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Mammootty in Kaathal The Core, Anaswara Rajan in Neru, and more: 10 Best performances of Malayalam cinema in 2023

Here we present the 10 best performances of Malayalam cinema in 2023, including Mammootty in Kaathal The Core, Anaswara Rajan in Neru, Joju George in Iratta, and others.

Mammootty in Kaathal The Core, Anaswara Rajan in Neru, and more: 10 Best performances of Malayalam cinema in 2023
Anaswara Rajan in Neru, Mammootty and Jyotika in Kaathal The Core

Last Updated: 10.09 PM, Dec 29, 2023


The Malayalam film industry had a fantastic run in both the theatres and OTT space in 2023, with back-to-back notable films. It is safe to say that the industry contributed some of the best entries, into the list of finest films produced by the Indian cinema, this year. Along with the extraordinary critical acclaim, the industry also had a fantastic run at the box office. When it comes to the performances, both the senior actors and newcomers equally shined in 2023.

Here are the 10 best performances of Malayalam cinema in 2023 (in no particular order). Have a look...

Mammootty in Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam and Kaathal The Core


The veteran actor, who has been going through the most exciting phase of his career, stunned the cine-goers with back-to-back powerful performances in 2023. Mammootty’s extraordinary transformation as James, who wakes as a Tamilian named Sundaram after a short nap in Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam is one of the best performances we witnessed this year. Later, the megastar surprised the audiences with his powerful and brilliantly restrained portrayal of Mathew Devassy, a closet homosexual, in Jeo Baby’s Kaathal The Core.

Joju George in Iratta

The talented actor, who has been receiving immense love from the audiences with his acting skills, delivered one of the finest performances of his career in Iratta. This spine-chilling thriller which is helmed by Rohith MG Krishnan, featured Joju George in the roles of DYSP Pramod and his twin brother, ASI Vinod Kumar. As always, Joju left a deep impact on the audience with his nuanced portrayal of the twin brothers, who bear the unhealed wounds of their troubled childhoods, but are still drastically different from each other.

Jyotika in Kaathal The Core

The popular star made a comeback to Malayalam cinema after over two decades with Kaathal The Core. Jyotika delivered one of the finest performances of her acting career as Omana, a simple Malayali woman who files for divorce stating that her husband is a homosexual, in the movie. The actress played the author-backed role which had minimal dialogues to near perfection and won the hearts of the audiences. Special kudos to actress Jomol, who dubbed for Jyotika in the Jeo Baby directorial.

Anaswara Rajan in Neru

The young actress has been receiving rave reviews for her powerful portrayal of Sara, the blind sculptor in the recently released Mohanlal starrer Neru. Especially Anaswara Rajan’s stellar performance in some of the most important scenes of the Jeethu Joseph directorial, including her highly emotional climax scene with veteran actor Siddique, confirm that she is a talent to watch out for.

Tovino Thomas in 2018

This Jude Anthany Joseph directorial emerged as the highest-grossing Malayalam film to date, thanks to its powerful narration of 2018’s Kerala floods. When it comes to the stellar star cast of 2018, it was Tovino Thomas who played the role of ex-army man Anoop, who left a lasting impression. The talented actor made his character memorable with a subtle yet powerful performance and earned immense love from the viewers.

Vincy Aloshious in Rekha

The Kerala State Film Award winner delivered a terrific performance as the titular character Rekha, in this Jithin Issac directorial. Vincy Aloshious portrayed the role of a simple Malayali young woman who is wronged by her lover in the revenge drama. The actress’s balanced performance, which narrated the inner turmoil of her character with absolute conviction, held the movie together.

Biju Menon in Thankam

The senior actor, as always, delivered a brilliant performance in the role of Muthu, a gold agent from Thrissur in Thankam which is helmed by Saheed Arafath and penned by Syam Pushkaran. Biju Menon’s effortlessness when it comes to the portrayal the of character, who is a flawed yet relatable man, who has a touch of relatability and innocence, deserves great applause.

Darshana Rajendran in Purusha Pretham

The actress, who has already made a mark in the Malayalam film industry delivered yet another incredible performance as Susanna in Purusha Pretham. Darshana Rajendran’s subtle yet intricate portrayal of the woman who hides quite a few secrets is a treat to watch in this well-made dark comedy movie, which is helmed by Krishand.

Basil Joseph in Kadina Kadoramee Andakadaham

The multi-faceted talent has already proved his mettle as an actor with notable performances recently. Basil Joseph delivered an endearing performance as Bachu, a young man from a coastal Kerala village, in Kadina Kadoramee Andakadaham helmed by Muhashin. His mature and subtle portrayal made Bachu and his struggles, more relatable. It also suggests that Basil is going to shine more as an actor in the coming years.

Dileesh Pothan in O.Baby

This Ranjan Pramod directorial featured actor-director Dileesh Pothan as the titular character O.Baby aka Othayathu Baby, the manager of an estate. He delivered a remarkable performance as the loyal and dutiful manager, who shares a warm bond with his family and doesn’t refrain from showing his lighter side to them. This is one of the best performances by the actor-director, so far.

Best newcomers - Abhirami Bose in Pheonix and Haniya Nafisa in O.Baby

Pheonix marked the Malayalam cinema debut of Abhirami Bose, who is an FTII Alumnus. The young actress portrayed the yearning of her character Anna, an orphaned young woman who was separated from her lover Freddy, with absolute conviction. Abhirami is here to stay.

Haniya Nafisa, who played the role of Mini in O.Baby is another talented newcomer who made her debut in 2023. The young actress instantly connected with the audience with her onscreen presence, and is clearly a natural performer. Waiting to watch her in more films.

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