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Malaikottai Vaaliban and Chaaver to King of Kotha and 2018: Most-anticipated Malayalam movies of 2023

From movies of Mohanlal and Mammootty to Prithviraj Sukumaran and Tovino Thomas, here’s the list of top 10 most-anticipated Malayalam movies this year

Malaikottai Vaaliban and Chaaver to King of Kotha and 2018: Most-anticipated Malayalam movies of 2023
Most anticipated Malayalam movies of 2023
  • Sanjith Sidhardhan

Last Updated: 04.06 AM, Jan 03, 2023

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Last year was a roller-coaster ride for Malayalam cinema. While some of the most anticipated films such as Aaraattu and Gold tanked, films such as Bheeshmaparvam and Hridayam left an indelible mark at the box office. Movies such as Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey, Nna Thaan Case Kodu and Thallumaala not just surprised everyone with their content but also created a huge furore at the box office, setting the cash registers ringing.

In 2023, the list of most-anticipated movies features the ones with superstars such as Mohanlal, Mammootty, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Tovino Thomas and Dulquer Salmaan – but how many will rewrite box office records? While we wait for the verdict, here’s our list of some of the most-awaited Malayalam releases this year.

2018

The floods of 2018 united Kerala like nothing before and gave rise to heroes across the State. Director Jude Anthany Joseph has undertaken the Herculean journey to make this into a film, starring Tovino Thomas, Kunchacko Boban, Aparna Balamurali, Asif Ali, Naren, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Lal and a host of others. Recreating the sets and reliving the relief efforts, the cast pushed through to ensure that the movie does justice to the real-life events. It’s a given that people will rush to theatres when 2018 releases this year.

Aadujeevitham

Prithviraj Sukumaran and AR Rahman on the sets of Aadujeevitham
Prithviraj Sukumaran and AR Rahman on the sets of Aadujeevitham

It wouldn’t be too wrong to say that a Blessy directorial is an emotion. But his upcoming film Aadujeevitham, he would attest, has taken him over a decade of blood, sweat and tears. The movie, based on Benyamin’s renowned eponymous novel, is hugely awaited and Prithviraj Sukumaran has hinted that the film will premiere at a major international film festival before it makes its way to theatres in 2023. With AR Rahman’s music and a visual experience on par with international standards, Aadujeevitham could very well be worth the wait.

Ajayante Randam Moshanam

Always count on Tovino Thomas to step up and surprise. Director Jithin Lal had announced the movie in 2020, but the big budget 3D film couldn’t go on floors on account of the pandemic. However, it turned out for the best as the actor’s popularity has soared since Minnal Murali and rest assured, the team has been going the whole nine yards to ensure that the audience is treated to an experience like none other in this period epic that has Tovino essaying three characters in three different time periods. Krithi Shetty, Aishwarya Rajesh, Basil Joseph and Surabhi Lakshmi are also part of the cast.

Chaaver

Chaaver poster and Kunchacko Boban
Chaaver poster and Kunchacko Boban

Director Tinu Pappachan, whose directorials Ajagajantharam and Swathanthryam Ardharathriyil redefined the action genre in Malayalam, will be pushing the envelope further, with his biggest movie yet. Based on Joy Mathew’s script, the film has Kunchacko Boban, Antony Varghese and Arjun Ashokan in the lead and is touted to be an adrenaline-thumping ride from start to finish.

Christopher

Director B Unnikrishnan and scriptwriter Udaykrishna’s stocks might not be high, especially after their previous outing Aaraattu was a disaster. However, the trailer of the investigative thriller Christopher, which has Mammootty essaying the role of a vigilante cop, hints at the makers working overtime to ensure that they have upgraded their script to ensure that it appeals to today’s youth and also ensure Mammootty’s successful run continues. The movie is also loaded to the brim with a cast featuring Aishwarya Lekshmi, Sarathkumar, Amala Paul, Sneha, Dileesh Pothan and Vinay Rai.

King of Kotha

Dulquer Salmaan in the first-look poster of King of Kotha
Dulquer Salmaan in the first-look poster of King of Kotha

It’s been a while since Dulquer Salmaan has done a straight Malayalam theatrical film. Since his previous blockbuster Kurup, which broke a lot of box office records, the actor’s popularity has soared across the country and that will bode well for Abhilash Joshiy’s gangster thriller King of Kotha, which also has Gokul Suresh, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Chemban Vinod Jose and Rithika Singh. This could also be the ‘mass’ film from Malayalam that could win pan-Indian attention like KGF and Vikram did for Kannada and Tamil, respectively.

Malaikottai Vaaliban

Lijo Jose Pellissery and Mohanlal and (right) Title poster of Malaikottai Valibhan
Lijo Jose Pellissery and Mohanlal and (right) Title poster of Malaikottai Valibhan

The collaboration between the legend and the phenomenon – that’s how the makers of Lijo Jose Pellissery and Mohanlal’s film had announced the title of the movie. The highly-anticipated project is touted to be a big-budget period film, set in Rajasthan, and having Mohanlal essay the role of a wrestler. The movie also has some of the best actors across the country including Danish Sait, Sonalee Kulkarni and Rajpal Yadav with Vidyut Jammwal rumoured to be roped in as the antagonist.

Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam

Technically, Lijo Jose Pellissery’s film premiered last year. But so much was the positive response after its IFFK premiere that the makers had to take to their social media page to guarantee that the film will release in theatres, unlike Lijo’s previous movie Churuli. Those who got to see the movie during the film festival rated Mammootty’s performance in the drama, about a man being possessed by another’s soul, as his finest of 2022 – which is high praise considering he had Puzhu, Rorschach and Bheesha Parvam last year.

Neelavelicham

Posters of Rima Kallingal and Tovino Thomas' characters from Neelavelicham
Posters of Rima Kallingal and Tovino Thomas' characters from Neelavelicham

Say what you may, director Aashiq Abu keeps pushing limits with his movies. For his latest venture, the filmmaker has chosen to remake a Malayalam classic based on Vaikom Muhammed Basheer’s eponymous story. Starring Tovino Thomas, Roshan Mathew, Shine Tom Chacko and Rima Kallingal, the period film set in the 1960s is the filmmaker’s take on the story and promises stellar performances from its cast.

Ram

Mohanlal and Jeethu Joseph during the shoot of Ram
Mohanlal and Jeethu Joseph during the shoot of Ram

Drishyam duo Mohanlal and Jeethu Joseph will be returning with not just one but two instalments of Ram this year. The action-thriller has Mohanlal essaying a globe-trotting hero, who is “pan-world”, according to the director. Also starring Trisha, Adil Ibrahim, Indrajith Sukumaran and Samyuktha Menon, the film has Morocco, Tunisia, London and Israel as its main locations and features some of the most stylishly choreographed action scenes in Malayalam cinema.

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