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50 years of Mammootty: The megastar’s best films from the 80’s on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar
Akshay Krishna
Aug 04, 2021
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Mammootty is one of the two pillars of the Malayalam film industry and is arguably one of the greatest actors in the country. With immaculate control and nuanced acting, he is renowned for his acting prowess. Having acted in over 400 films in six languages, the fan-favourite actor has won three National Awards for Best Actor and seven Kerala State Awards in his illustrious career.

Mammootty started his acting career with his debut in Anubhavangal Paalichakal in 1971. However, it was in 1980 he got his first starring role with Mela, directed by the legendary K G George. 1980 to 1990 saw some of his most notable works and laid the foundation of what he would become. Thus started a dynasty of a star who seamlessly fused stardom and quality acting to scale the heights of cinema. 

As the megastar celebrates 50 years of cinema, we take a look at some of his great films released in the 80’s:

1
Mela - 1980
7.6OTTplay Rating
Written and directed by K G George, Mela was released in 1980 and was the first time Mammootty played a notable role in a movie. The film follows Raghu (Mela Raghu), a circus clown. Sharada (Anjali Naidu) marries the circus performer because of his wealth compared to that of her villagers. But after the marriage, things take a different turn when they reach the circus camp as Sharada develops feelings for Vijayan (Mammootty), a bike stunt performer in the circus.
2
Thaniyavarthanam
8.8OTTplay Rating
Written by A K Lohithadas and directed by Sibi Malayil, this drama told the story of a family in rural Kerala , who’s male members have a history of mental health conditions. The family also believes that one male member from every generation will have the same. The film discusses topics such as superstitions, orthodoxy in Kerala and attitude towards people with mental health conditions.
3
Yavanika
8.1OTTplay Rating
A classic by K G George, Yavanika is a mystery thriller. Considered one of the greatest investigative thrillers made in the Malayalam film industry, the story explores the drama within a travelling drama group. When Ayyappan (Bharath Gopi), the tabla player of the troupe goes missing, Sub Inspector Jacob Eeraly (Mammootty) is assigned the case who sets out to uncover the truth.
4
Athirathram
7.3OTTplay Rating
Athirathram, directed by I V Sasi is a movie that helped Mammootty achieve superstar status by playing Tharadas, the protagonist with a negative shade. Tharadas is a smuggler who is out to take revenge against Rajesh (Captain Raju) for killing his uncle. But when Rajesh is killed, people close to him decide to take on Tharadas.
5
Nirakkoottu
7.4OTTplay Rating
This drama directed by Joshiy follows Sasikala (Urvashi), a journalist who interviews Ravi Varma (Mammootty), a wealthy owner of an advertising company, who is sentenced to death for the murder of his wife, who is also Sasikala’s sister. However, before his sentence, Ravi Varma escapes prison and the truth about the murder comes to light.
6
Aavanazhi
7.7OTTplay Rating
Balram (Mammootty) also known as Karadi, is an honest police officer who turns into alcoholism after issues in his personal life and a failed affair of the heart. He is tasked with the mission of nabbing Satyaraj, who has committed a murder and is evading the police. Balram arrests Satyaraj, but he is acquitted from the court. Balram decided to take matters into his own hands.
7
New Delhi
8.3OTTplay Rating
This neo-noir thriller, written by Dennis Joseph and directed by Joshiy, became the highest grossing movie at the time after its release. The movie follows G Krishnamoorthy or GK (Mammootty), a cartoonist and investigative journalist who exposes two corrupt politicians. GK is wrongfully sentenced to prison and is tortured and becomes paralysed. But he has a plan for revenge and is ready to execute it.
8
Manivathoorile Aayiram Sivarathrikal
7.5OTTplay Rating
Directed by Fazil, this romantic drama follows Vineetha who goes to visit her grandfather in Ooty to attend the death anniversary of her mother, Neena (Suhasini) who died in an accident. There, she learns about the love story and marriage of her parents.
9
August 1
6.9OTTplay Rating
Directed by Sibi Malayil, the action thriller tells the story of Perumal, a crime branch officer. K G Ramachandran, known as KGR becomes the new chief minister of the state, but it foils the plans of many people, and they decide to assassinate him. When a killer is hired to do the deed, Perumal is assigned to stop him. A sequel to the movie came out in 2011 titled August 15.
10
Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha
8.8OTTplay Rating
Written by M T Vasudevan Nair, this epic historical drama is directed by Hariharan. The story is based on the Vadakkan Pattukal, a medieval ballad from the Malabar region. This cult classic is a reinterpretation of the life of Chandu Chekavar, where he is depicted as an unfortunate and honourable man rather than a traitor. The story of orphan Chandu (Mammootty), who is taken care of by his uncle, and his jealous cousin Aromal (Suresh Gopi) sets the scene for a gripping tale.
11
Oru CBI Diary Kurippu
8OTTplay Rating
This investigation thriller starts with SP Prabhakar Varma being summoned to investigate the suicide of Omana, the daughter in law of a wealthy businessman. Learning that it was a murder and not a suicide, it goes to the CBI and Sethurama Iyer is assigned the case. The following investigation makes up the movie, which has a cult following even today. The popularity of the movie meant it would get three sequels, making the CBI franchise.
12
Mathilukal
8.4OTTplay Rating
Directed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Mathilukal is based on Vaikkom Mohammed Basheer. The movie is an engaging love story set in a prison. Basheer (Mammootty) falls in love with Narayani (KPAC Lalitha), a female inmate of the neighbouring prison compound. While Narayani is never shown in the film, her voice is heard from across the walls. This is a romantic movie unlike many others.
13
Mrugaya
8.3OTTplay Rating
This I V Sasi movie takes place in a village that is frequently attacked by a man-eating leopard. The villagers hire Varunni (Mammootty), an uncouth, drunk hunter to deal with a leopard that has been taking lives in the village. Varunni accidentally kills one of the villagers and his life goes through a drastic change.


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