His Highness Abdullah
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His Highness Abdullah is a 1990 Indian Malayalam-language musical thriller drama film written by A. K. Lohithadas and directed by Sibi Malayil. It stars Mohanlal, Nedumudi Venu, Gautami, Sreenivasan, Thikkurissy Sukumaran Nair and Mamukkoya. The film was produced by Mohanlal and was the debut production of his company Pranavam Arts. The film features original songs composed by Raveendran and a background score by Mohan Sithara. His Highness Abdullah was the same team's first film in a trilogy of Indian classical arts films, followed by Bharatham (1991) and Kamaladalam (1992).
|His Highness Abdullah|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Sibi Malayil|
|Written by||A. K. Lohithadas|
|Edited by||L. Bhoominathan|
|Distributed by||Seven Arts Release|
The story follows Abdullah (Mohanlal), a low-life Muslim Qawwali singer in Bombay, who is hired by the members of a wealthy royal Hindu family to assassinate their family head, Maharaja Udayavarma (Venu). Abdullah infiltrate the palace under the disguise of a Brahmin classical singer, Ananthan Namboothiri, and tries to assassinate the Maharaja by gaining his confidence.
His Highness Abdullah was released on 30 March 1990. It performed well at the box office, becoming the highest-grossing Malayalam film of the year. The film's soundtrack was also well received. The film won two National Film Awards—Best Supporting Actor for Venu and Best Male Playback Singer for M. G. Sreekumar for the song "Naadaroopini". Raveendran won the Filmfare Award for Best Music Director – Malayalam.
The 1996 Tamil movie Mettukudi was based on this movie. The 2009 Tamil movie Aadhavan and its 2016 Bangladeshi remake titled Shikari were reported to be based on this movie. The core plot of the 2015 Kannada movie Raja Rajendra was reported to be based on this movie.
Ravi Varma, his father Prabhakara Varma, Rajaraja Varma, and his father Kesava Pillai, seek methods to kill King Udaya Varma Thampuran to usurp his wealth. Udaya Varma's wife Bhagirathi Thampuratti has fallen into depression after the untimely death of their son Unni. She is locked up at home and looked after by Udaya Varma's daughter Radha. Ravi Varma and the group fear that Udaya Varma might will his wealth to Radha, being his adopted daughter, who is believed to be born of an illicit relationship of Thampuran's maid with another servant. The group is helped by Cheriyachan Thampuran, the blind uncle of Thampuran, who also eyes King's wealth. He advises the group on the plans to eliminate the King upon condition of sharing the wealth with him.
As per his advice, Ravi Varma, the King's eldest nephew, travels to Mumbai in search of a killer. There he meets Jamal who helps him. He introduces Ravi Varma to Abdullah, who is a singer in Bombay. Abdullah is in need of money and upon persuasion from Jamal, comes to Kerala planning to kill Thampuran. Abdullah disguises himself as Ananthan Namboothiri and meets Thampuran stating that he is Ravi Varma's friend who wants to study the palace. Thampuran does not like this, however he allows him to stay a couple of days at the palace. Bhagirathi Thampuratti thinks Ananthan is Unni and shows stages of recovery from mental disorder with his presence.
Once, the day Thampuran asks Ananthan to leave arrives, he sings the famous "Pramadhavanam" song, which impresses Thampuran and he starts liking him. Radha falls in love with him. Ananthan is even permitted to dine with Thampuran after having developed a strong relationship with him. Gupthan, the King's younger nephew, on finding that Radha is in love with Ananthan, misleads Ramanattukara Ananthan Namboodirippad, a famous musician, telling him that Ananthan has portrayed him as a good for nothing fellow. Enraged by hearing this, Namboodirippad travels to the palace and competes with Ananthan, singing the famous "Devasabhathalam", after which he understands that Gupthan mislead him and is highly impressed with Ananthan.
Ravi Varma and group wants Thampuran to be killed immediately. Ananthan one day realises that Thampuran is an old friend of his father. Thampuran also tells Ananthan that Radha was brought up by him as his daughter after the demise of Unni. Thampuran also requests Ananthan to marry her. Ananthan, unable to kill Thampuran pleads to the group that he cannot kill him. The group gets angry and Ravi Varma travels to Bombay to find another killer. He comes back with Kabir, a goon from Bombay to kill Thampuran. Thampuran identifies that Ananthan is a Muslim named Abdullah when he accidentally sees Ananthan and Jamal performing daily Namaz.
