Kunjali Marakkar was a famous, hit, popular and successful Malayalam television serial that aired on the leading and popular Malayalam entertainment television channel Asianet TV every weekdays from Monday through Friday from 8:00 pm onwards. The show created a buzz among the viewers and won many awards and accolades. The story and the plot of the serial Kunjali Marakkar revolves around the life events of Mohammed Kunjali Marakkar, who was the naval chief of the Samoothiri Raja Manavikraman, a Hindu king of Kozhikode (anglicized Calicut), in present day state of Kerala, India during the 16th century. He was the first of the four Kunjalis who played a part in the Raja’s naval wars with the Portuguese, who arrived in India in 1498.
The Marakkars are credited with organizing the first naval defence of the Indian coast, to be later succeeded in the 18th century by the Maratha Sarkhel Kanhoji Angre. The Portuguese initially attempted to obtain trading privileges in 1498, but soon had troubles because the pressure from the Arabs over the Raja, since they had traditionally been trading in his ports, and did not want to lose the monopoly in trading spices. The Raja resisted these attempts which resulted in the Portuguese trying to destabilize his rule by negotiating a treaty with his arch-enemy, the Kingdom of Kochi in 1503. Sensing the Portuguese superiority at sea, the Raja set about improving his navy. He appointed Kunjali to the task.
The fight between the Raja and the Portuguese continued on until the end of the 16th century, when the Portuguese convinced the Raja in 1598 that Marakkar III intended to take over his Kingdom. The Raja then joined hands with the Portuguese to defeat Marakkar III, ending in his defeat and death in 1600. Malayalam television actor Miya George essayed the lead role in this serial.