Thursday, May 8, 2008

Keeping up the good work

Keeping up the good work

Dileep plays the lead in the forthcoming Malayalam film Bodyguard directed by hit filmmaker Siddique, writes KK Moidu

Director-writer Siddique of the famous duo Siddique-Lal has never tasted failure in his career. His movies always have the right ingredients of comedy, sentiments, romance and suspense. Now, for the first time, Siddique will feature Dileep as a hero in his new film Bodyguard. The family-based thriller is a hilarious entertainer. Dileep plays the role of a bodyguard in the film produced by Johnny Sagarika. Ouseppachan tunes for the lyrics of Kaithapram Damodaran Namboothiri.
Siddique, who has always been successful, is back directing Malayalam movies after five years. His last Malayalam movie, Chronic Bachelor, was released in 2003. The Mammootty-starrer was not only a success at the box office, but it also boosted the Mammootty's career whose previous films like Dubai and Phantom were flops.
The director duo Siddique-Lal created some of the most memorable films in the Malayalam film industry. Both of them were mimicry artistes in Cochin Kalabhavan and director Fazil spotted them in a stage show. They started their film career as assistants to Fazil.
Siddique-Lal duo made their directorial debut with Ramji Rao Speaking in 1989. The blockbuster film was a different treat for the audience. The film was not only directed by debutante Siddique-Lal, the hero of the film Sai Kumar and the heroine Rekha were also newcomers. Sai Kumar played a full-length comedy sentimental hero's role in the film. He later played hero and second hero roles in many films and presently he is the strong presence in the industry in serious and villain roles. Heroine Rekha also played female leads in many films. Her pairing opposite superstar Mohanlal in Aye Auto was a super success at the box office. Vijayaraghavan excelled in the gangster role as Ramji Rao in the film and that earned him many offers for venomous villain roles.
After the success of Ramji Rao Speaking, the duo created some of the all time favourite hits in Malayalam. Before their separation, they directed four films In Harihar Nagar, God Father, Vietnam Colony and Kabooliwala and all of them were commercial hits, noticed for the freshness of the comedy and presentation.
The second film In Harihar Nagar was released in 1990 featuring Geetha Vijayan in her debut film. The famous line of the film 'Thomassukutty Vittodaa' was a whisper in the Kerala society. Although the four heroes of the film Mukesh, actor Siddique, Jagadish and Ashokhan has done full justice to their roles, Jagadish with his protruding eyes became the most popular with the audience. His character Appukkuttan was unique and his famous dialogue in the film was an unavoidable dish on mimicry stages.
Jagadish again won appreciation as Maayinkutty, the friend of hero Mukesh in the superhit Godfather. Legendary dramatist NN Pillai played an important role as Anjooran in the film, which tells the rival story of two families; Aanappara Achamma and Anjooran Muthalali. Tamil heroine Kanaka made her Malayalam debut as a heroine in Godfather. The film was one of the biggest hits and the longest running Malayalam film, it ran continuously for more than 400 days in a theatre in Thiruvananthapuram. The success of the film made her a favourite in the industry and she was lucky enough to play the heroine roles of superstars Mammootty and Mohanlal.
After making three films with second line heroes, frontliner Mohanlal played the male lead in their next venture Vietnam Colony. Innocent, who played important roles in their earlier films Ramji Rao Speaking and Godfather played a key role in the film as KK Joseph, an assistant of Mohanlal. His witty mannerisms and dialogue delivery created ripples of laughter in movie halls. His roles in Siddique-Lal films made him more popular among the audience.
Although Innocent is one of the most successful comedy actors in the industry, he played an entirely different lead role as Kannaas in Kabooliwala, the last film directed by Siddique-Lal as a duo. Another leading comedian of the industry, Jagathy Sreekumar, was the other lead in the film as Kadalaas. Both of them make their living by collecting and selling rubbish.
Siddique and Lal proved to the industry that the good crafting of a story can achieve success at the box office without the presence of superstars. Although the duo started their career as assistant directors under Fazil, comedy was the genre of their films. After their split, Siddique continued his career as a director whereas Lal turned his attention to acting and production.
Both of them achieved success in different ways after their separation. The Siddique-directed Mammootty-starrer Hitler was produced by Lal. However, Lal never returned to film direction after their separation. But Lal's brilliant performance in different roles has made him a favourite actor. He also established his own production company Lal Creations and produced many hits like Thenkasipattanam, Chathikkatha Chanthu, Thommanum Makkalum, Chanthupottu etc.
Friends, Siddique's second venture after their split, was produced by Lal and Ouseppachan. The film was a roaring success at the box office. In his career of more than two decades, Siddique has independently directed only three Malayalam films Hitler, Friends and Chronic Bachelor and in partnership with Lal has directed five films. But the unimaginable success of the films made him the most successful director in the industry.
According to reports, Siddique will make his Bollywood entry by directing a film for Good Night Mohan. As per his records, success will not be difficult for him in any language. His Tamil films Friends and Engal Anna were super hits at the box office. His recently released Sadhu Miranda starring Prasanna and Malayalam heroine Kavya Madhavan also won rave reviews. The comedy action thriller was crucial for the hero Prasanna. Siddique's script with unexpected twists and turns has plenty of comedy sequences.
From the beginning of his career, Siddique never gave Malayalam titles for his films. His latest film Bodyguard with Dileep in the lead is also not an exception.
Superstar Dileep has failed to deliver any hits recently and pins his hopes on the perfect commercial film directed by Siddique. Calcutta News and Mulla made by success-guaranteed directors Blessy and Lal Jose didn’t perform well at the box office. Although his recently released films were not hits, his hands are now full with offers from reputed directors like Santhosh Sivan, Roshan Andrews and Shafi.
Dileep started his career as a mimicry artiste and joined films as an assistant to director Kamal. He did small roles initially and the superhit Sallapam helped his career. After playing comedy hero roles in films like Punjabi House, Parakkum Thalika etc. he became popular. He was granted superstar status after the success of Joker and Meesa Madhavan. He also tasted success as a hero by playing a variety of roles as a hunchback Kunhan in Kunjikoonan and Radhakrishnan, a man with feminine features in Chanthupottu.
Dileep also tried his luck in a couple of action films and a few like Runway and Lion were a success. However, his first appearance in the Sathyan Anthikkad film Vinodhayathra opposite Meera Jasmine brought him back to serious comedy roles. The film was one of the biggest hits of the year.
Dileep is presently busy with the production of the new film Twenty Twenty by AMMA, for which he is the executive producer. The film will release in 118 centres and will be presented by Dileep's home production company Grand Productions. Twenty Twenty, directed by Joshi, is scripted by Sibi K Thomas and Udayakrishan and the film has in its cast almost all the prominent stars of the industry.
Siddique, a veteran in making quality comedy films and Dileep a household name in comedy come together in Bodyguard. Their joint venture will have few chances for box office failure. Will Siddique maintain his reputation of never delivering flops and will Dileep be a hot favourite at the box office once again?

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