|Produced by||Seven Arts Films
|Written by||Renji Panicker|
N. F. Varghese
|Music by||S.P. Venkatesh|
|Edited by||K. Shankunny|
Seven Arts Films
|Distributed by||Seven Arts International Ltd.|
|Running time||180 minutes|
|Box office||20 crores|
Lelam (Malayalam: ലേലം, English: The Auction) is a 1997 Malayalam film directed by Joshiy, written by Renji Panicker, and starring Suresh Gopi, M. G. Soman, Siddique, N. F. Varghese, and Spadikam George. The story revolves around the rivalry between two liquor business groups. The film was a box office success and was among the highest-grossing Malayalam films of the year. It was also the last performance of M. G. Soman.
The film begins with Captain Jacob Stephan, popularly known as Anakkattil Chackochi (Suresh Gopi) along with his friend Karimbanadan Sunny (Vijayakumar) going to Pollachi to meet Andipetti Veerapandi Thevar deal a spirit business. Thevar, though initially differs to negotiate, later after knowing that Chackochi is the son of Eappachan, his old friend agrees to help them. On way back to Kerala, they are stopped at check post by John Maruthnayagam, the police officer, who happened to be the colleague of Chackochi in army and helps them in leading back. Back at home, Anakattil Eappachan (M.G. Soman), his father is a famous liquor baron, who holds almost a monopoly over spirit business over Central and South Kerala. Eappachan is always at loggerheads with K.K Group (Kunnel-Kadayadi Group), his business rivals. Popularly known as Kadayadi siblings - Kadayadi Raghavan (N. F. Varghese), Kadayadi Thambi (Subair)and Kadayadi Baby (Spadikam George) enjoys a partnership with Kunnel Mathachan (Azeez) and his son Kunnel Outha (Sathar) in their business. Eappachan, who hails from a poor background has emerged in to such a position with his hard work and struggle and he had never forgotten his roots. But time to time, he had to clash with Kadayadi and Kunnel group over business. On the other side Chackochi is enjoying his life as a planter in the company of his buddies Hussein(Siddique) and Oommachan (Maniyanpilla Raju). He also shares a passionate relation with Gowri Parvathi (Nandini), the RDO (Revenue Divisional Officer) and of royal lineage. KK Group always lose to Eappachan but they never stopped their evil ways to eliminate him. The same time Eappachan agrees to gave his shares of profit to them in order to settle things peacefully. Still they are not satisfied, & in an attempt to regain the past glory in business, Kadayadi and Kunnel clans join with Excise minister Balakrishnan (T P Madhavan) and Eappachan's lieutenant Kattithara Paappi (Kollam Thulasi), thereby plans and kills Eappachan one day; Baby stabbing Eappachan by ambushing him from behind.
Chackochi is now forced to take charge of the business an has to face several problems from both police and rivals. Jayasimhan (Cochin Haneefa), the police officer, who is investigating the murder of Eappachan is also a part of the Kadayadi syndicate, which makes Chackochi investigate the case himself. The police presents a local criminal Keeri Vasavan as the murderer of Eppachan, who, with the lack of evidence is granted bail at court. Chackochi is not ready to buy this argument and smells the hands of the Kadayadi and Kunnel families in it. He also decides to give up the liquor business by handing over the entire power to his employees which shocks his enemies and friends alike. Karimbanadan Sunny, his close buddy and budding politician, who was aiming Chackochi's business empire joins with Kadayadi group a day before the auction of spirit. He sinisterly sells out Hussein, who is now under the custody of the Kadayadis. Hussein is beaten brutally, but he never reveals the business secrets of Chackochi. Within a short time Chackochi reaches Hussein to save him, but is shocked to see Sunny among his enemies. In the following fight, Thampi and Sunny are killed. Chackochi kills Kadayadi Raghavan, Kunnel Mathachan and Kunnel Outha in a fight. Baby fights for a long time and is about to be killed by Chackochi however Gowri Parvathi stops him. Chackochi is ready to forgive but Baby shoots both - enraging him and finally killing Baby. As fire breaks out as the liquor explodes, Chackochi successfully manages to save Hussein and Gowriparvathi along with Ommen.
- M.G. Soman as Aanakkattil Eappachen, an alcohol business tycoon.
- Suresh Gopi as Captain Jacob Stephen (Aanakattil Chackochi), son of Eappachen.
- Nandini as Gowri Parvathi, RDO and the love interest of Chackochi.
- Kaviyoor Renuka as Kochu Thresya Kochu, Eappachen's wife.
- Siddique as Hussain, Chackochi's associate
- Maniyanpilla Raju as Oommachan, Chackochi's associate
- N. F. Varghese as Kadayadi Raghavan.
- Spadikam George as Kadayadi Baby.
- Subair as Kadayadi Thampy.
- Azeez as Kunnel Mathachen.
- Sathaar as Kunnel Outha.
- Kollam Thulasi as Kattithara Pappi.
- Cochin Haneefa as Jayasimhan.
- T. P. Madhavan as Minister Balakrishnan.
- Jagannatha Varma as Bishop
- Vijayakumar as Karimbanadan Sunny.
- Kunchan as Pillachettan.
- Mohan Jose as Keeri Vasavan
The movie was well received and became a huge hit. It became one of the major hits that year. Suresh Gopi's Anakkattill Chackochi is considered as the most recognized role for him after Bharath Chandran.
Ranji Panicker is planning to come out with the sequel of Lelam, with Suresh Gopi in the lead role. "After the release of Lelam in 1997, I was getting offers for the sequel of the film but it is now that I am convinced and decided to go ahead with it, which may take off this year," confirms the scriptwriter of Lelam.