The Malayalam film industry continues to lead in creating films that were rich in nuance, exploring the depths of human experiences, and pushing the boundaries of artistic expression.
Last Updated: 09.08 AM, Jun 04, 2023
The first half of 2023 has been remarkable for the Malayalam film industry and its dedicated fanbase. The vibrant industry continues to lead in creating films that were rich in nuance, exploring the depths of human experiences, and pushing the boundaries of artistic expression. Regardless of budget, these movies have demonstrated ambition in both scope and scale, challenging the notion that a hefty budget is a prerequisite for creating cinematic spectacles.
The Malayalam filmmakers have continued to captivate audiences with their ability to weave compelling narratives that delve into the complexities of life. Each film is a testament to the industry's commitment to delivering thought-provoking stories that resonate with audiences on a profound level.
Here are the best Malayalam movies of the year (so far):
Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam:
Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam is an engrossing film that follows the journey of James, played brilliantly by Mammootty. After a pilgrimage trip to Velankanni, James experiences a mysterious transformation when he wakes up from a nap, embodying the life and memories of Sundaram, a Tamilian man. As his family and others look on in awe and confusion, James navigates the intricate complexities of living another person's life. The film beautifully explores the themes of identity and connection. Through James' unexpected transformation, we witness the power of human connection transcending language and cultural barriers. The film was directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery from a script penned by S. Hareesh. The movie is streaming on Netflix.
Thankam is an exceptional film directed by Saheed Arafath and written by Syam Pushkaran, known for his remarkable work in acclaimed movies like Maheshinte Prathikaaram and Kumbalangi Nights. This gripping investigative thriller takes audiences on a thrilling journey into the intricate web of the gold trade, exploring its culture, pleasures, risks, and rewards. Set in Thrissur, the renowned Gold Capital of India, the story revolves around Kannan, portrayed by Vineeth Sreenivasan, who carries a tainted reputation among his peers, with the exception of his loyal friend Muthu, played by Biju Menon. The narrative takes an intense turn when a massive consignment of gold goes missing, leading to a series of mysterious events, including the shocking death of a crucial character. As the plot unfolds, Thankam treats us to a captivating police procedural firmly rooted in reality. Marathi actor Girish Kulkarni leaves a lasting impression with his memorable portrayal. Thankam is streaming on Netflix.
Romancham breathes new life into the horror-comedy genre, offering a delightful departure from the usual over-the-top performances often associated with South Indian films in this category. This film stands out by embracing artistic integrity and infusing the narrative with a touch of nuance. The story revolves around a group of friends who, out of sheer boredom, decide to play with an Ouija board to pass the time. However, their innocent game takes an unexpected turn when it unwittingly opens the door to supernatural forces. As thrill-seeking youngsters delve deeper into their interactions with the ghostly realm, their lives begin to unravel in unimaginable ways. Romancham is streaming on Disney+Hotstar.
Thuramukham takes us on a compelling journey into the lives of Cochin harbour workers during the 1940s, exposing the inhumanity of the Chappa system and its impact on the transition to modern India. Directed, written, and shot by Rajeev Ravi, this technically brilliant film paints a vivid and gripping picture of the dark era in Kerala's history. The visual style of Thuramukham is a standout feature, effectively capturing the essence of the time and immersing the audience in the era's atmosphere of oppression and struggle. Rajeev Ravi's cinematography skillfully brings to life the harsh realities faced by the workers, highlighting their fight against an oppressive system that dehumanizes and exploits them. Nivin Pauly, Poornima Indrajith and Nimisha Sajayan shine in this movie. Thuramukham is streaaming on SonyLIV.
Don't let the title mislead you - Purusha Pretham may mean "Male Ghost," but it's far from a horror film. Instead, this captivating dark comedy takes a satirical aim at the Kerala police department. In an effort to preserve the dignity of unidentified dead bodies, the department uses the term "Pretham" (ghost) to refer to them, while shunning any other degrading terms. However, the irony lies in the stark contrast between this on-record sensitivity and the reality of the situation. Flipping the popular tropes of cop movies on their heads, Purusha Pretham exposes the underlying deception in many Indian police films. It questions the authenticity of the heroic narratives we often encounter and sheds light on the true complexities and contradictions within the law enforcement system. This movie is streaming SonyLIV and OTTplay Premium.
Pachuvum Athbutha Vilakkum:
In Pachuvum Athbutha Vilakkum, our protagonist, Pachu, brilliantly portrayed by Fahadh Faasil, stumbles upon a genie lamp in the form of the vibrant 71-year-old Laila, played by a wonderful Viji Venkatesh. What follows is a heartwarming exploration of relationships and the quest to reclaim lost innocence. The film skillfully avoids excessive melodrama, instead allowing its characters to convey profound sadness, loss, pain, and enduring struggles with grace and dignity. It invites us to reflect on the importance of reconnecting with our own inner child, the innocence and wonder that can bring light to our lives. This film is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
2018 is a poignant and powerful film inspired by the true events that unfolded during the catastrophic floods in Kerala. The movie portrays the torrential monsoon rains that engulfed the state, leaving a trail of destruction, and loss of life, and affecting millions of people. Amid the devastation, 2018 goes beyond the flood itself, exploring profound underlying themes that emerge in the face of adversity. As the calamity unfolds, all human conflicts and egos dissolve, and the people of Kerala come together as one united front, transcending their backgrounds and differences. The film captures the indomitable spirit of the people, showcasing the resilience and unwavering determination that emerges when faced with unimaginable challenges. Written and directed by Jude Anthany Joseph, the movie stars Tovino Thomas, Kunchacko Boban, Asif Ali, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Aparna Balamurali, Kalaiyarasan, Narain, Lal, Indran, and Aju Varghese. It will become available for streaming on SonyLIV on June 7. You can also stream this movie on