Godfather, the longest-running film and one of the finest comedies ever made in Malayalam cinema turned 32 recently. Here’s why we recommend this Siddique-Lal directorial for a revisit this weekend.
Siddique-Lal, the celebrated filmmaker duo made some of the most memorable comedy films ever produced in Malayalam film industry. Even though the list is pretty long, the 1991-released action-comedy drama Godfather, which marked the third outing of the director duo, still remains the absolute favourite for most audiences who love vintage cinema. The classic film also still remains as the longest running film in the history of Malayalam cinema, by completing 404 days at the theatres.
The multi-starrer featured a stellar star cast including Mukesh, legendary actor NN Pillai, and Kanaka in the lead roles, while veteran actress Philomina appeared as the lead antagonist. Godfather completed 32 years of its release in November 2023. However, the Siddique-Lal directorial has definitely aged like a fine wine, and still holds an extraordinary repeat value.
Here’s why Godfather aged like a fine wine, and still remains one of the most loved comedy films ever made in Malayalam cinema.
NN Pillai, the legendary theatre actor-director made a comeback to films after a long gap of over 18 years, by playing the central character Anjooran in Godfather. The veteran actor played the role of the patriarch who still mourns the death of his beloved wife Lakshmi and hates Anappara Achamma, his was responsible for it.
It is impossible to imagine another actor as Anjooran, who eventually starts hating all the women, and prohibits their entry at his residence. Well, it is contradictory to see Anjooran to be in deeply in love with his late wife, but still prohibiting his sons from getting married or falling in love. However, NN Pillai’s brilliant portrayal of the strong patriarch who hides his loving heart from everyone including his sons, made up for all those logical flaws.
Well, I often wonder why they stopped strong female antagonists in Malayalam cinema like Aanappara Achamma played by the irreplaceable Philomina. Godfather presented a grandmother, who is the antithesis of the loving ‘Muttasshi' we were familiar with. Achamma is a highly dominating, fiercely competitive, and jealous woman who has almost zero redeeming qualities. She is sassy, fierce, and unapologetically herself. Most importantly, she never shies aways from taking charge and following her mind.
In one scene, Achamma declares that she gave birth to 4 'fat' men, just because she wanted to compete with Anjooran’s wife. She even matched up with her rival when it comes to naming her sons. After Lakshmi’s tragic death, Anjooran brutally kills Achamma’s husband, but she is still not ready to accept the defeat. Well, Philomina deserved every single award of 1991 for her stellar performance in Godfather, which still has no replacement.
The stellar cast and memorable performances
Godfather, for me, still remains one of the most well-cast films in Malayalam cinema. The extraordinary camaraderie between the actors, especially Mukesh and Jagadeesh who played Ramabhadran and Mayin Kutty, and Innocent and KPAC Lalitha, who played Swaminathan and his secret wife Kochammini, is an absolute treat to watch (special mention to the iconic dialogues that are even celebrated today).
Even antagonist Philomina’s combinations scenes with leading lady Kanaka (who played Achamma’s granddaughter Malu who falls in love with Anjooran’s son Ramabhadran), Janardhanan, and others are exceptional, relatable, and just enjoyable. Shankaradi and Thilakan, the veteran actors, and the talented Siddique and Bheeman Raghu provided the much-needed emotional quotients to the film and remained the sane ones till the very end.
Yes, you guessed it right. This Siddique-Lal directorial was indeed remade into all major Indian languages including Telugu, Hindi, Kannada, Bengali, and Odia, over the years. However, if you wish to revisit the original or even if you are getting to know about this classic comedy for the first time, Godfather is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar.