15 Malayalam Movies which I want the World to Watch (Drama)


***Spoilers all over***

15 . Sukrutham (1994)

A successful journalist plunges into depression after knowing that he has blood cancer.He sees no hope in life and prepares himself for dying.He even tells his wife to get closer to their friend,who had a crush on her for a long time,so that she gets a life once he is gone.It is then he undergoes a holistic treatment and that makes him a new person with full optimism and an urge to live.But when he comes back during the recovery stage,he confronts the stark truth.His wife is unhappy,his relatives are unhappy and his childhood crush who was serving him is unhappy too.He realizes that all the love and sympathy the people had showed were only because he was about to die.The heartbreaking scene is when he sees his own obituary kept ready in his newspaper office. Mammootty plays the protagonist role without any glitch.The film won National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam.

14. Bharatham (1991)

It was after watching this movie that I started loving classical music.The movie tells the story of a classical music family.Nedumudi Venu plays the elder brother and Mohanlal plays the role of the younger brother.The movie shows the emotional bonding of closely knit family relationships.The story becomes serious when the elder brother slips into alcoholism and to save the face the younger brother sings at the concert.The elder brother accuses the younger one to be an opportunist when the latter shot to fame and appreciation.The movie takes a turn when the elder brother goes missing to be found later as dead.The second half of the movie is the emotional struggle of the younger brother to hide the elder brother’s demise as their sister is getting married the next day.Mohanlal won the National Award for Best Actor for his role as Kalloor Gopinathan.The songs are too good that K.J.Yesudas won the National Award for Best Singer too.I love the keerthanam Raghuvamsapathe which is in the ragam Shankarabharanam.The keerthanam was a masterpiece from the music director Raveendran as he wrote it.

13. Kaliyattam (1997)

Inspired from the William Shakespeare’s play Othello,Kaliyattam deals with suspicion and back stabbing.The movie is set against the backdrop of the Hindu Theyyam performance and Suresh Gopi plays the protagonist Kannan as a Theyyam artist.The movie is very beautifully written and directed.This movie introduced Lal as an actor and his performance as Paniyan ,that too in a debut role,was simply amazing.The movie starts with Kannan marrying Tamara,the daughter of the village head, against the latter’s wish.The village head is played by Narendra Prasad who is a very powerful actor.He says to Kannan that if his daughter could cheat her own Father,then she might cheat her Husband too.Kannan’s right arm,Paniyan plants seeds of suspicion in Kannan’s mind about Tamara.Suresh Gopi has portrayed the Theyyam artist with sheer brilliance winning the National Award for Best Actor.

12. Deshadanam (1996)

Mothers in Kerala cried as much as they could after watching this movie.The movie revolves around a Namboothiri family.The movie deals with the personal pains of the family when they had to sent the family’s only child to a monastery.The songs are soulful and capture the depth of the heartache of the parents.My favorite scene is when the boy comes home after the ceremonies in the monastery. According to the rules,after the ceremony the kid is a spiritual person without any family ties but the boy is too young to understand the concept.He runs to his Mother calling “Amma” and she kneels down to show her respect to the boy.This broke my heart and I couldn’t resist my tears.

11. Bhoothakannadi (1997)

The beauty of this movie cannot be explained in ten sentences.Even today,critics and movie researchers write pages and pages of appreciation.A masterpiece from Lohithadas. This movie is a must watch one for the passionate movie lovers.The realization of the protagonist shown in the climax will remain a big pain your heart.My advice would be not to read the plot of the movie before watching.And of course Lohithadas won National Award for Best Director Debut.

10. Paithrukam (1993)

This movie might make an atheist believe in God.I love the dialogs in this movie especially the ones between Nadrendra Prasad who plays the Father and Suresh Gopi who plays the eldest son.The movie is about the disagreements about the principles and beliefs of a vedic scholar Father and an atheist son.Though I disagree with certain things shown in the movie,I can’t stop watching it.I lost count on the number of times I have watched this movie simply because of my love for the way the movie is taken.A personal favorite of mine.The rendered version of the keerthanam Seethakalyana is beautiful.

9. Sadayam (1992)

I was scared to go out of the house for many days after watching this movie.For the first time I was scared of Mohanlal.He plays the role of a convict and the movie shows his reason for killing them.

8. Vidheyan (1993)

I don’t like this movie because Mammootty has acted too well as Bhaskara Patelar and his looks haunt me still. Mammootty went on to win so many awards including National Award for Best Actor.He plays the role of a selfish,cold and pervert landlord.He is bloody cold in this movie that I wanted to kill him getting into the screen.What an amazing actor he is.Respect!

7. Kireedam (1989)

The movie which we, Keralites, are very proud of,yes indeed very proud of.The movie which made Mohanlal the King of Malayalam cinema then.The movie which showed what an actor Thilakan is.You will start believing in fate after watching this movie.You ask any Malayalee,Kireedam and the song Kaneer poovinte will be always their evergreen movie and song respectively.Kireedam shows the life of Sethumadhavan played by Mohanlal who had to kill a criminal to save his Father, who is a policeman,from getting attacked.And his life goes upside down.One of the best scripts from Lohithadas.

6. Mathilukal (1989)

Both the novel and the movie are incredible.The movie is an adaptation of the novel by the same title written by Vaikom Muhammad Basheer. The novel is said to be autobiographical one and talks about the prison life of Basheer. Mammootty plays the role of Basheer.This is one movie in which there is no female cast.The movie revolves around Basheer falling in love with a woman prisoner who is on the other side of the wall.They never see each other but talk across the prison wall.The woman prisoner is shown as a voice over.Then they come up with a plan to meet but before that Basheer gets released.The movie won four National Awards including Best Actor Award for Mammootty,Best Director Award for Adoor Gopalakrishnan and many international awards too.This movie is a classic and unique example of how we can make a love story without rosy visuals,erotic dialog and even without showing a female on the reel.This movie is awesome.

5. Nizhalkuthu (2002)

The plot is so profound that every scene lingers in you for days.The story is about the hangman in the Travancore,British India.The movie revolves around the life of a hangman.The guilty feeling of hanging an innocent man is pictured in raw.While watching,you tend to sink in too much for the hangman’s emotional struggle and yes,the movie is very disturbing.The performance by Oduvil Unni Krishnan as Kaliyappan is worth watching and in my opinion his performance was class apart.People who like to dissect movies should not miss this one because every frame is important.

4. Thaniyavarthanam (1987)

What will you do if people refuse to believe that you are sane?The plot of the movie goes like this –A family believes that one man in each generation becomes a lunatic due to a curse.Mammootty tries hard to make people believe that he is not the one in his generation who is suppose to become mad.But the people around him refuse to believe the truth even after the doctors declaring him as sane.Without any choice,he acts like he is mad and the movie ends with a tragedy by his Mother feeding him food mixed with poison.

3. Kodiyettam (1978)

Actor Gopi became Kodiyettam Gopi or Bharath Gopi after the portrayal of his role as Shankaran Kutty in this movie.He won National Award for Best Actor for living in the movie as a carefree,lazy and good for nothing guy.He pushes us into dilemma whether we should hate him or not.He refuses to change even after getting married.The movie shows how he changes in his life.My favorite scene in the movie is when Gopi goes to K.P.A.C Lalitha’a house for pennu kaanal and Lalitha becomes all coy and romantic by watching him from behind the door.

2. Elippathayam (1981)

After watching this movie,you will know why Adoor Gopalakrishnan is considered as a genius in the cinema industry all over the world.The movie shows the struggle of Unni,played by Karamana Janardanan.

Wikipedia says

It is critically considered by many to be one of the most outstanding pieces in Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s filmography.
This film documents the feudal life in Kerala at its twilight. The protagonist is trapped within himself and is unable to comprehend the changes taking place around him. The film won the British Film Institute award for Most Original and Imaginative film shown at the National Film Theatre in 1982. The film was shown at a number of film festivals around the world, including the 1982 Cannes Film Festival.

