Onlookers Top 10: Here’s the list of the highest grossers of 2018
As 2019 has reached the doorsteps, its time to take a quick look back at how the Malayalam film industry fared this year. Commercially, the industry has seen an uprise over the last few years. Ever since ‘Pulimurugan’, the love for big scale films have only gone up and this year was no different. While quality is always the priority,a fim industry always needs box office hits for staying afloat. On that note, lets have a glance at the list of the biggest hits in Malayalam this year.
Note that the list is in no particular order.
2018 started off with the most unlikeliest of hits. A bunch of youngsters, both in the cast and crew, came up with a campus entertainer that struck a chord with the youth audience. Made on a shoestring budget, ‘Queen’ directed by Dijo Jose Antony emerged as the first box office hit of the year.
9. Aravindante Athidhikal
Malayali audiences’ love for feel-good films is well known and reaping the maximum benefits out of it this year was ‘Aravindante Athidhikal’. The classic tale of a son waiting for his long lost mother won hearts for the simplicity in story-telling, neat performances and pleasant music. Families thronged theatres in large numbers and helped it attain a theatrical run of over 100 days — a remarkable feat in today’s times.
8. Sudani From Nigeria
This has to be the most satisfying success of the year from a critic’s perspective. ‘Sudani From Nigeria’ is that rare top quality film that also reaped the desired commercial results. Debutant Zakariya weaved a heartwarming tale around a Malappuram-based local football club manager, his club’s African player and two lovely ummas. A truly deserving box office hit.
7. Njan Prakashan
Hitting screens hardly a week back, ‘Njan Prakashan’ has already managed to make it to the list of highest grossers of the year. That tells volumes about the audience reception. With the help of the incredibly talented Fahadh Faasil, the evergreen combo of Sathyan Anthikad and Sreenivasan have returned back to winning ways in style. Already running with late night extra shows, this one has all the potential for a hundred day run.
This Tovino Thomas starrer had to face several roadblocks before its release. It had to endure multiple postponing and eventually managed to find a release slot right after the disastrous floods. But the movie stood up against all the odds and emerged as a big hit. Lion’s share of the credits should go to the ‘Jeevamshamayi’ composer and of course the ‘trollans’, who made umpteen number of memes on smoking and a girl’s first kiss.
Pranav Mohanlal’s debut as a lead actor had tremendous pre-release hype and safe to say, it lived up to the expectations. A full-on action flick that impressed large section of the youth audience. With ‘Aadhi’, director Jeethu Joseph also tasted success in Malayalam five years after giving the record-breaking blockbuster, ‘Drishyam’.
Fahadh Faasil was not known for his box office pull as much he’s famous for his acting prowess. But with ‘Varathan’, he changed his game. Reuniting with his ‘Iyobinte Pusthakam’ director Amal Neerad, Fahadh delivered the biggest hit of his career. While critics and serious cinephiles still ponder over it, the climax 20-minute action block is the one that did wonders for the movie.
3. Abrahaminte Santhathikal
Another film that managed to live up to the massive pre-release expectations. Mammootty’s towering screen presence was the saviour of the film that otherwise had a pretty ordinary setting. Those who questioned the veteran star’s command over the box office had to eat their words after seeing the smashing response. A superstar film with decent reviews can set the cash registers ringing and ‘Abrahaminte Santhathikal’ proved the same.
31 countries. 3000+ screens. 3 languages. These were numbers unheard of for a Malayalam movie, but ‘Odiyan’ managed to achieve all that. A veteran ad filmmaker making his feature film debut, a National award winning scriptwriter, the ‘Iruvar’ duo’s reunion and above all a curiosity-raising subject that has hitherto been explored in Indian cinema. Alas, the sky-high expectations ended up as the albatross around Odiyan’s neck. When the D-day arrived, reviews were mixed and social medias witnessed heavy nitpicking. However, the backlash was mostly restricted to cyber space as family thronged theatres regardless of the reviews. After two weeks of its release, ‘Odiyan’ is still doing well at the domestic box office and is expected to continue the same in the coming days as well.
1. Kayamkulam Kochunni
When Nivin Pauly, Rosshan Andrrews, Bobby-Sanjay and Gokulam Gopalan first announced the project, eyebrows were raised by many who dismissed it off just another wannabe ‘Baahubali’. But the makers were very clear with their ideas and put their best possible efforts staying within the limits of the Malayalam industry. Mohanlal’s joining was a big booster and the movie soon became the cynosure of all eyes. With the release of each of his location stills, expectations rocketed and, needless to say, the makers delivered what they promised to the fans. A daring gamble to rope in a superstar to do an extended cameo in a rising young star’s film paid off and how well did it change the fortunes of the movie? Mohanlal as Ithikkara Pakki was the USP and the desi Robinhood’s story found takers among all age groups.
Kayamkulam Kochunni substantiated that spectacle heavy films can be made in Malayalam cinema. It’s huge success is definitely an inspiration for producers and aspiring filmmakers to dream big. Expanding the wings and pushing the limits is the way forward for the industry to thrive in this highly competitive arena.