‘The Goat Life’ Ending Explained & Movie Recap: Did Najeeb Come Back Home?

Malayalam cinema has delivered two back-to-back survival dramas. Manjummel Boys was about friends coming together to save their buddy, while merely a month later, the famed National Award-winning director Blessy brings a survival drama about a man who saved himself from perishing in the middle of a desert away from civilization. Aadujeevitham, or The Goat Life, is based on the book of the same name by the author Benyamin. The story in the book is based on the real experience of a man who was stuck in a Middle Eastern country for many years.


Spoilers Ahead

Were Najeeb and Hakeem helpless at the airport?

Najeeb and his friend Hakeem reach a GCC country, whose name has not been mentioned for obvious reasons, and are excited about the job opportunity awaiting them. This was the case for many Malayalis, from poor to middle-class backgrounds, who traveled to any GCC country to find a job to financially uplift themselves and their families back home. Najeeb and Hakeem were unfamiliar with any other language other than their mother tongue, Malayalam. The duo was clueless, as they weren’t aware who would be waiting for them at the arrival gate. 


Who took them to the middle of the desert?

Najeeb and Hakeem spent the entire day at the airport, hoping to be picked up by their sponsor. Neither of them panicked when they were approached by an oddly dressed Arab who took away their passports. Since both were unaware of the local language, they trusted the old Arab and jumped into his vehicle without asking any questions. Their only request was to contact their family back home to inform them of their arrival, which was denied by the Arabs driving them to the middle of the desert. On reaching the desert, Hakeem was forcefully separated from Najeeb, who begged them to take them to the city as they were promised proper jobs and accommodation. Both men were shocked by the change of circumstances, and they could not get out of the situation because of the language barrier. Both were under the impression they were cheated by the people who collected their money for visas that would guarantee them a good job. 

Was Najeeb hoping to be helped by the uncouth Arab?

Since Najeeb and Hakeem were now in two different places, the former was clueless about the work that needed to be done at the farm he was brought to. The farm had camels and goats that needed to be herded by another man who seemed to have accustomed himself to this job for many years. Najeeb was taken aback by the state of the existing Hindi-speaking man, and this made him contemplate his life. 


Najeeb was not helped by the locals, who began to treat him like a slave and expected him to adapt to working on the farm without explaining the job. Since language was still a barrier, Najeeb was struggling, and he had hoped some help would arrive looking for him and Hakeem, but fate was not on his side. Najeeb was denied proper food and clothing but slowly got going with his life on the farm. 

Why couldn’t Najeeb get out of the situation?

Najeeb tried to get out of the situation and wanted to convey his troubles to the Hindi-speaking driver who got water to the farm. Sadly, Najeeb was always terrorized by the owner of the farm and the other local Arab, a guard with a rifle. In a matter of a few months, Najeeb had become unrecognizable, but that did not stop him from his quest to escape this farm, but he was constantly followed by the uncouth Arab, who tried to kill him several times. He was a witness to the Hindi-speaking man, who tended the animals, died at the farm. The sight of his body being devoured by vultures assured Najeeb he would not die in this place.


How did Najeeb get in touch with Hakeem?

Najeeb had now been on the farm for a few years and lost the sense of day, month, or year while taking care of the goats and the camels. He was now unrecognizable and had become meek because of the poor living conditions. At times, the animals he was taking care of could sense his pain and chose to listen to his instructions. During one of his trips with the herd, Najeeb heard someone singing a song, and there was a lot of pain in his voice. Najeeb was shocked to find it was Hakeem who was singing while at work. Najeeb had lost hope of ever meeting Hakeem, but destiny reunited them under dreadful circumstances. Najeeb could not converse, as he had almost lost his voice because of the harsh conditions he was living in. Hakeem discussed his plans to leave the farm as an African named Ibrahim Kadri offered to help them. Ibrahim was aware of the direction they’d have to head to reach the main road. This was their only chance to leave; Najeeb and Hakeem were in no mood to give up the opportunity. 

When did Najeeb get off the farm?

Najeeb was asked to leave the farm as his sponsors would be leaving for a wedding and would not be back until the next day. Najeeb was asked to make use of this buffer time to leave the farm. When the Arabs left, Najeeb took a bath for the first time in years and offered food to the animals, who were the only living beings nice to him. Hakeem and Ibrahim Kadri reached on time, and the three began their long, strenuous journey towards the road. 

