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Moothon to Sara’s: 6 Malayalam movies that boldly take on hush-hush topics

Shilpa S

Shilpa S
Jul 13, 2021

Even as a state that boasts of the highest literacy rate in the country, Kerala is still guilty of regressive practices in several spheres. Several orthodox customs still pop up in the state under the guise of ‘tradition’ and ‘culture’. Here is a list of six Malayalam films that do not shy away from taking on controversial, but socially relevant subjects that you can add to your watch list:

7.9OTTplay Rating
Human trafficking, same-sex relations, prostitution, drug dealing and lost love- Moothon manages to seamlessly weave all of these elements into a single gripping film. The story of a young man from Lakshadweep to the mainland in search of his long lost brother, the film beautifully depicts the nuances and, at times frustrations, of familial bonds. It is also an ode to forbidden love, still stigmatised in the face of a largely conformist society.
The Great Indian Kitchen
8.6OTTplay Rating
Depicting the strenuous, yet monotonous lives led by Indian housewives tethered to their household kitchens, this film also explores themes of how a married woman’s autonomy is negatively affected in a deeply patriarchial society. Nimisha Sajayan gives a strong performance of the nameless lead character, whose dignity is trod upon by her own husband and in-laws, all in the name of ‘how things have always been’.
7.9OTTplay Rating
A young woman’s ambition of becoming a pilot is destroyed when her obsessive boyfriend attacks her with acid, leaving her disfigured and partially blind. Trying to navigate her new life as an acid attack survivor, she still clutches onto remnants of her old dream. Uyare was both a critical and commercial success, with a star-studded cast including Parvathy Thiruvothu, Tovino Thomas and Asif Ali.
6.9OTTplay Rating
Being ‘child-free’ by choice is never a welcome concept in Indian society, especially when the person entertaining the thought is a woman. The Jude Anthany Joseph film deals with this hush-hush topic, in a way that is bold and surprisingly fresh. The film does not dance around, depicting the enormous societal pressure women face without any restraint, imparting valuable life lessons about being firm in one’s convictions in the process.
Njan Marykutty
7.4OTTplay Rating
In the midst of a host of movies where cross dressers and depiction of trans people are played for laughs, Njan Marykutty is a breath of fresh air. The movie follows the story of Marykutty, a trans woman whose dream is to become a police officer. She also longs to get gender-affirming surgery. When Marykutty returns to her family to pursue her goals, she is shunned. The movie details the hardships a trans person has to go through at the hands of a narrow-minded society.
6.9OTTplay Rating
Set against the backdrop of a blatantly casteist and racist society, Kismath explores the struggles of a young couple, defiant in their love. Anita is a 28-year old Hindu girl belonging to the scheduled caste; Irfan is a 23-year old Muslim boy. The two fall in love, and the differences in their ages and religious background present more than a few difficulties. The couple’s attempts to rise above these struggles, form the crux of the story.
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