CID Films in Malayalam | James had it coming !

CID Agent Nazir 07

Thank God for James Bond and Dr No in 1962!

Else, as a genre, we would have terribly missed the Indian version of the 007 brand of bravado and panache, though by the time it transferred onto our Malayalam cinema screens, it was more of frothy, kitschy, cheesy, senseless, crazy mayhem ! It was, in all respects,  a far cry from the ‘controlled exaggeration’ of the Hollywood version. By the time our directors finished with their versions, one left the hall seriously questioning one’s sanity and social tolerance levels. Our desi James Bonds were a sight to see, literally.

Allow me to make something very clear right here, at the beginning itself. I absolutely love all of them. Absolutely.

To me, the early movies in the James Bond genre, Dr No (1962), From Russia, with love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You live only twice (1967) and OHM’s Secret Service (1969) seem  to be the chief inspirations in the ‘budget, desi’ versions of Her majesty’s sexiest and bravest Secret Agent, and it was atrend that seems to have been happily embraced by all the chief production factories in India. If in Kannada, Dr.Raj Kumar was CID 999, Tamil had Jai Shankar as CID Shankar (1970), and in Malayalam , we had our own CID Nazir(1971).

Dr Raj Kumar as CID 999 in Operation Diamond Racket (1978)
Dr Raj Kumar as CID 999 in Operation Diamond Racket (1978)

I think it was Sasi Kumar who ‘rose up’ to the challenge of making the Malayalam version of the CID genre with Love in Kerala in 1968, with a little help from Merryland Studios ( the villian’s hideout had to be the studio, am sure). Though it was CID Jayachandran that started the manic string of movies of that genre, what would immortalize it would come from Venu, who interestingly learned the ropes from Merryland studios !

Though Venu’s CID Nazir is considered  the most popular in the CID genre in Malayalam ,  it was his 2nd CID movie, close on the heels of his Detective 909 Keralathil in 1970.

A CID romancing her beau, just across the Kerala border in 1970.

[ Jaishankar as CID Shankar in the Tamil movie CID Shankar(1970) ]

It is interesting that the core team behind the CID Nazir was the same from his previous movie. The screenplay was by PJ Antony ( I am amazed at the bizarrely diametric opposites that PJ could reach with his pen – this would have been the ‘stoned end’ !), music was by MK Arjun, and in the acting (action ?!) department, KP Ummer, TS Muthaiah, Jayabharathi, Sadhana let it rip in both the movies. Maybe KP Ummer didn’t pack the suave, sexy punch in Detective 909 Keralathil, and so Venu decided to repackage the whole thing with the ummm..errr..sauve, sexy Prem Nazir and even named it as CID Prem Nazir as if to underline his convictions.

James does his thing, the Real Mc’Coy’ that he is.

Though there were minor ‘irritations’ to the narrative, the main plot was the same. The CID goes undercover with the most outlandish disguises to infiltrate the Syndicate (an outrageously hilarious and tacky version of the expansive, glitzy, inventively original lairs from James Bond movies), mostly dealing in money laundering (കള്ളനാട്ട്, മൈ ഗാഡ് !), smuggling high-worth diamonds (‘മി. പെരേരയുടെ വജ്രങ്ങള്‍’!) and other incredulous anti-nationalist activities. There was usually Adoor Bhasi, bosom pal and a junior CID officer riding shotgun, usually on a parallel plot-line, mostly buried in another long line of amusing disguises, and usually meet-up with the undercover CID ( no prizes for guessing who it would be ! ) in the last 3 minutes of the movie, while the entire audience knew all along that it was Adoor Bhasi in disguise ! ( How cute).

CID Nazir - The Showdown in the LairThe  villian’s lair  was usually a poor man’s version of the inventive headquarters of the original, with the tackiest and kitschiest props ever appeared in world cinema. The Boss (usually addressed as ‘ബാസ്’ )  moved around in borrowed Ku Klux Klan outfits and mostly spoke in monosyllables, or when pushed into a corner, with a severely restricted vocabulary. There was a ‘buxom blonde’ , mostly a double-agent ( pun intended), and usually took part in the good-versus-evil-fight-to-the-death in the lair in the end. All said, it was a fabulous experience.

I want to feature my three favorites in the genre, Love in Kerala ( 1968 ), CID Nazir (1971) and Lankadahanam (1971) next, though there are a whole lot of movies that usually took parts of the standard plotline and welded it with other sub-plots ( those ruffians ! ), which ended up in making you feeling ‘short-changed.’

