5 Siddique Essentials You Can Stream

The Malayalam filmmaker, who passed away on August 8, has many memorable comedies to his name, and it’s time to revisit some of them
Siddique Essentials
Siddique Essentials

Malayalam filmmaker Siddique passed away yesterday from long-standing health issues. The director has had an illustrious filmography and is often regarded as a key figure in the new wave of post modern Malayalam comedies. The director explored innovatively staged comedic set pieces, while never once compromising on the humane side of his characters. He taught an entire generation of film lovers to smile wholeheartedly at the ridiculousness of his characters but also to empathise with their darker moments, with similar intensity.

Let us revisit some of his most iconic films on streaming:

Ramji Rao Speaking (1989)

Where : MX Player

This film marked his directorial debut and saw him partner up with Lal, marking the start of the ‘Siddique - Lal’ directing duo. This comedy of errors features Sai Kumar, Mukesh and Innocent in the lead and is about three bachelors struggling to make ends meet running an obscure theatre group. The trio stumble across a kidnapping scheme gone wrong, leading to a hilarious comedy of confusions and mistaken identities. Akshay Kumar’s classic Hera Pheri (2000) is an authorised remake of this classic, featuring some of the most funniest line readings and physical comedy that also underlined the stark realities of poverty and unemployment back in the late 80’s. Ramji Rao Speaking was a blockbuster success that spun many remakes in various languages and is still considered a masterpiece of situational comedy.

Ramji Rao Speaking
Ramji Rao Speaking

Chronic Bachelor (2003)

Where :  Amazon Prime Video 

This is an under-discussed gem in Siddique’s filmography that often gets relegated to the back half of his best works among critical consensus. The film dealt with the trials and tribulations in the life of a brother hiding his identity from his step-sister, while acting as her secret sponsor after a tragedy.  Like all of his later work, there is a layer of deep emotional vulnerability that dominates the narrative about the bond between two siblings navigating familial chaos. The film starring Mammootty, Bhavana and Mukesh in the lead, pulls interesting tonal variations between a high-strung drama and a dysfunctional family comedy, all at once.

Friends (1999)

Where : Amazon Prime Video 

This is one of the most successful films made by Siddique as an independent director. The comedy narrates the story of a group of three friends (Jayaram, Mukesh, Sreenivasan), whose past secrets and group dynamics are challenged as one of them decides to get married. The film is a solid melodrama disguised as a funny, breezy take on friendship and what it means to hold on to the families that you create over time, outside your own. Friends also had highly successful iterations in Tamil and Telugu. 

You can stream the Tamil remake of the film (also directed by Siddique) on Disney+ Hotstar

Vadivelu and Vijay in Friends
Vadivelu and Vijay in Friends

Bodyguard (2011)

Where: Disney + Hotstar

This film is a remake of Siddique’s own Malayalam language film of the same name starring Dileep and Nayanthara. The Hindi iteration stars Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor in lead roles and tells the story of a bodyguard who falls in love with his boss's daughter (posing under a different identity). The romantic drama proved to be a great comeback vehicle for Salman Khan and assured his star power while also paying homage to his romantic side after ages. The film’s Tamil version starring Vijay and Asin titled Kaavalan (2011) was also directed by Siddique. 

Godfather (1991)

Where: Disney + Hotstar 

His third directorial collaboration with Lal, Godfather is now counted among the very best films to have come out of Malayalam cinema. The film featured Siddique regulars such as Mukesh, Jagadeesh, Siddique and Kaniha in an ensemble drama about two warring families. Godfather is considered by many to have the best constructed commercial screenplay of Malayalam’s golden period. The concept of repressed families facing their demons, a theme that can be found in Siddique’s other films too, is explored with a romance in the centre. 

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