Ramji Rao Speaking is a 1989 Indian Malayalam comedy film written and directed by the Siddique-Lal duo. It stars Saikumar, Mukesh, Innocent and Rekha in the lead roles. The film deals with social factors affecting Kerala including unemployment during the 1980s, and went on to become a cult classic.
Ramji Rao Speaking marked the debut of director duo Siddique-Lal, actors Saikumar, Rekha, N. F. Varghese, Harishree Ashokan, and music director S. Balakrishnan. Mannar Mathai Speaking (1995) and Mannar Mathai Speaking 2 (2014) are the sequels to this movie.
Fazil remade this film in Tamil as Arangetra Velai, with Mamukkoya reprising his role in the film. Priyadarshan remade the film into the Hindi film Hera Pheri, a film which became one of the biggest classic in Bollywood. It was also remade in Telugu as Dhanalakshmi I Love You and in Kannada as Trin Trin. The movie is an adaptation of the 1971 TV movie See The Man Run.
The story revolves around three unemployed people (the third is a middle age unsuccessful theater owner). The story opens with the arrival of Balakrishnan (Saikumar) in Cochin 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 (Rekha) who pretends to be an influential figure in the town. Rani threatens Balakrishnan to continue to work despite his efforts to overthrow her. The company manager (Sankaradi) who knows her family situation (poor and pathetic) helps her to remain in the job. Balakrishnan determined to stay back in the town until he succeeds to get back his job back from Rani.
During his stay Balakrishnan finds a temporary lodging in 'Urvasi Theater' owned by Mannar Mathayi (Innocent), with another tenant Gopalakrishnan (Mukesh), both were unemployed and with insignificant earning. Initially Gopalakrishnan does not like the new tenant and tries to expel him from the house but all of his efforts are in vain. Gopalakrishnan is tricky and cunning. He lies to his mother that he works in a large company based in Calcutta and is building a new house in Cochin. Balakrishnan discovers the truth and misunderstands Gopalakrishnan as a fraud. But what shocks Balakrishnan most was the realization of Rani's family situation, which pours sympathy in his mind toward her and decided to sacrifice his job. That night Balakrishnan gets drunk and reveals the fraud play of Gopalakrishnan to Mannar Mathayi. Goplakrishnan confesses his play and justifies that projecting himself as rich and employed was the only way in front of him to comfort his mother. The truth melts the mind of both Balakrishnan and Mannar Mathayi and they all became friends and decided to enjoy the night despite their unending problems.
The turning point of the movie is here. Balakrishnan wakes in the night hearing the phone ring. A gang leader called Ramji Rao (Vijayaraghavan) has kidnapped the daughter of a rich businessman Urumees Thampan (Devan) and is asking a ransom of a lakh rupees. The three unemployed have no relation with Urummes Thampan; the phone was misdialed. 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 develops a quick game play and asks Balakrishnan to act as a dealer between Ramji Rao and Urumees Thampan, without letting them know each other, and demand a ransom of three lakh to Urumees Thampan, instead of a lakh, and get the girl from Ramji Rao and earn two lakh. The plan was set properly, but the job wasn't easy to carry out by hiding from the police and keeping Ramji Rao and Urumees anonymous to each other. Finally after a struggle the three rescue the girl from the gang leader and hand her over to Urumees Thamapan. They confesses the game to him upon a police encounter. Urumees forgives them and is thankful for returning his daughter, and offers three lakh rupees as a prize. The story happily ends here.Saikumar as Balakrishnan
Mukesh as Gopalakrishnan
Innocent as Mannar Mathai
Rekha as Rani
Devan as Urumees Thampan
Vijayaraghavan as Ramji Rao
Mamukkoya as Hamzakkoya
Sukumari as Goplakrishnan's mother
Sankaradi as Manager
N. F. Varghese as a staff of Balakrishnan's office
Kunchan as Mathai as the servant
Amritam Gopinath as Matron
M L Augustine...as Office Peon
Saikumar, son of late veteran actor Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair made his acting debut with this film.
The film's soundtrack contains 4 songs, all composed by S. Balakrishnan in his debut and Lyrics by Bichu Thirumala. This is the first movie where A. R. Rahman has programmed a song for movie and the song is Kalikalam.
The film became commercial success.
"Malayaleegraphy", a Kerala-based digital agency, created a poster featuring one punch line "Kambilipothappu" (woollen blankets) from the film.