‘Godfather of laughter’, ‘kindest soul’: Tributes pour in for director Siddique

Siddique, who passed away on August 8, had, along with his friend Lal, made some of the most memorable comedies in Malayalam cinema through the 80s and 90s.
Filmmaker Siddique
Filmmaker Siddique
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One of the first actors to pen a tribute to filmmaker Siddique after his passing on Tuesday, August 8, was the usually withdrawn Fahadh Faasil. In a rare emotional post, he said, “You will be missed forever dear Sidhikka.” He was also among those who went to pay homage to Siddique at the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium in Kochi on Wednesday. He, along with his father Fazil, a renowned director of the 1990s, held and hugged Lal, Siddique's closest friend in films, who stood by, crying. Siddque and Lal's names were at one time always spoken together, the two springing up with a new brand of comedies in the late 80s, writing and directing some of the most popular films in Malayalam. Lal appeared inconsolable by his friend's side, whose passing at the age of 60 appeared too much of a shock for those who worked with him and the numerous fans of their films.

Actors of all ages across the industry visited the indoor stadium and wrote loving tributes on their social media pages. Siddique, in the last two decades, had made quite a few films with the superstars Mammootty and Mohanlal. Both of them wrote emotionally about their friendship with him.

Mohanlal, who was in the very first film Siddique and Lal assisted in (and Fazil directed), Nokkatha Doorathu Kannumnattu, as well as the very last film that Siddique directed, Big Brother, said that he was deeply saddened by the loss of someone he considered an “elder brother” in film and life. "Siddique made us laugh a lot, brought tears to our eyes, reminded us not to lose hope and set an example through his own life to reach the heights," he said.

Mammootty wrote, "The continuing loss of dear ones, the immense pain it causes ... Even as I go through that [let me say] condolences to you my dear Siddique." Senior actors Innocent and Mamukkoya, two veteran comedians, had passed away earlier this year and Mammootty had been close to them both. He came to pay homage with his son and another star in the industry, Dulquer Salmaan. The younger star called Siddique the gentlest soul and the kindest human, a gifted writer and director whose “most incredible humour” hid behind his “soft demeanour”.

Siddique of course will be terribly missed by the more senior actors, some of whose best films came out of his and Lal's scripts. Mukesh, who starred in all three of their first huge hits – Ramji Rao Speaking, In Harihar Nagar and Godfather – said that one of the two persons who created films that brought a place for him in the hearts of Malayalis was no more. Personally too, it is an irreparable loss for him, he said.

Siddique and Lal by late theatre veteran NN Pillai in the sets of Godfather

Jayaram, who too came to films from the same mimicry troupe as Siddique and Lal, walked in with teary eyes to the Kochi stadium. "Forty years of friendship … gone too soon my friend … RIP," he said.

Nearly everyone thanked him for the laughter his and Lal’s films had brought into their lives. Manju Warrier wrote, "The moments of laughter you've gifted us will always remain. Adieu to one of my favourites!" Nivin Pauly thanked Siddique for the many good moments and movies that made generations think and laugh.

Younger actors remembered him as the legend and 'Godfather' of laughter. Rajisha Vijayan called him a sweet human and brilliant craftsman gone too soon. Basil Joseph thanked him for the “endless moments of happiness he had gifted us”. Aparna Balamurali said he will be terribly missed. Prithviraj, Parvathy, and Aju Varghese paid their condolences. Some actors shared a collage of his film posters as tribute.

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