Kireedam (1989 film)

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Kireedam 1989.jpg
VCD film cover
Directed bySibi Malayil
Produced byN. Krishnakumar
Dinesh Panicker
Written byA. K. Lohithadas
Parvathy Jayaram
Mohan Raj
Music byJohnson
CinematographyS. Kumar
Edited byL. Bhoominathan
Kripa Films
Distributed bySeven Arts Release
Release date
  • 7 July 1989 (1989-07-07) (Kerala)
Running time
140 minutes
Budget23.5 lakh[1]

Kireedam (transl. Crown) is a 1989 Indian Malayalam-language drama film directed by Sibi Malayil and written by A. K. Lohithadas. The film stars Mohanlal, Thilakan, and Parvathy Jayaram, along with Kaviyoor Ponnamma, Mohan Raj, Murali, Sreenath, Kundara Johny, Cochin Haneefa, Jagathy Sreekumar, Philomina, Usha, Jagadish, Maniyanpilla Raju, Mamukkoya, Oduvil Unnikrishnan, and Kanakalatha in supporting roles. The music for the film was composed by Johnson.

The film is about a Malayali youth, Sethumadhavan (Mohanlal), whose hopes and aspirations are shattered by a combination of fate and human falling. It explores how society type-casts individuals and forces them to act that part whether they like it or not. Mohanlal won the National Film Award – Special Mention "for portraying young man's agony and pain marvelously and in unique style". Lohithadas won the Kerala Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay.

Kireedam was released on 7 July 1989, it received widespread critical acclaim and was a major commercial success at the box office. A sequel to the film titled Chenkol was released in 1993. Kireedam was remade into five other Indian languages—in Telugu as Rowdyism Nasinchali (1990), in Kannada as Modadha Mareyalli (1991), in Hindi as Gardish (1993), in Bengali as Nayak – The Real Hero (2005) and in Tamil with Kireedam (2007).


Achuthan Nair (Thilakan), an honest and sincere police constable, has a loving family consisting of his wife Ammu (Kaviyoor Ponnamma), two sons and two daughters. Achuthan Nair wants his elder son Sethumadhavan (Mohanlal) to be a police inspector. He shares a cordial and amiable relation with his son. Sethu is engaged to Devi (Parvathi), the daughter of Krishnan Nair (Sankaradi), his maternal uncle. One day, for charging a petty case against the son of a Member of Legislative Assembly, Achuthan Nair is transferred to Ramapuram police station. The family also shifts to Ramapuram.

Keerikadan Jose (Mohan Raj), a hardcore criminal, rules the market of Ramapuram by extorting money from all traders. One day, Achuthan Nair tries to intervene in a scuffle and he is beaten brutally by Keerikadan. Sethu, who was in the market, witnesses it and saves his father by attacking Keerikadan and his goons. Keerikadan gets severely wounded and is admitted in hospital. The entire market celebrates the fall of Keerikadan and finds a new savior in Sethu. His friends misuse this opportunity by creating a brawl in the local pub. Achuthan Nair is deeply disturbed by this and accuses Sethu of slowly turning into a criminal. Though he tried to stay away from all chaos, gradually Sethu is dragged into issues.

Haidrose (Cochin Haneefa), a local thug, claims to be a henchman of Sethu and starts collecting extortion money from the local traders. Even Ramanan (Jagathy Sreekumar), his brother-in-law, joins Haidrose. Sethu, on knowing this, beats up both in the market. But, Remanan on reaching home, twists the entire story; Achuthan Nair asks Sethu to leave the house and Sethu walks out. The local police inspector (Murali) arrests Sethu on a petty case and warns him not to create any more fracas. Keshu (Sreenath), his childhood friend, tries to pacify him; Sethu is broken down completely.