Coming next : CID Nazir (1971)

19 thoughts on “CID Films in Malayalam | James had it coming !

  1. Hi,
    The tamil song “brundavanathil” referred above is from the movie “CID Shankar(1970)” and not “Goadalli CID Shankar” as mentioned within the brackets below the song. As far as i know there is no tamil with the name “Goadalli CID Shankar”, however there is a 1968 kannada movie “Goadalli CID 999” starring legendary Dr. Rajkumar. It was the debut movie of “Julie” Lakshmi.

    1. Thank you Nithin for pointing it out. As a self-confessed Annavaru fan, the muddled titling is inexcusable, now whhen I see it. Kicking myself for not proof-checking it. Have corrected it. Thanks again..cinematters

  2. hey guys… i’m very happy to see u all in here… people who have the same taste…. i loved it. i’m a BIG FAN of old CID movies…. u know… REST HOUSE is a wonder full suspense movie. and PANCHAVADI is another one.. even the new genaration movie dont have such kind of action sequence and big suspense. i wat to collect all the cid malayalam movies. i need the list. i need the list of old malayalam cid movies.. espesially NAZIR & ADOOR BHASI combo……

  3. CID nazir,cochin express,lanka dahanam,kannur deluxe,pathmavyuham,postmaane kanmanilla,danger biscuit,lottery ticket are the best films I have seen.Cochin express and lottery ticket were based on real life incidents in early 70’s.Kannur deluxe was special with slap stick comedy from Prem nazir and Adoor basi.

    1. Hi Rajesh,
      I guess there has been quite a number of movies whose prints are presumably lost or inaccessible till some VHS surfaces somewhere – Minnunnathellam Ponnalla (1957)or forthat matter Kaanaatha Veshangal (1967), which are equally delightful and exciting as these in this genre. It is news to me that Cochin Express and Lottery Ticket were based on real incidents🙂 Any more info these incidents ?That would be great. Thanks, cinematters

      1. Dear CM
        Kaanaatha Veshangal was released in VHS format and i remember that in the year 1993 i saw the film in the VCR. Actually i hired the tape from a video parlour and no idea where the print is now.

        B Sajith

  4. Among CID movies, Kanoor Deluxe(1969) is a must-watch.This suspense thriller has lot many flavors put in a nutshell..whether it be screenplay or songs or comedy.
    Cochin Express(1967) is also a movie not to be forgotten.
    Is Kanoor Deluxe available in the market?

    1. kannur deluxe isnt available at market.. but this film is available in most of the private movie collectors including me.. prem nazeer is only appearing after the 1st hour in this film…

      KAYAL KARAYIL, KARUTHA KAI, THIRUVABHARANAM and KALYANA RATRIYIL are some movies more interesting than kannur deluxe.. though not in the category of CID films.. KOTTARAM VILKKANUNDU also another musical-thriller but was not a hit like above mentioned movies..

  5. I have not watched any of these films.. :)… but you make it sound very interesting…!

    I’m guessing the music director MK Arjun should be MK Arjunan….

    1. LOL ! They ARE interesting, very interesting, dear Sunny, all it needs is for you to put away your critical mindset , lean back with a beer and surrender to the manic fun🙂 I’m so in love with his Rayban Olympian II shades ! ( My Dad had one and he flaunted it, I still remember ! ). Thank you for passing through..regards..CM

      PS : MK Arjun has been re-united with his ‘misplaced indefinite article.’ Thanks🙂

    1. Dear Devi Prakash,
      Thanks so much. I had thought about including Love in Kerala too but was in two minds about being an overdose of the ‘good thing’ here at OMC, as I intended to feature CID Nazir and Lankadahanam. I guess we will make it a trinity🙂 Thanks again..cinematters

    1. Dear Satish,
      Thank you for writing in. The ‘best’ CID films, I feel at best is a relative premise. As I mentioned, there are so many movies that have borrowed one aspect of the standard ‘James Bond plot’ and spun off in a different direction, but the best among them that stay close to the Secrent Agent Spirit had to be CID Nazir and Lankadahanam. Sure, there would be a list of them which I can recall published here very soon. Also, why not share your favorite ones, the ones you consider are the best?🙂 I’m sure that would be a fab list…Regards..cinematters

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