Back in Malayalam after scripting success in Bollywood, director Siddique talks about Ladies & Gentleman that releases today.

After directing Bollywood blockbuster Bodyguard with Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor in the lead, which was a top grosser, writer-director Siddique is back in Malayalam with Ladies & Gentleman, which releases today (April 12). Mohanlal stars in the lead in Ladies & Gentleman, with Meera Jasmine, Padmapriya, Mamta Mohandas, Mithra Kurian and debutant Krish J. Sathar playing key roles in the film. Siddique, along with Lal, was instrumental in popularising rollicking comedies such as Ramji Rao Speaking, In Harihar Nagar, Godfather, Vietnam Colony, Hitler, Friends and Chronic Bachelor. In an interview with FridayReview, Siddique talks about Ladies & Gentleman and more. Excerpts

What should the viewers expect from Ladies & Gentleman?

It is a positive, feel-good story that will make viewers wish that they had someone like Chandrabose (Mohanlal) in their lives as well. The character’s inherent nobility takes the story ahead. Nowadays the younger generation tends to be too ambitious and self-centred. In the new world order, many of these self-centred youngsters get carried away with success or get shattered by the first setback in their life. In contrast, the older generation was, perhaps, less selfish. They generally tackled the highs and lows in their lives with more equanimity and maturity. That difference in perspective is being shown here. This movie is quite unlike my previous films and reflects the psyche of the current times.

The tussle between the generations is there in Malayalam cinema as well…

(Smiles) At least, this film doesn’t get into all those aspects. Talking about the acceptance for new experiments in Malayalam cinema, I feel that viewers are fed up of virtuous, all-perfect heroes because of an overdose of such themes. Maybe that is why they are applauding even so-called ‘evil’ characters of late. Since both good and evil are part of our own lives, it’s not that surprising either.

Your comedies were trendsetters in the Malayalam cinema. How do you evaluate the new experiments in Malayalam films?

Each movement evolves from the needs of the times. Ramji Rao Speaking had taken a different path from the way stories were told until then. The current crop of films is visually rich with great technological support. Any new thought is welcome and such efforts have to be appreciated wholeheartedly.

Why is it that nothing sells like comedy in Malayalam?

Comedies were not much in demand here before films such as Nadodikattu happened. Lal and I were instrumental in popularising comedies to a great extent. Moreover, that trend happened in Malayalam much before the genre became a trend in other languages, including Hindi. We have always been miles ahead in handling comedy and even supporting artistes here have impeccable comic timing. That could be on account of our culture and history of appreciation of intelligent comedy, right from the times of Kunjan Nambiar.

Your last film Bodyguard had varying fortunes at the box office in Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi. Why was it so?

In Malayalam, the film was affected by bad marketing. When profit becomes the only motive in producing a movie, it affects the final product. The Tamil version Kavalan faced strong resistance due to several factors but still emerged successful. The real power of the story was revealed in the Bollywood version and it evidently translated into the huge business figures as well.

Ladies & Gentleman is being publicised as one of the costliest movies, made in Malayalam. Your comment?

I don’t know about the film’s budget. We had highly paid artistes and technicians. The making of the film didn’t incur too much cost than what was originally planned.

Future projects?

I am already committed to films in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. My next Malayalam film will come after that.