In the meantime, Devi's parents fixes her marriage with another guy, which Devi is not ready for. Sethu meets Devi, explains his helplessness and asks her to follow her parents. She gets married, and he feels completely lonely. After getting discharged from hospital, Keerikadan Jose decides to avenge Sethu. He decides also to severely punish anyone who celebrated his 'death'. He ransacks the entire house and manhandles his mother and sisters. Sethu is attacked by Parameshwaran (Kundara Johny), the lieutenant of Keerikadan. In a bid to save his life, Sethu vehemently and violently beats him with an iron rod. Parameshwaran gets seriously injured and is admitted in the hospital. Sethumadhavan is targeted again by Keerikadan and, in a bid to escape, ensues a duel with Keerikkadan. They have a terrible fight, and Sethumadhavan becomes hysterical with anger, and a feeling of revenge. With blood dripping from his face, he threatens to murder anybody who comes near him. Keerikkadan is seriously injured, and tries to get up. Now, Sethu takes up a dagger, and stabs him to death.

It is at this point that one of the most iconic emotional scenes of the movie commences. Achuthan Nair commands Sethu to drop his dagger. Both of them get extremely emotional, and Sethu falls on his knees, in utter sadness, dismay, disappointment and anger, after throwing the dagger down. The film ends with Sethumadhavan being disqualified from being a police inspector. Head constable Achuthan Nair reads the Police Verification Report which cites Sethu as a "notorious criminal".



A. K. Lohithadas got the plot idea from a story that circulated in his locality about an incident that happened in Chalakudy that narrates how a carpenter knocked down a notorious criminal named Keshavan with a single hit.[2] Lohithadas, who was unable to attend the wedding of Sibi Malayil, wrote the screenplay of Kireedam as a compensation gift for Malayil. He completed the screenplay in just six days. Filming was completed in 25 days in Thiruvananthapuram. The film cost ₹23.5 lakh to make, produced by N. Krishnakumar and Dinesh Panicker under the company Kripa Films. Mohanlal, who used to get ₹4.5 lakh as remuneration at that time only took ₹4 lakh due to his friendship with Krishnakumar. Kireedam (crown) was originally the title given by Lohithadas for his previous screenplay, directed by I. V. Sasi. But Sasi did not liked the name and had a dispute with Lohithadas. Malayil on hearing this incident from Lohithadas said he liked the title and would like to adopt it for the film. Sasi's film was released under the title Mukthi (1988).[1]

Initially, Thilakan declined the role of Achuthan Nair due to scheduling conflicts with the films Chanakyan and Varnam. The film, originally planned to shoot at Nemmara and Chittur in Palakkad district was changed to Thiruvananthapuram to accommodate Thilakan in the film who was filming for Varnam at Thiruvananthapuram. Thilakan joined Kireedam shoot in the intervals of Varnam. The climax scene featuring Mohanlal and Thilakan was shot in Aryanadu. Instead of the melancholic song "Kanneer Poovinte", a romantic song was originally shot to feature the romance between Sethumadhavan and Devi. But after realizing it would not align in the story-line, it was scrapped. SInce there was not enough time to complete the shoot of "Kanneer Poovinte", some of the scenes shot for the romantic song was used in it. In the song, the shot where Mohanlal is walking through a long lane was filmed in Chennai. The song's composition was a modification of the former song.[3] S. Kumar was the cinematographer.[4]

The makers initially chose Pradeep Shakthi for the role of Keerikkadan Jose, who had acted in Chamaram (1980) and was then an established actor in Telugu films. Shakthi also agreed to do the role and was given advance payment. He was supposed to arrive at the filming location, but due to unknown reasons, he did not reached and they were compelled to make an immediate replacement. It was an associate director who suggested the name of beginner Mohan Raj, who had acted in a minor role in Moonnam Mura. Upon seeing him, Raj was immediately fixed.[5] His character name Keerikkadan Jose later became his stage name. Dubbing artist Nirmal Prakash gave voice to the character.[6]


Soundtrack album by
Released7 July 1989
GenreFeature film soundtrack
LabelMillennium Audios
Johnson chronology

The film features original soundtrack composed by Johnson, which consists of two songs written by Kaithapram Damodaran. The soundtrack album was released by Millennium Audios on 7 July 1989.[7] The song "Kaneer Poovinte" won M. G. Sreekumar his first Kerala State Film Awards.

