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Devastating day for Malayalam cinema: Bidding adieu to director Siddique

Siddique-Lal was the duo that ruled the hearts of all Malayali comedy lovers. Siddique’s films, with relatable characters, set the benchmark for modern Malayalam comedy.

Devastating day for Malayalam cinema: Bidding adieu to director Siddique

Siddique-Lal was the duo that ruled the hearts of all Malayali comedy lovers. Siddique’s films, with relatable characters, set the benchmark for modern Malayalam comedy. Read on about the legacy Ismail Siddique left behind!

Siddique has been trending for quite a while in India now. That is because since Monday he has been under ECMO in a severely critical condition. The hospital authorities had expressed their anxieties over his health and were already preparing for the worst. He left for his heavenly abode late Tuesday night after almost an entire day of being the subject of prayers of almost every Malayalam cinema lover.

Reason behind the sad demise

The A-list director had been admitted to Amrita Hospital in Kochi in the last month, following certain liver ailments that had impaired his health. While undergoing certain procedures, he suffered a heart attack. As his condition deteriorated, he was put into the ICU and soon placed on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) support. Despite state-of-the-art treatment and the best medical team trying to revive him, he lost the battle and breathed his last on Tuesday night.

Siddique’s body will be kept at Kadavanthra’s Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium on Wednesday from 9 am to 11:30 am and then at his house for his fans to drop by and pay homage. His last rites will be performed at 6pm on Wednesday. The director was just 67 when he died.

Who was Siddique?

Siddique was one of the most beloved Malayalam filmmakers of his times. He started off under the tutelage of the celebrated Malayalam director Fazil. Fazil took notice of him and his friend Lal at Cochin Kalabhavan’s mimicry group. Recognising their potential, Fazil took them under his wing and trained them to become the stars they eventually became.

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Outside the Malayalam film industry, Ismail Siddique is mainly known as the director of the Salman Khan-starrer box office blockbuster Bodyguard which he helmed. He is also the director of the Tamil remake titled Kavalan, starring superstar Vijay.

Why is Siddique such a crucial part of the Malayalam film industry?

Siddique is not just a famous Malayalam filmmaker, but also an irreplaceable part of Malayalam pop culture. With his perfect comic timing and slapstick humour, this soft-hearted man is a masterclass in Malayalam culture.

Some of his well-remembered films include the immortal comedy Ramji Rao Speaking (1989), In Harihar Nagar (1990), Godfather (1991), Kabooliwala (1993), Vietnam Colony (1992) and Hitler (1996). These were all part of a collaboration with Lal, which lasted unfortunately for just 6 films, although Hitler was an acclaimed solo directorial venture.

Siddique’s last film was the action thriller Big Brother (2020), starring Honey Rose, Arbaaz Khan, Mohanlal and Anoop Menon in titular roles.

How is the Malayalam industry coping with this loss?

Several Malayalam stars have taken to their social media accounts to mourn the sad demise of the great filmmaker. Actor Dulquer Salman wrote on Instagram –

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The gentlest soul. The kindest human. A gifted writer/director. The most incredible humor hiding behind his soft demeanour. He gave us some of the most iconic films. Part of our pop culture and referred to in our everyday conversations. This is an immeasurable loss. Prayers and strength to Siddique Sirs family and loved ones. Dulquer Salman

Indrajith wrote –

Thank you for the innumerable laughs and onscreen moments. One of the gentlest souls I have ever known. You will be missed. RIP Siddique Sir! 💔 Indrajith

Empire Weekly Exclusive

Take a trip down memory lane and listen to the songs from Bodyguard to remember the cinema maestro. RIP!

Written By

Meghamala Ghosh is a post-graduate from the Department of English Literature at Presidency University, Kolkata. Her interests include films, music, books, and researching obscure historical facts in and around the City of Joy. She is particularly drawn to architectural, social, and entertainment-based journalism, although her passions also extend to academic research on political and cultural issues. In her spare time, she engages in Indian classical music and brushes up on her Shakespeare. Her aspiration is to be a writer who communicates not only through words but also through photography and performance.

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