Ramji Rao Speaking

Ramji Rao Speaking is a 1989 Indian Malayalam-language comedy-thriller film written and directed by the duo Siddique–Lal (in their directorial debut) and produced by Fazil, Swargachitra Appachan, and Ousepachan Vaalakuzhy. It stars Sai Kumar, Mukesh, Innocent, Rekha, Vijayaraghavan and Devan, with Sankaradi, Sukumari, Kunchan and Mamukkoya in other supporting roles. The film deals with social factors affecting Kerala including unemployment during the 1980s, and went on to achieve a cult classic status.[1][2][3]

Ramji Rao Speaking
Ramji Rao Speaking.jpg
Directed bySiddique–Lal
Written bySiddique–Lal
Produced byFazil
Ousepachan Vaalakuzhy, Swargachitra Appachan
StarringSai Kumar
Edited byT. R. Shekar
Music byS. Balakrishnan (Composer), AR Rahman (Keyboard)
Adithya Films
Distributed byCentury
Release date
  • 1989 (1989)
Running time
150 minutes

Ramji Rao Speaking marked the debut of director duo Siddique and Lal, actors Sai Kumar (first appearance in a notable role), Rekha, N. F. Varghese and Harishree Ashokan (both in minor roles), and music director S. Balakrishnan. Mannar Mathai Speaking (1995) and Mannar Mathai Speaking 2 (2014) are the sequels to the film.

The core plot of the movie was inspired by the 1971 TV movie See The Man Run.[4][5] Fazil remade this film in Tamil as Arangetra Velai, with Mamukkoya and Vijayaraghavan reprising their role and the character of "Gopalakrishnan" being replaced by a female. Priyadarshan remade the film in Hindi, titled Hera Pheri. It was also remade in Telugu as Dhanalakshmi, I Love You, in Kannada as Trin Trin, in Odia as Wrong Number and in Bengali as Hera Pheri.


The story revolves around three unemployed people (the third is a middle aged unsuccessful theatre owner). The story opens with the arrival of Balakrishnan in Kochi to dispute the denial of his company job which he was supposed to receive several years ago. Several candidates overtook his chance and the last one was Rani who pretends to be an influential figure, the daughter of Shivashankaran Panicker, a candidate who overtook his chance. Rani threatens Balakrishnan to continue to work despite his efforts to overthrow her. The company manager knows about her family situation and helps her keep the job. Balakrishnan is determined to stay in the town until he succeeds in getting the job.

During his stay, Balakrishnan finds a temporary lodging in 'Urvasi Theatre', owned by Mannar Mathai, with another tenant Gopalakrishnan, both unemployed and with insignificant earnings. Mathai is constantly pestered by calls intended for Urumees Thampan, a rich businessman, and vice versa. Initially, Gopalakrishnan does not like the new tenant because of a misunderstanding made by Balakrishnan that Gopalakrishnan is a pickpocket at the market, in vain. Gopalakrishnan is tricky and cunning. He lies to his mother by telling her that he works in a large company based in Calcutta and that he is building a new house in Kochi. Balakrishnan discovers the truth and mistakes Gopalakrishnan as a fraud. Gopalakrishnan makes Balakrishnan sign white paper and betrays him by writing a no-objection letter to Rani, thus giving her the job. Gopalakrishnan brings Balakrishnan's friend Hamzukkoya who is desperately searching for him to the house. Hamzukkoya threatens to commit suicide if he does not repay the debt of rupees 35000 he took for his sister's wedding, which Hamzukkoya wants to use for his daughter's wedding as fast as possible. He demands the money from Rani, but what shocks Balakrishnan most was the realisation of Rani's family situation, having a blind son who needs a surgery worth rupees 50000, which she had earlier demanded from Balakrishnan in return for the job. Balakrishnan gets drunk at night and reveals the fraud play of Gopalakrishnan, which Gopalakrishnan justifies as comforting his mother, who has had health issues, because Gopalakrishnan did not get a job months after passing out of college. The truth melts the minds of both Balakrishnan and Mannar Mathai. They all become friends enjoy the night despite their unending problems.