Ananthan tells Thampuran that he is surrounded by enemies from his own family and he can save him. But Thampuran refuses. Next morning, Thampuran is found to have disappeared. Kabir and his other goons/henchmen try to find Thampuran and indulge in a fight with Ananthan. Ananthan overpowers him and the group and they all, along with all the greedy relatives run away from the palace. After the fight is over, Ananthan releases Thampuran, whom he had locked up in a room in order to save him from Kabir. Thampuran shockingly realises that Ananthan is his friend's son and feels sorry for having disbelieved him. He requests Ananthan to stay in the palace as Unni and marry Radha. He names Radha as the successor to all his wealth. Ananthan accepts the request from Thampuran.
- Mohanlal as Abdullah / Ananthan Namboothiri, a Muslim Singer in Bombay
- Gautami as Radhika
- Nedumudi Venu as Maharaja Udaya Varma
- Sreenivasan as Ravi Varma
- Mamukkoya as Jamal / Sankunni Nair
- Kaithapram Damodaran Namboothiri as Ramanattukkara Ananthan Namboothiri
- Kaviyoor Ponnamma as Bhagirathi Valiya Thampurati, Udaya Varma's mentally ill wife
- Thikkurissy Sukumaran Nair as Mathilakkathu Cheriyachan Thampuran ('Shaguni'), Udaya Varma's blind yet greedy uncle
- Kunchan as Balaraman, Cheriyachan Thampuran's grandson
- Sankaradi as Raman Menon, the Palace Secretary and Thampuran's confidante
- Sukumari as Janaki Varma, Udaya Varma's younger sister and Ravi Varma's mother
- Karamana Janardhanan Nair as Prabhakara Varma, Janaki's husband and Ravi Varma's father
- Valsala Menon as Madhavi Varma, Udaya Varma's younger sister and Gupthan's mother
- Joy Badlani as Kuruvila
- M. S. Thripunithura as Namboothiri, Madhavi's husband and Gupthan's father
- Jagadish as Gupthan Thampuran
- K. P. A. C. Lalitha as Subhadra Varma, Udaya Varma's younger sister and Rajaraja Varma's mother
- M. G. Soman as Kesava Pillai, Subhadra's husband and Rajan's father
- Maniyanpilla Raju as Rajaraja Varma
- Paravoor Bharathan as Palace Chamberlain Menon, Thampuran's shrewd servant
- Shyama as Soudamini Varma, daughter of Janaki Varma
- Suma Jayaram as Ambika Varma, daughter of Subhadra Varma
- Gurbachan Singh as Kabir Dada, a goon and Professional killer from Bombay
- Mohan Jose as Professional killer from Bombay
- Mafia Sasi as Professional killer from Bombay
|Track||Song Title||Singer(s)||Other notes|
|1||"Pramadhavanam"||K. J. Yesudas||Picturised on Mohanlal.|
|2||"Devasabhathalam"||K. J. Yesudas, Raveendran, Sharreth||Another version, in which M. G. Sreekumar replaces Raveendran Master, was also recorded. But Raveendran's version was selected in the movie. Song is picturised on Mohanlal and Kaithapram.|
|3||"Naadaroopini"||M. G. Sreekumar||M. G. Sreekumar won the National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer. Song is picturised on Kaithapram.
|4||"Gopika Vasantham"||K. J. Yesudas, K. S. Chithra||Duet song picturised on Mohanlal and Gautami.
|5||"Devasabhathalam"||K. J. Yesudas, M. G. Sreekumar, Sharreth||Raagam: Raagamaalika (Hindolam, Thodi, Panthuvarali, Abhogi, Mohanam, Shanmukhapriya, Sankarabharanam, Kalyani, Chakravakam, Revati)|
|6||"Thu Badi Maasha Allah"||K. J. Yesudas, Chorus||A Hindi Qawwali song picturised on Mohanlal & Miss Kim. Lyrics by Madhu (Bihar).
His Highness Abdullah performed well at the box office, becoming the highest-grossing Malayalam film of the year.
- Nedumudi Venu won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor
- M. G. Sreekumar won the National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer (for the song "Naadaroopini")
- Mohanlal won the Ujala Award and Kerala Movie Goers Award for Best Actor
- Raveendran won the Filmfare Award for Best Music Director – Malayalam
- Sharadhaa, A. (8 May 2013). "When the autowale grab all the limelight". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
- "25 years, 25 landmarks". Rediff.com. 3 September 2003. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
- Kumar, P. K. Ajith (31 March 2015). "Silver milestone for a golden song". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 25 April 2020.