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Summer in Bethlehem is a 1998 Indian Malayalam-language romantic comedy drama film written by Ranjith and directed by Sibi Malayil. It stars Suresh Gopi, Jayaram, and Manju Warrier in the lead roles, along with a cameo appearance by Mohanlal. The music was composed by Vidyasagar.
The film was shot among the forest hills and farms of Ooty, Tamil Nadu. It tells the story of Ravishankar (Jayaram), the bumbling friend of a successful landowner Dennis (Suresh Gopi), and the vacation visit by Ravishankar's relatives in Dennis's estate known as Bethlehem Estates in Chandragiri. The film was released alongside the Mohanlal & Mammootty starrer-Harikrishnans and it became the second highest-grossing Malayalam film of 1998 after Harikrishnans.
Ravishankar (Jayaram), an unsuccessful investor, stays with Dennis (Suresh Gopi), his friend who is successful in farming business. Dennis owns a vast farmland named Bethlehem, and hundreds of cattle, in a valley. Ravi is a fun-loving, jovial chap, who has fabricated stories of his success to his parents and relatives.
On a vacation, Colonel C.R. Menon (Janardhanan), his grandfather and grandmother (Sukumari) arrive with their extended family to spend a couple of days at the farmhouse of Ravishankar. He successfully makes them believe that he is the real owner of Bethlehem, and Dennis is his partner. Dennis, who is an orphan, was happy to meet a huge family and welcomes them with full heart. Colonel Menon has a plan to get Ravishankar married to any one of his granddaughters. Ravishankar is a bit confused about whom he should choose. To make matters complicated, he had been receiving messages and letters from one of the five girls expressing her love for him. Meanwhile, a few days after their arrival at Bethlehem, Abhirami (Manju Warrier), another granddaughter of Menon, who is studying in Bangalore arrives alone. She seems to be too upset and worried. But within short time, she returns to normalcy and enjoys the colors of vacation. During their stay, Ravi and Dennis decide to discover the girl who had been teasing them with the cryptic messages.
Dennis begins suspecting Abhirami of being the sender but she informs him that she is not and that she would help them in finding the person. She asks around among her cousins but everyone denies them being the sender. However, Dennis begins to fall for her and to make matters complicated, Ravi confesses to him that he plans on proposing to Abhirami. To avoid a situation, Dennis hides his true feelings from everyone.
Colonel Menon and his wife approve of Ravi's and Abhirami's relationship but upon knowing this, Abhirami snubs them by declaring that she is in love with Dennis. Her decision creates a panic among all, who believes that Dennis is a failed businessman who is living at the expense of Ravishankar. Ravi shocks everyone by revealing that Dennis is the actual owner of Bethlehem and that he is more than happy to see Abhirami getting married to Dennis. Abhirami meets Dennis who is completely broken down after the chaos at the house. Dennis, at the same time, is happy at heart knowing about Abhirami's love for him. But she shocks him by saying that she was just using his name to escape the marriage. She tells Dennis that she is in love with Niranjan (Mohanlal), a Naxal revolutionary in southern Karnataka. Niranjan, whom she met in Bangalore, is now in jail, convicted of killing Brijesh Mallaya, a landlord and his family. He is awaiting his execution in a couple of days and Abhirami has taken a vow not to marry anyone other than Niranjan.
But at home, upon the compulsion from Ravi, the family decides to get Abhirami married to Dennis. The night before wedding, Abhirami requests Dennis to take her to jail to meet Niranjan for one last time. They meet Niranjan (Mohanlal), who is a completely changed man. Remorseful Niranjan regrets the violent ways he adopted in class war and the crimes he did to obtain a classless society. Niranjan advises Abhirami to forget him and accept Dennis as her husband. Abhirami refuses to take his words, but Niranjan forces Dennis to tie the mangalsutra to Abhirami, which she has brought with her. Dennis obeys Niranjan, marries Abhirami at the jail, and Niranjan witnesses it with tearful eyes.
A few days later, the family returns home, while Ravi jokingly reminds everyone that they should be back here next year to welcome junior Dennis. The train departs slowly and a girl's hand reaches out of the coach window, holding the kitten which was sent as a gift to Ravi before. Ravi takes off running to find out who it is, but he catches only a cryptic message that teases him to follow and discover her identity.
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