Fits and Starts for Malayalam Cinema in 2017

Thiruvananthapuram: It was an eventful year for Malayalam film industry but, unfortunately, not in terms of creative output. The actress attack case and the incarceration of actor Dileep whittled the sheen of the industry during the second phase of 2017. The focus of ‘rubbernecks’ returned to films only after the release of “Ramaleela.” It’s true that during the tumultuous period of the case, a few good films struggled due to want of audience in cinemas. As per the Wikipedia, as many as 131 Malayalam films were released in 2017 and around 60 directors made their debut.

Among the newbies, the promising creative spark was exuded by only a few of them. Their films reverberated their longing for exploring human consciousness, which is in a quandary. These young filmmakers passionately portrayed the intricacies of the mind and the subtlety of conflicts. Most of them adopted a realistic path with a distinct presentation.


For me, Chandran Narikkode-directed “Paathi” was the most impressive film by a debutant last year. With the quasi-magical realism premise, the film tells the story of the hapless existence of Kammaran (Indrans), who gives a concoction for abortion in a remote village located in Kannur. The film is a noteworthy attempt by Chandran Narikkode in narrating a tale with sincerity and dedication.

The efforts of new directors prove that the decisive route to make good films is to take a journey through the minds of the characters to analyse their conflicts and emotions. Films of Anil Thomas (“Minnaminungu”), Jayan Vannery (“Ma Chu Ka”) and M.D. Sukumaran (“Passu”) underlines this notion. Mahesh Narayanan (“Take Off”) and Soubin Sahir (“Parava”) surprised us with their outstanding narrative skills, while Jay. K (“Ezra”), Domin D’Silva (“Paippin Chuvattile Pranayam”), Antony Sony (C/O Saira Banu”), and Arun Gopy (“Ramaleela”) showcased their prowess in filmmaking.


Marketing tools like teaser, first look poster and even first look motion poster were a rage in 2017 compared to the previous year. The popularity of the trailer became one of the pivotal factors in deciding the initial collection of a movie. Even then there is every chance of being misled by a riveting teaser or motion poster that has gone viral these days.

It was a disappointing year for veteran filmmakers and actors. Directors like Lal Jose and Sathyan Anthikad exposed the vacuum in their creative stable through their films. Mohanlal and Mammootty enjoyed a mediocre success in 2017. Albeit there were the usual hullabaloo in theatres during the initial days, their films were unable to create the usual impact. In fact, their characters had less room for exploiting their class. The solace (or misfortune?) is that their transition to larger-than-life hero image is growing rapidly.


Meanwhile, Fahad Faazil, Nivin Pauly, Kunchako Boban, Dulquer Salman, Tovino Thomas, Manju Warrier, Parvathy, Surabhi Lakshmi, Shane Nigam et al are ramping up their position in the industry irrespective of the commercial success of their films. Importantly, even in their flopped films, they had returned impressive roles. In December, Aashiq Abu’s Tovino starrer “Maayanadhi” offered the breeze of a poetic narration. It would be interesting to see if such breeze would blaze a new trail in the filmmaking in Malayalam in 2018.

Happy New Year!

Scorecard 2017

Top movies  Watchable Avoidable
1. Kaadu Pookkunna Neram 1. Paipin Chuvattile Pranayam 1. 6 Viralukal
2. Paathi 2. Aakashamittayi 2. Kaviyude Osyathu
3. Karutha Joothan 3. Villain 3. Sathya
4. Ma Chu Ka 4. Vimaanam 4. Himalayathile Kashmalan
5. Take Off 5. C/O Saira Banu 5. Vishwa Vikyatharaya Payyanmar
6. Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum 6. Aby 6. Pretham Undu Sookshikkuka
7. Mayaanadhi 7. Y 7. Basheerinte Premalekhanam
8. Kaattu 8. Sunday Holiday 8. Chicken Kokkachi
9. Minnaminungu 9. Ayal Sasi 9. Avarude Raavukal
10. Veeram 10. Clint 10. Team 5
11. Angamaly Diaries 11. Oru Mexican Aparatha 11. Thank You Very Much
12. Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu 12. Jomonte Suvisheshangal 12. Ayal Jeevichirippundu
13. Parava 13. 1971: Beyond Borders 13. Mannamkattayum Kariyilayum
14. Passu 14. Sakhavu 14. Chembarathipoo
15. Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol 15. Lakshyam 15. Kambhoji
16. Ezra 16. Ramante Edenthottam 16. Honey Bee 2
17. CIA – Comrade in America 17. Achayans
18. Gemini 18. Chunkzz
19. The Great Father 19. Fukri
20. Adventures of Omanakuttan 20. Pokkiri Simon
21. God Say 21. Sherlock Toms
22. Godha 22. Pareeth Pandari
23. Nawal Enna Jewel 23. Kadam Kadha
24. Crossroad 24. History of Joy
25. Varnyathil Aashanka 25. Cappuccino
26. Honey Bee 2.5 26. Matchbox
27. Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela 27. Thrissivaperoor Kliptham
28. Adam Joan 28. Tharangam
29. Udaharanam Sujatha 29. Sarvopari Palakkaran
30. Overtake 30. Vishwasapoorvam Mansoor
31. Ramaleela 31. Bobby
32. Sadrishavakyam 24:29 32. Alamara
33. Aadu 2 33. Oru Visheshapetta BiriyaniKissa
34. Aana Alaralodalaral 34. Lechmi
35. Georgettan’s Pooram
36. Puthan Panam
37. Role Models
38. Careful
39. Theeram
40. E
41. Velipadinte Pusthakam
42. Lavakusha
43. Goodalochana
44. Punyalan Private Limited
45. Masterpiece
46. Pullikkaran Staraa
47. Solo