*Major spoilers ahead. The movie's climax will be revealed in this copy, do not read further if you don't want to.
After weeks of debate and amidst calls to boycott the film, Dileep's Ramaleela finally released on Thursday. The 11th accused in the Malayalam actor abduction and assault case, Dileep had tried to secure bail from the court before the film's release but was denied each time.
However, the actor's fan associations celebrated the film's release in many of the major theatres in Kerala.
According to the information given by theatres in Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam districts, most theatres were houseful for all screenings thus far.
Does Ramaleela have similarities to Dileep's real life?
What's surprising though, is how closely the film's plot resembles the current events in Dileep's life. The trailer did give one a hint that this might be the case.
Many of the dialogues from the film can be applied to Dileep's real life and there are shots from the film that resemble events that occurred to the actor after he was arrested in the assault case.
In the film, Dileep's character, Ramanunni, is a politician who is contesting a bye-poll. The son of communist parents, the film begins with Ramanunni changing his political affiliations after he's expelled from the party for hitting a senior leader.
The senior communist leader is then found dead at a football stadium. The police and the media immediately zero in on Ramanunni as the killer. And that's where the uncanny similarities begin.
Many in the audience clapped and whistled for the actor's dialogues, as if they were applying them to his current situation. When Dileep as Ramanunni says, â€śIt's as if it was decided that I should be the culprit,â€ť to DySP Paulose (Mukesh), Dileep fans broke into applause.
Later when the actor says, â€śHave you seen anywhere in the history of the police, the cops bringing so much evidence within a day against the accused?", people once again whistled and cheered.
At one point in time, Ramanunni proves in front of the police, media and the public that he's "innocent". The police officer then says, "The police have to correct their mistakes by themselves". This, too, was welcomed by Dileep fans in the audience.
The lines â€śIf I have to stab someone, I would do it right in front of all without hiding anything" that Ramanunni spouts led to more celebration.
Dileep was allowed to go home to perform his father's death anniversary rituals on September 4. In the film, Ramanunni, too, performs the last rites of his father to gain some sympathy. However, in the film, this appears as a comic scene.
Should cinema be separate from the individual?
Many who'd come to watch the film were of the opinion that cinema and the actor's life as an individual should be considered separate.
â€śConsider it as art. Why should people think that it is a Dileep movie? When I got tickets, I came for the first show of the movie, I donâ€™t care who Dileep is as an individual,â€ť said Chetan, an audience member.
Another film-goer, Sharath, said, "I'm not a Dileep fan, but what is wrong in watching a good movie? As expected, it was a good movie. I also believe that the actor is innocent until he is convicted."
Actor Sadhika told TNM that the movie was a great comeback of Dileep.
â€śIt's his comeback after Lion. The rest depends on the people, I liked the movie a lot,â€ť she said.
The final twist
All said and done, Ramaleela does not really prop Dileep as an innocent man, as many said it would. And his motive? Revenge. According to the police, Dileep's motive for being the alleged mastermind behind the assault was also revenge and he stands accused of plotting the conspiracy for several years.
Did scriptwriter Sachy somehow look into the future when he penned Ramaleela? Many in the audience believe that it was the writer's sixth sense at play.