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International Friendship Day: Janeman to Dear Friend, these Malayalam films celebrated new-age friendships

In the past few years, Malayalam film industry has comes out with several films such as Super Sharanya and Hridayam that explored the various facets of friendships

International Friendship Day: Janeman to Dear Friend, these Malayalam films celebrated new-age friendships
  • Sanjith Sidhardhan

Last Updated: 07.04 AM, Aug 07, 2022


From fleeting relationships that are forged only to meet selfish aims to lasting bonds that shape your personality and help you help you find your voice, friendships have several facets and of late, filmmakers in Malayalam cinema have mined deep into this to bring out brilliant films that people across age groups and background could relate to.

While in the past, the makers tried to use friendships between its lead characters to make for good comedic moments such as films in Nadodikattu and In Harihar Nagar, since the turn of millennium, movies including Notebook, Classmates and Premam also depicted the changing nature of these bonds. Here’s a look at some of the recent Malayalam films that celebrated and embraced new-age friendships, warts and all.

Dear friend
There’s probably no other Malayalam film that captured the essence of today’s friendships in urban cities than Dear Friend. The movie revolves around a group of friends, essayed by Tovino Thomas, Basil Joseph, Darshana Rajendran, Sanchana Natarajan, Arjun Radhakrishnan and Arjun Lal, who are united with the cause of founding a start-up. Cracks soon develop in this supposed close-knit group after one of them goes missing, revealing secrets that they thought they never kept from each other and doubting each other’s intentions.
Vineeth Sreenivasan’s Hridayam is as much about the protagonist’s love as it is about his friendships. The movie is a coming-of-age story that is split into two chapters of Arun Neelakandan’s life – his time during his college years and the phase after that when he finds a secure profession, gets married and becomes a father. Throughout his second phase, Pranav Mohanlal’s Arun looks back at the people that helped him become who he is – from his close buddy Antony, who he meets on his very first journey to KC Tech, and his college sweetheart Darshana to his inspiration Selva and his best friend and wife Nithya.
In an age of isolation and longing, Chidambaram’s Jan.E.Man depicted new-age friendships in all its glory through a dark comedy that draws contrast between a birthday party celebration and a funeral – happening in neighbouring houses. The movie begins with Ganapathi’s Dr Faizal organising a party for his old school friend Joymon (Basil Joseph) who comes from Canada to Kochi to celebrate his 30th birthday. But Dr Faizal chooses the house of another unwilling friend, Sambath, as the venue. Soon, the party turns out to be a reunion of old school buddies with a famous TV star, a dreaded goon and even Sambath’s old crush turning up. The differing personalities and misunderstandings give way for comedy, but the movie also makes us value our relationships.
Super Sharanya
While there have been several movies in Malayalam that showcased life of male college students, Super Sharanya told the story from the perspectives of its titular character Sharanya and her friends. It’s a coming-of-age story of a girl from a village in Palakkad who joins an engineering college in Thrissur. But over the years, her group of friends including the belligerent and protective Sona Thomas have a profound influence on helping her find her voice. We also get to see how her boyfriend Deepu’s friends too have a hilarious role to play in all of this.
Jayasurya’s Sunny is mostly a single-actor film about an NRI, who has suffered personally and financially, returning to Kerala and having to quarantine at a hotel during the pandemic. As Sunny prepares to end the misery, a group of strangers – a hotel mate staying on the floor above, a cop who calls to routinely check in on his condition and a psychiatrist who helps him look at the brighter side. Ranjith Sankar’s movie explores the impact that positive words and emotions have on people who feel isolated and depressed in today’s society. It’s a film that a lot of people can relate to and teaches us to never take our friendships – no matter how fleeting – for granted.
Love Action Drama
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In this romcom entertainer starring Nivin Pauly and Nayanthara, writer-director Dhyan Sreenivasan showcases several friendships and their influence on its lead pair. In fact, it starts out with Nivin’s Dineshan falling for Shobha, the best friend of his ex-lover. While Shobha’s best friend is Priya gives her practical advice to follow, Dineshan’s buddy Sagar is the quintessential bad influence that everyone’s parents and partners ask them to be wary about, and it’s hardly any wonder that Sagar’s tips to woo Shobha does more damage than help.