Early in dawn, Balakrishnan wakes up to a ringing telephone. A gang leader named Ramji Rao has kidnapped the daughter of Urumees Thampan and are asking for a ransom of one lakh rupees. The three unemployed have no relation with Urumees Thampan; the gang had apparently dialled the wrong number. Panicking, Balakrishan tries to find the number of Urumees Thampan from a phone directory, only to find out that the numbers of Urvasi Theaters and Urumees Thampan are interchanged in the directory. Gopalakrishnan comes up with an idea and asks Balakrishnan to act as a dealer between Ramji Rao with Urumees Thampan, without letting them know about each other, and demand a ransom of four lakh to Urumees Thampan, instead of a lakh, get the girl from Ramji Rao, and take the remaining three lakh for themselves. They narrowly escape Hamzukkoya who tries to assault Balakrishnan, who has not paid for the wedding. They find it difficult as the police suspect them and they find it hard to keep Urumees Thampan and Ramji Rao anonymous to each other. Finally, after a struggle, the three rescue the girl from the gang leader and hand her over to Urumees Thamapan. Ramji Rao is arrested, and they confess the ploy to him upon a police encounter. Gopalakrishnan gives Hamzukkoya his money, but is arrested along with Balakrishnan and Mannar Mathai soon after he reaches home. Urumees forgives them and is thankful for returning his daughter, and offers them the three lakh rupees as a reward, telling them that they do not have to stay at the police station for more than an hour. The film ends with the girl calling Urumees, mocking Ramji Rao.



The movie is directed by Siddique–Lal duo, who were assistants of Fazil. The film is also produced by Fazil. Sai Kumar, son of late veteran actor Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair made his acting debut with this film.[7]


The film's soundtrack contains 4 songs, all composed by S. Balakrishnan in his debut, with the lyrics by Bichu Thirumala. This is the first movie A. R. Rahman programmed a song for a film; "Kalikalam".[8]

# Title Singer(s)
1 "Avanavan Kurukkunna" M. G. Sreekumar, C. O. Anto, Chorus
2 "Kalikkalam Ithu Kalikkalam" S. P. Balasubrahmanyam
3 "Kanneerkkaayaliletho" M. G. Sreekumar, K. S. Chitra
4 "Oraayiram Kinaakkalal" M. G. Sreekumar, Unni Menon, K. S. Chitra, C. O. Anto, Chorus


The film became a commercial success.[9][10][11][12][13] In 1989, The Hindu wrote, "Siddique and Lal have to be complimented on their brilliant maiden venture, a rollicking comedy."[14]


Year Film Language Ref.
1990 Arangetra Velai Tamil
2000 Hera Pheri Hindi
2002 Dhanalakshmi, I Love You Telugu
2004 Trin Trin Kannada
Wrong Number Oriya


Mukesh's mother's warden's dialogue in the film "Kambilipothappu" became a catchphrase.[15]


  1. ^ ജ്യോതിഷ്, വി.ആര്‍. (21 October 2016). "ഫാസിൽ മനുഷ്യനെ പറ്റിക്കാൻ ഇറങ്ങിയിരിക്കുകയാണ്...റാംജിറാവുവിനൊപ്പം കഥകളും ഇറങ്ങി; സിദ്ദിഖ്–ലാൽ". Vanitha. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  2. ^ Vijay George (7 November 2013). "Three of a kind". The Hindu.
  3. ^ George, Vijay (29 July 2015). "Malayalam films remade in Hindi". The Times of India.
  4. ^ "Priyardarshan on 20 years of 'Hera Pheri': Humour can never die - Times of India". The Times of India.
  5. ^ "Humour can never die: Priyadarshan on 20 years of Hera Pheri | Celebrities News – India TV". 31 March 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Rajan, Silpa (1 October 2021). "#FilmyFriday: 'Ramji Rao Speaking'- Turn off the device you are currently using and tune into this classic!". The Times of India. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  7. ^ "Second innings". The Hindu. 18 August 2006.
  8. ^ Pradeep, K. (18 June 2015). "Recalling a musical legacy". The Hindu.
  9. ^ "Malayalam films remade in Hindi". The Times of India. 29 July 2015.
  10. ^ "Popular Mollywood comedian Indrans gets to play villain in movie". The Indian Express. 6 November 2013.
  11. ^ Vijay George (2 January 2009). "Return to Harihar Nagar". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 31 January 2009.
  12. ^ "Meleparambil Aanveedu Mannar Mathai Speaking sequels". The Times of India. 13 September 2011.
  13. ^ "Coronavirus outbreak: 'Tsunami' team calls off shoot". The Times of India. 17 May 2020.
  14. ^ 50th day
  15. ^ Praveen, S. r. (25 March 2013). "Malayalam online in wonderful calligraphy". The Hindu.

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