Best Malayalam Movies of 2016
Malayalam cinema is going through a glorious phase with many quality movies hitting the screens in 2016 and here we have listed down the finest movies of the year.
Note that the below given list is not in the order of any rating.
Maheshinte Prathikaram (Authenticity at it’s peak)
Fahad Fazil returned back to winning ways with his endearing performance in Maheshinte Prathikaram. The movie was the debut directorial of Dileesh Pothan. Maheshinte Prathikaram was the story of a man’s sweet revenge told with spontaneous humour, subtle emotions in the backdrop of the picturesque Idukki. Shyam Pushkaran’s no-nonsense writing, Dileesh Pothen’s meticulously detailed filmmaking (popularly called as Pothettan’s brilliance) and Shyju Khalid’s realistic frames were all backed with terrific performances from Fahadh Faasil, Alencier Ley, Soubin Shahir, Aparna Balamurali and many other uncredited actors. Maheshinte Prathikaram turned out into a blockbuster success and had a theatrical run of 100 days.
Action Hero Biju (A never before seen cop story)
Nivin Pauly after the all time blockbuster Premam decided to don the khakis for the first time in his career and the result was Action Hero Biju (AHB). Nivin Pauly portrayed the role of SI Biju Paulose, a forthright and outspoken police officer. AHB was poles apart from the usual cop stories centering around a single murder investigation. The movie was truly a revelation that showed the other side of a police officer’s day to day life from having to deal with petty eve teasing cases to turning one on one with dreaded criminals. Though the movie received negative response initially, it gradually picked up at the box office thanks to the good word of mouth and the right promotions from the makers. Action Hero Biju also had a theatrical run of over 100 days.
Kammattipadam (Mollywood’s answer to Gangs of Wasseypur)
When ace filmmaker Rajeev Ravi joined hands with young star Dulquer Salmaan for a movie, that too a gangster story, expectations were obviously on the higher side. But the movie was not a run of the mill gangster story. It was about friendship, the discrimination faced by the Dalit community and showed us the reality of how Kochi city was urbanised on the grounds of Kammattipadam. The layered narrative, top-notch detailing and the stunning performances of the lead actors are still the topic of discussion in many social media pages. Debutant Manikandan Achari and Vinayakan overshadowed lead actor Dulquer Salmaan with their mind blowing performances as Balan and Ganga. With zero squeezed in comedy track, glitzy songs or romance, Kammatipadam is regarded one of the finest regional movies to have released in Indian cinema in 2016.
Anuraga Karikkin Vellam (true to the name, a sweet tale of relationships)
Eventhough Asif Ali was part of many good movies, a solo hit kept eluding him for a long time. But then he finally found gold with Anuraga Karikkin Vellam. The movie directed by debutant Khalid Rahman was a clean family entertainer set in the urban milieu. Asha Sharath’s refined performance as the homemaker, Biju Menon as the fierce yet good at heart Raghu, Soubin Shahir’s instinctive one-liners were the plus points of the movie. But what towered above them was all was debutante Rajisha Vijayan’s adorable performance as Eli. With her debut movie itself, Rajisha made a lasting impact on the viewers mind for which she should be thankful to scribe Naveen Bhaskar who smartly sketched her character. The movie produced by August Cinemas was a big commercial success.
Kismath (Throws light on the caste politics in our society)
Kismath was a love story inspired from real life incidents that happened in Ponnani. Directed by debutant Shanavas K Baavakutty, the movie had Shane Nigam and Shruthy Menon in the lead roles. Kismath discussed about a love story between a Muslim boy and a Dalit girl. The makers didn’t shy away from discussing about the ugly caste politics prevailing in a so-called educated and forward society like Kerala’s. The movie was critically acclaimed with unanimous appreciation for the lead cast. Kismath also received great word of mouth from the audience helping in a fair run in the theatres. Kismath was selected for screening at the 21st IFFK.
Ozhivudivasathe Kali (a tight slap on the social hypocrisies and colour prejudices)
Ozhivudivasathe Kali was based on a short story of the same name written by Unni R. The movie was also screened in many film festivals across the country. The movie found no buyers for a theatrical release before director Aashiq Abu took up the initiative and released the film in limited number of theatres. Directed by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, the movie won the Kerala State Award for the best movie (2015). Interestingly, the entire second half of the movie was filmed in a single shot. Ozhivudivasathe Kali discussed issues like political corruption, caste prejudices and colour discrimination.
Lens (best thriller in recent times)
Lens directed by Jayaprakash Radhakrishnan was a thriller which discussed about the travails of social media. The director himself played the lead role in the movie. Made on a shoe string budget the Lal Jose came forward and distributed the film. Many filmmakers like Vineeth Sreenivasan and Vetrimaran had words of praise for the movie. The audience have tagged Lens as one of the best thrillers ever made in Mollywood.
Pulimurugan (historic is the word)
When Vyskah announced about a big budget movie with Mohanlal in the lead role playing a wild hunter, expectations had no limits. Released amidst unprecedented hype, the movie went on to become a sensational blockbuster. Pulimurugan became the first ever Malayalam movie to enter the 100 crore club. To say the least, Pulimurugan has rewritten the various perceptions about Malayalam movies. Inspired by gargantuan success of Pulimurugan, many Malayalam movies are now being on bigger canvas. If at all there was one man who could change the course of Malayalam movies, it had to be Mohanlal. At the age of 56, the actor performed action sequences that was far beyond imagination even for the younger crop of actors. He proved the naysayers wrong and singlehandedly brought glory to the industry, generally branded as a breeding ground for art house movies.
Aanandam (Revisit to the best days of one’s life – college years)
Debut director, seven new faces, debut composer, two film old cinematographer and a host of other youngsters in the technical department. These set of youngsters worked hand in hand to bring out a candy-coated tale of college days. True to the title, the movie was all about happiness and the freshness in the team reflected on the movie as well. Debutant Ganesh Raj’s ability to extract the maximum out of his unripe crew is indeed commendable. Good performances, heavenly songs, splendid cinematography and flawless editing ensured that the movie finds it’s name in the best of 2016 list. Due credits for Vineeth Sreenivasan also for supporting the youngsters by funding the movie.
Guppy (Rare gem that remained hidden)
Guppy was without any doubt the most unfortunate movie of 2016. It is the best possible example for what could happen if you don’t promote the movie rightly. An excellent piece of cinema that deserved to be on the winning side but lamentably could not. Debutant John Paul George’s skilled writing and direction brought on celluloid a beautiful piece of art sans any forced commercial gimmicks. Master Chethan and Tovino Thomas as the leads were outstanding especially the former who is expected to grab quite a few awards for for his performance. Girish Gangadharan’s visuals and Vishnu Vijay’s music set the tone right for the movie. Regrets after the DVD release did no good for the producer.
There were other successful movies like Oppam, Jacobinte Swargarajyam, Kali, Kattappanayile Rithwik Roshan and Pretham which once again reiterates the fact that Malayalam cinema is going from strength to strength.
If given a closer look, apart from Pulimurugan, all the other movies had youngsters in the lead and the 7 film old Vysakh is the most experienced director in the list. This is a real positive sign for the Malayalam film industry going into 2017.
(Please note that the list is purely based on the author’s personal)