What happened to the trio on the way to seek the road? 

Najeeb, Hakeem, and Ibrahim Kadri’s journey through the desert to seek the main road was not easy. They came across several hardships, and a lack of water and Najeeb losing his shoes were one of the many. The walk through the endless desert under the harsh sun had them witnessing a mirage of an oasis. Najeeb sadly developed blisters on his legs. Ibrahim Kadri covered his feet with this torn jacket to make his journey easier. All three were scavenging for water but could not find any. They witnessed several desert snakes and barely survived them. 

Did Hakeem die?

Hakeem began to hallucinate as he was losing strength because of a lack of food and water. Ibrahim Kadri and Najeeb were making sure Hakeem remained alive till they found a road that would take them to the city. Najeeb and Ibrahim Kadri tried to save him, but his body probably began to hemorrhage as blood began to ooze from his mouth, which was followed by his death. Minutes after Hakeem’s death, Ibrahim and Najeeb got stuck in a sandstorm. The heavy sandstorm submerged Hakeem’s body, and Najeeb felt guilty for leaving him behind. Since he was a witness to Hakeem’s death, Najeeb would be able to offer his family closure. 


Why did Ibrahim Kadri disappear?

Kadir and Ibrahim soon spotted an oasis that quenched their thirst for water. The water gave them some strength to move forward towards their destination. As Ibrahim filled a bottle of Coke with water and a date, their journey forward began, only for him to disappear the next day. The man left the bottle for Najeeb and disappeared. In the case of Ibrahim Kadri, his disappearance was sudden, and Najeeb did not receive any closure at that point. Najeeb finally reached the main road and was desperate for someone to help him. 

Who helped Najeeb?

A weak and dejected Najeeb sought help from vehicles passing by and hoped someone would admit him to any hospital. The audience believed reaching the main road would bring an end to his suffering, but sadly, not many were willing to help him as they were worried about the legal repercussions of helping a stranger who probably did not have any papers on him. Finally, an Arab driving a Rolls Royce decided to help him and kept praying for his wellbeing till he reached the city. The irony lay in the fact that Najeeb was forcefully taken by one local and saved by another, showing the opposite behaviors of the people from the same land. While one did not care about his well-being and did not provide a place to sleep, the rich Arab made sure he was given water and did not mind Najeeb’s dirty clothes soiling the seats of his luxury vehicle. The Arabs dropped him in the city near a mosque, which was an indication that God was with Najeeb and things would probably get better for him. 


Did Najeeb come back home?

Najeeb was finally saved by a Malayali, who probably saw his state and chose to take him into his accommodation. Many at the accommodation were appalled by Najeeb’s state, as he had lost everything that he had on him. The men who sheltered him made sure he was given proper clothes, a haircut, and food to nurse him back to health, but sadly, they had to work as per the law of the land, which favored only the locals. Even though Najeeb was slowly getting better, the trauma of the ordeal never left his body, and he was constantly afraid of things going wrong and that he would be sent back to the farm where he worked. Najeeb was allowed to speak to his wife and mother, which was a relief. His family had probably lost hope since they never heard from him, but his survival was miraculous, and he could not wait to return home.

Since Najeeb’s passport and papers were taken away, he feared jail time as per the law of the land. Najeeb was probably willing to serve some jail time if it only meant he would be sent back in a few years. Najeeb was shocked to see the picture of Ibrahim Kadri as one of the fugitives at the local police station. Ibrahim Kadri was probably aware the road was not that far, and his only duty was to help Najeeb locate it. He probably never wanted Najeeb to get into further trouble if the local authorities saw him with Ibrahim, who was deemed a criminal. 


The Goat Life ended with several sponsors made a visit to the prison and took their people back. Amongst all, the man who took Najeeb to the desert was also present, and he was hoping the Arabs would not recognize him. By some divine luck, that Arab could not take Najeeb back, as he was not the sponsor. This detail crushed Najeeb, as he’d wasted the prime years of his life working for the wrong man, who almost killed him. The moment was gone quickly, as Najeeb was now saved from years of brutality. Najeeb was showing signs of PTSD as he noticed the Arab, who pretended to be his sponsor. Najeeb was finally sent back home after a few years in prison. Everyone reaches GCC with the hope of bringing home countless gifts. For Najeeb, his being alive was a gift for himself and his family. 

Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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