Onlookers Top 10: Here’s the list of best movies of 2018
We are hardly a week away from welcoming another New Year. The last few years have been remarkable for Malayalam Cinema. Commercially, the industry has seen a big uprise with several big-scale films striking gold at the box office. Likewise, the quality of films has also been steady with the arrival of passionate young talents and their constant quest for pushing the envelope further. But truth be told, 2018 has been a pretty ordinary year. While the commercial prospects seem to be positive, there is a conspicuous decline in quality. I’ve still managed to compile a list.
So, let’s have a look at the top ten Malayalam films that graced screens this year.
A daring attempt by a bunch of newcomers, Lilli is effectively the first-of-its-kind survival thriller in Malayalam. Written and directed by debutant Prasobh Vijayan, ‘Lilli’ tells a disturbing story of a heavily pregnant woman getting kidnapped by three men. Though the movie failed at the box office, it was noted for the unabashed portrayal of violence and the performances.
9) Kammara Sambhavam
Another ambitious experiment that failed to reap the desired results. The movie directed by Rathish Ambat discussed about how history is rewritten by political parties for vested interests. Murali Gopy penned an unusual script with contrasting treatments for the two halves. One cannot assign a particular genre to this film, which has pre-independence drama, spoof elements and a dose of political satire as well. A praiseworthy mix-genre attempt.
8 ) Carbon
Venu’s Carbon is basically a self-realization story told in the disguise of an adventurous survival-thriller. The protagonist Sibi’s quest for making quick money lands him in a treasure hunt. But what he eventually finds is something more valuable than the treasure. Venu’s love for leaving things to the audience continues from ‘Munnariyippu’ and the open-ended climax here was widely talked about.
Kalidas Jayaram’s long-delayed debut vehicle as a lead actor is a film that earned extremely polar reviews. Despite being presented in a docu-drama style with a spirited performance from debutante Neeta Pillai, what I found most interesting is the how the movie discussed the importance of art in bringing together the youth to fight against the existing social evils. And not to forget the stellar soundtrack and nostalgia evoking youth festival portions. ‘Poomaram’ is special in many ways.
6) Hey Jude
Arguably the most light-hearted film in Shyamaprasad’s two-decade-long career, ‘Hey Jude’ explores the world of an autistic youngster, who is passionate about oceans and marine life. How love and understanding transforms Jude after he befriends his neighbor Crystal, who is suffering from bipolar disorder, and her neuropsychologist father is told pleasantly with good music and effective performances. It is a delightful story of love, healing and self discovery.
5) Swathanthryam Ardharathriyil
Tinu Pappachan’s directorial debut is probably the first full length prison-break movie in Malayalam cinema. Extraordinarily stylish making, kick-ass background score and the power-packed performances, all together gives a goosebumps inducing edge-of-the-seat thriller. We have only one proper ‘mass’ action entertainer in this list and that happens to be this Antony Varghese starrer.
Till the release of ‘Joseph’, I’m quite sure that not even a single person would have thought that a film with Joju George in the lead would make it to the list of top ten best movies of the year. But as it turned out to be, ‘Joseph’ has found a spot comfortably among the top five. Veteran Padmakumar’s classic old-school storytelling and Joju’s splendid performance makes ‘Joseph’ a thoroughly engaging family-drama cum thriller.
Amal Neerad’s ‘Varathan’ is heavily inspired from Sam Peckinpah’s ‘Straw Dogs’, but that doesn’t take away the fact that it is a thrilling survival story that’s very much relevant in today’s times. While enough has been said about the epic climax showdown, the tense drama that brews throughout is what makes it more effective. Fahadh Faasil, Sharafudheen, Aishwarya Lekshmi and Vijileesh take the cake.
2) Ee Maa Yau
This Lijo Jose Pellissery film is a genuine classic that has already won numerous awards at the regional and international level. An extraordinary piece of art that can proudly represent Malayalam cinema before a global audience. This gem of a film reaffirms the now popular statement- ‘local is international’.
1) Sudani From Nigeria
This tale of compassion and brotherhood is sure to melt your hearts regardless of your age and sensibilities. What initially comes off as a regular football-based story set in Malappuram soon takes a shift and addresses more important issues like refugee crisis, basic human compassion and communal harmony. In a world that’s alarmingly becoming intolerant and prejudiced, ‘Sudani From Nigeria’ is like a fresh breath of air that one would love to inhale and embrace the goodness in humans.