

Ahead of the release of the film, let’s take a look at how Najeeb Muhammad’s life took a turn and how it led him to his precarious situation in the Middle East.

Who is Najeeb Muhammad?

In 1993, Najeeb, a labourer from Aarattupuzha village in Haripad, Alappuzha, found himself struggling to find a job. His woes were amplified because his wife was pregnant. With his wife heavily pregnant, he sought a brighter future and pinned his hopes on a job offer from a Saudi Arabian supermarket. Departing for Jeddah, Najeeb began his journey. He left his family behind in order to secure a better future.

What happened to Najeeb Muhammad in the Middle East?

Najeeb's aspirations for a better life took a turn when he arrived in Saudi Arabia. He was deceived and was taken to a barren village instead of the job at the supermarket that was promised to him. He found himself stranded amidst endless dunes and herds of goats. His employer exploited him, and he received no compensation for his labour. He was isolated and constantly monitored in the desert as he took care of 700 goats.

A report by The News Minute quoted Najeeb saying, “He had no remorse even when he saw me crying and would beat me. I had to eat stale kuboos.  I would use goat's milk to wet the kuboos and eat it. The goats were not bathed, and the stench would be there in the milk as well. But I had nothing else to eat, the kuboos were too dry to eat without the milk.”

He was living in the middle of the desert with the goats. He recalled, “The stench was nauseating but after a while, I got accustomed to it. My hair had also grown as I was not allowed to trim or shave it. There was nothing in the desert or the shed that was in the middle of it, and I was not allowed to see whatever the boss owned.”

How did Najeeb Muhammad escape from the cruel situation?

In 1995, his employer and his brother had left for a wedding. Najeeb was looking for a situation like this which he could use to his advantage. He seized the opportunity and ran. He travelled for miles under the sun. On his journey, he met an Arab man who helped him arrive at Jeddah. Although he was jailed for a brief period when he was escaping his inhumane condition. Ultimately, the government intervened, and he was deported to Kerala.