Kireedam (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
1."Kanneer Poovinte"M. G. Sreekumar4:14
2."Medapponnodam"Balagopalan Thampi4:26


National Film Awards
Kerala State Film Awards
Kerala Film Critics Association Awards

Sequel and remakes[edit]

A sequel to the film titled Chenkol was released in 1993. Kireedam was remade into five other Indian languages—in Telugu as Rowdyism Nasinchali (1990), in Kannada as Modadha Mareyalli (1991), in Hindi as Gardish (1993), in Bengali as Nayak – The Real Hero (2005) and in Tamil with Kireedam (2007).


Kireedam is regarded as a classic in Malayalam cinema, particularly noted for its screenplay and acting.[8][9][10] Mohanlal won his first National Film Award for the film. The dialogue "Ninte achanaada parayunne. Kathi thaazhe ideda" said by Thilakan's Achuthan Nair in the climax of the film became a catchphrase. The impact of the film was such that one of it's producer N. Krishnakumar went on to be known by the name Kireedam Unni thereafter. For Mohan Raj, his character name in the film, Keerikkadan Jose, became his stage name.[10] Kireedam gave a breakthrough for Cochin Haneefa who appeared in the comical role of Hydros. Haneefa, until then known for portraying antagonistic roles began appearing in more comedic roles after the film and would be known for his comedic roles in his later career.[11] A bridge on Vellayani Lake featured in the film (including the song "Kanneer Poovinte") would went on to be known as "Kireedam Paalam" (Kireedam bridge) after the film.[12] Later many films were shot there, but it continues to be known by the name.[13] It is the only location in Thiruvanathapuram that is known by a film's name.[14] Kireedam is considered as one of the best screenplays written by Lohithadas.[15] Kireedam, the screenplay was released as a book by Mathrubhumi Books in 2009.[16]


  1. ^ a b "Kireedam 29 Years". Malayala Manorama. 1 August 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  2. ^ Lohithadas (7 July 2019). "ആശാരിയുടെ കഥ മനസ്സില്‍ വിത്തായി വീണു; സേതുമാധവന്റെ പിറവി അങ്ങനെയായിരുന്നു". Mathrubhumi. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  3. ^ "സേതുമാധവന്റെ മുള്‍ക്കിരീടത്തിന് മുപ്പതാണ്ട്, 6 ദിവസം കൊണ്ട് തിരക്കഥ 25 ദിവസത്തെ ഷൂട്ട്" (in Malayalam). The Cue. 7 July 2019. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  4. ^ Mohan, Sajesh (5 November 2018). "Decoding a Scene | The emotional and action-packed 'Kireedam' climax". Malayala Manorama. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  5. ^ Web desk (20 May 2017). "ഇദ്ദേഹമായിരുന്നു കിരീടത്തില്‍ കീരിക്കാടനാകേണ്ടിയിരുന്ന നടന്‍!". Asianet News (in Malayalam). Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  6. ^ "ചലച്ചിത്ര- സീരിയല്‍ നടന്‍ നിര്‍മല്‍ പ്രകാശ് അന്തരിച്ചു" Archived 18 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Kireedam (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Single". iTunes. 7 July 1989. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  8. ^ Krishnakumar, R. (19 July 2014). "Birth of a tragic hero". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  9. ^ Narayanan, Nirmal (27 July 2018). "Top 5 classic Mohanlal films to watch before you die". International Business Times. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  10. ^ a b Maithutty, Fahir (9 July 2019). "30 years of 'Kireedam': Why Mohanlal and Thilakan are seared in our hearts". The News Minute. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  11. ^ Web desk (2 February 2017). "ഓര്‍മ്മയില്‍ കൊച്ചിന്‍ ഹനീഫ". Asianet News (in Malayalam). Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  12. ^ "Kireedam bridge's tale is as tragic as the movie". The New Indian Express. 11 April 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  13. ^ TNM staff (30 September 2016). "Mohanlal to sponsor renovation of TVM bridge named after his hit film 'Kireedam'". The News Minute. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  14. ^ V. N., Aswin (14 December 2017). "Popular film locations in Thiruvananthapuram". The Hindu. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  15. ^ "Remembering Lohithadas". The New Indian Express. 4 July 2009. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  16. ^ "Kireedam". Retrieved 12 July 2019.

External links[edit]