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How Siddique saved Thalapathy Vijay's career from a downfall

Filmmaker Siddique, who passed away due to heart attack, had played a key role in reviving Thalapathy Vijay's career from a downfall. 

How Siddique saved Thalapathy Vijay's career from a downfall
Siddique directed Vijay in Friends and Kaavalan.
  • Manoj Kumar R

Last Updated: 04.55 AM, Aug 09, 2023

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Filmmaker Siddique passed away on Tuesday at a private hospital in Kochi due to a heart attack, leaving a significant void not only in the Malayalam film industry but also in Tamil cinema.

Siddique was known for his skill to craft feel-good dramas high on comedy. He made his directorial debut in Tamil with Friends, which is the remake of his Malayalam hit of the same name. The Tamil remake had Tamil superstars Vijay and Suriya in the lead roles. The film revolves around the close bond between two childhood friends and a tragic secret. The movie was released in 2001 and became one of the biggest hits in Vijay's career. 

Friends had some of the best comedy scenes that were ever produced in Tamil cinema. And they remain beloved classics to date. In the film, Siddique fully exploited Vadivelu's impeccable comedy sense to create a series of hilarious moments. "I couldn't control my laughter during the shooting of those scenes. No matter how many takes we did, I couldn't maintain a serious demeanour. Siddique sir suggested I face the wall, not the camera when Vadivelu sir performed," Vijay had said earlier while reflecting on the experience of shooting for Friends. 


Maybe that explains why Siddique had Vijay's Aravindan burst into uncontrollable laughter when he sees Vadivelu's Nesamani accidentally covered in coal dust. This scene remains a standout comedic performance in Vijay's filmography. In the Malayalam original, it's not the protagonist Aravindan, played by Jayaram, but Sreenivasan's Chackachamparambil Joey that gets into trouble for the wild giggles. 

Friends became a landmark film in Vijay's career. After that Vijay became a 'mass' action hero, where his heroism was often marked by intense action sequences. As Vijay continued to do deeply formulaic movies, his career faced setbacks, evident in the box office and critical disappointments like Azhagiya Tamil Magan, Villu and Sura. 

And Vijay wanted a film that would give him the much-needed break to reinvent himself as an actor and a star. A couple of years before the actual project took shape, Siddique narrated the story of Kaavalan, a remake of the Malayalam hit Bodyguard. Vijay saw in Siddique a chance to revitalize his career.

"I liked the characterisation of the hero very much. It reminded me of roles I had done in films like Thulladha Manamum Thullum. My career veered in a different direction, featuring characters wielding machetes, knives, and guns. In Kaavalan, the hero character was refreshingly innocent, with the final 20 minutes being deeply moving. Siddique sir's films often follow this pattern. Most of the movie will be hilarious, and then suddenly, it tugs at your heartstrings," Vijay stated during the promotion of Kaavalan.

Kaavalan was released during the Pongal holiday of 2011 and it went on to become a huge hit at the box office, reviving Vijay's career trajectory.