Express News Service

KOCHI: Renowned Malayalam filmmaker, scriptwriter, and producer Siddique, who is known for several hit comedy films in the 1990s and early 2000s, passed away in Kochi on Tuesday night. 

The veteran filmmaker was 67. Siddique had been receiving treatment from Kochi Amrita Hospital since July 10 due to non-alcoholic liver cirrhosis.

Despite his ongoing treatment for the aforementioned ailments, the filmmaker suffered a heart attack on Sunday, following which his condition deteriorated. He was surviving with the support of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), and he breathed his last by around 9:10 pm.

Siddique is survived by his wife Shajida, daughters Sumaiyya, Sara, and son Sukoon.

FEFKA Chairman B Unnikrishnan and Actor Lal declared the demise of the director to the media outside the hospital in Kochi on Tuesday. (Photo | A Sanesh)

Siddique Ismail, considered one of the most celebrated Malayalam film directors of all time, gained entry into Mollywood by assisting the legendary filmmaker Fazil in his runaway hit ‘Nokkathadoorathu Kannumnattu’ (1984). Siddique also played a small role in the film. He and his friend Lal were spotted by Fazil during their performances with the Cochin Kalabhavan’s mimicry troupe, which played a big role in helping the duo gain entry into Mollywood.

At the Cochin Kalabhavan, where a group of artists performs mimicry, the combination of Siddique and actor Lal was a hit, and the duo came to be known as Siddique-Lal. The two longtime friends directed a slew of movies together, almost all of them becoming big hits at the box office. The story of another cult classic, Nadodikkattu (1987), directed by Sathyan Anthikkad and written by Sreenivasan, was provided by the duo. Lal later focused on acting and built his career as an actor, while Siddique continued to direct comedy hits.

An artiste who used to make the audience laugh through his performances on stage did not fail to make the viewers laugh through his movies in theatres. He focused on the comedy genre as he started his career as a director.

How can Malayalees forget the ‘Keri Vaada Makkale’ of Anjooran and the ‘Ithum Chaadi Kadannavan Aani K T Joseph of Joseph in Vietnam Colony, and Thomaskutty Vittoda of Mahadevan?

With continuous hits in the 1990s and early 2000s, he proved his talent in direction as well. His directorial debut, ‘Ramji Rao Speaking’ (1989), which he directed with Lal, is still an audience favourite in the comedy genre. The characters Mathai Chettan, Balakrishnan, and Gopalakrishnan won the hearts of Malayalees and continue to make us laugh.

The big commercial hit GodFather, which ran over 400 days, won him a state award for the best film with popular appeal and aesthetic value in 1991. He made blockbusters like In Harihar Nagar (1990), Vietnam Colony (1992), Kabooliwala (1993), Mannar Mathai Speaking (1995), Hitler (1996), Ayal Kadha Ezhuthukayanu (1998), Friends (1999), Chronic Bachelor (2003), Bodyguard (2010), and finally Big Brother starring Mohanlal in 2020.

The hit filmmaker later tried his hands at other languages by directing Tamil and Telugu movies. Bodyguard starring Dileep and Nayanthara was remade in Hindi. He also played guest roles in various movies, like Nokkethadhoorathu Kannum Nattu (1984), Manathe Kottaram (1995), Gulumaal (2009), Cinema Company (2012), Masterpiece (2017), and Innale Vare (2022).

Siddique’s mortal remains will be kept for the public to pay respects at the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium, Kadavanthura, from 9 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. on Wednesday, and later at his residence in Pallikkara, Kakkanad. The funeral will be held at the Ernakulam Central Juma Masjid at 6 p.m.

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