In this movie too,climax scene is a well written one.

1. Nirmalyam (1973)

Any day,any genre,any language,this movie will always remain as the best movie I have ever watched in my life.I have to tell you this — I deeply regret for watching this movie so late in my life.I had heard raving reviews about this movie and about the protagonist played by P.J.Antony but procrastination failed my attempts to watch this.The movie is made from M.T.Vasudevan Nair’s short story Pallivalum Kalchilambum which I had read during my school days.But back then,I was too young to understand the stark realities of life.I bet you that after watching P.J.Antony in the role of “Velichapaadu”(Oracle of a temple),you will remember him lifelong. M.T.Vasudevan Nair himself directed movie and his script was flawless.Of course P.J.Antony won National Award for Best Actor and the movie won National Award for the Best Feature Film.

So what is your score in the above list?

PS : and  wait for the next post — 15 Malayalam Movies (Love Stories)

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65 thoughts on “15 Malayalam Movies which I want the World to Watch (Drama)

  1. I will add two from my side – Amma Ariyan (John Abraham) and Swayamvaram (Adoor G) 🙂 Elippathayam, I have to see next .. a question, will you be able to write a review of this movie for Art House Cinema ?

  2. Thanks for the list. My parents watch malayalam movies and always rave about them. But i never bothered watching them. Thanks for.opening my eyes to this new world- will surely watch them and eagerly looking forward to the next list.

  3. I’m fairly new to Malayalam cinema and I love your list! I’ve watched just one movie from your list. Will make it a point to watch the rest this year

  4. ‘Ellipathayam’ was classic one, Hats off to Adoor Gopalakrishnan…., giants have already conquered the list M T Vasudevan Nair, Lohithadas etc…., Nice list, but we have some more ‘Danny’ and ‘Ponthanmada’ by T V Chandran. Unfortunately no Padmarajan and Bharathan movies….

  5. Hi Bhavya..being a mallu i have never watched any of the movies.. will start with Sadayam today..thanks for the list

  6. hi bhavia ,thank u very much for the list
    am from hyderabad, telugu film industry , am very much intrested sounth indian film especially tamili and malayalam.not the telugu films(latest ) can u please tell me wwer can i get those films to watch

  7. hi bhavia, nice article. I would love to include movies by Shaji N Karun like PIRAVI, VANAPRASTHAM, KUTTYSRANK and MANJADIKURU by Anjali Menon ( A talented female filmmaker)……

    G.Aravindan is said to be a fine moviemaker of 1970s. I hope none of his movies are in youtube is the reason why they are nt in the list… I too have not seen most of his fims.. I have heard from my father that KANCHANASEETHA is a very good movie (It is well known for its feminist perspective as per wikipedia)

    Contributed 5 movies from my side

  8. Well furnished list . All the listed movies are simply awsome . But I guess still you have missed few ever green movies of Malayalam industry . Anyways good try … Keep going .

  9. list is damn good, but you avoided populist/box hits movies. Focused more into National awards winners. But still commendable job, as there is room for everyone 🙂

  10. Most of d movies listed abov r my al tym favorites .. N two of ma favourites were not listed above.. Manjadikkuru. And ennenum kannettante

  11. I have see all the above movies except Nirmalyam and Nizhalkuthu…..Good list bit Sad because my favourite movie is missing…Aranyakam by M.T. Vasudevan Nair….

      1. plz suggest me some sad theme malayalam movie list.nd also their links..i am a bengali boy..so i hv not so much knowledge about malayalam movie..but i super like it..plz suggest

  12. mujhe malayalam movie bohot pasand hai…mai ek bengali hu phir v i like these…plz suggest some sad theme movies and links ..plz……

  13. these films are definitely worth watching , however adaminte varyellu , chidambaram , kallanpvitharn to be included in this list

  14. Wow. This list runs pretty much parallel to mine (around 11).
    PS : I have watched all the movies and I too love the rendering of seetha kalyanam from paithrukam.

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