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

*Spoilers all over*

It was an uphill battle to make a list of love stories in Malayalam Cinema as I have strictly avoided chick flicks and college romance.

15)Chamaram (1980)

Chamaram tells the story of Indu played by Zarina Wahab who is engaged to her cousin brother Ravi despite her Father’s disliking towards Ravi.Indu’s Father was never faithful to her Mother,so after her Mother’s demise he runs a relationship with another woman.Indu gets a job in the town as a college lecturer and moves from the village.Meanwhile,Vinod,played by Prathap Pothen, is a spoiled brat student in the college and he falls in love with Indu.He will tries to woo her but she moves away from him telling that she is already in love with Ravi. During vacation Indu reaches home and sees that Ravi is already married to somebody else.She comes back to the college and gets closer to Vinod.The movie has a very beautiful song Naadha nee varum.

14)Ulkadal (1979)

It is the story about Rahulan(Venu Nagavally) and the three women with whom he falls in love with during the three different stages of his life.More than the movie itself,it is famous for the romantic duet Sarabindhu Malardeepa.

13)Rathinirvedam (1978)

Immense respect for Bharthan and Padmarajan for making this movie when such a concept was not even talked freely in the society.The movie is about a teenager Pappu and his fascinations about the next door girl Rathi who is older than him.Though Rathi ignores Pappu’s initial infatuation pranks,the story takes a turn when she starts to reciprocate.Kudos to Jayabharathi for her portrayal of Rathi chechi. It was indeed a role which most of the leading actress denied to do it.The movie is considered as a landmark in  the history of Indian Film.

12)Meghamalhar (2001)

It is said that the leading pair Biju Menon and Samyuktha Varma fell in love during the sets of this movie.We cannot blame them because the movie will make you fall in love.How many stories have you heard about finding the lost love of childhood. Let me not spill the beans and spoil the suspense. But this movie is such a simple and heartwarming love story.The climax scene of the movie is a beautiful silhouette frame which shows the charm of their love.

11)Mazha (2000)

This is an intense love story.A rich girl(Samyuktha Varma) who loves poetry comes to a new place and falls in love with her music teacher(Biju Menon).The love blooms but it is broken when he is obliged marry to his fiancee. She moves to the city and continues her medical studies.She marries Chandran(Lal) but they lead a very mechanical life.They decide to fix their marriage and work on it.Then one day,he reads her old personal diaries and knows about her lost love. Chandran starts suspecting every man around her and gets addicted to alcohol.After the untimely demise of her husband,she goes back to the village to meet the music teacher to hear shocking stories.The movie is an adapted version of the novel Nashtapetta Neelambari by Madhavikutty.

10)Sukhamo Devi (1986)
This movie is said to be a page from the life of the director Venu Nagavally.The movie is about the love story of Devi(Urvashi) and Nandan (Shankar). Their friend Sunny dies in an accident the on the day Devi and Nandan were planning to elope.Devi is forced to get married to Dr. Venugopal(Nedumudi Venu) and she shows arrogance to her husband and her daughter. Nandan decides to marry Sunny’s girlfriend and tells Devi to go back to her husband and lead a happy life.

9)Ore Kadal (2007)

How do you handle when love gets complicated?How do you handle when you are married but loves another man strongly?This movie directed by the very talented Shyamaprasad deals with the conflict of love and its undercurrents. Mammootty plays the role of a famous economist and Meera Jasmine plays the next door housewife.The meeting between them sparks love inside her and the love,guilt and his denial eat her life.The scenes between Mammootty and Meera are very profound and deep.The movie went on to win numerous awards and it was screened in so many film festivals.

8)Nakhakshathangal (1986)

A love triangle written by M.T.Vasudevan Nair and directed by acclaimed director Hariharan.Monisha won the National Award for Best Actress for her role as Gauri,the maid in the house where Ramu(Vineeth) ends up.The daughter of that house,Lakshmi is deaf and dumb and she falls in love with Ramu and their wedding gets planned. Ramu gets into the dilemma of whether to show gratitude by marrying the Lakshmi or to fulfill the promise given to Gauri with whom he is in love.Listen to the melodies Manjal prasadavum and Areyum bhava gayakanakkum.K.S.Chitra won National Award for the first song.

7)Njan Gandharvan (1991)

This is one of my favorite movies.There is a belief that we will die if we take movies about Gandharva.Somehow making the belief true,death took away Padmarajan who was the director of the movie.The movie is about the fantasy romance of a college girl and the Gandharva.The songs by Johnson are soulful and the song Devanganangal is considered as one of the toughest songs to sing.

6)Innale (1990)

Gauri (Shobana) meets with a tragic bus accident and loses her memory.She gets admitted in a hospital and then becomes a part of doctor’s family.Sarath(Jayaram),son of the doctor(Srividhya) falls in love with her and their marriage is fixed.On the day of the engagement,the doctor gets a call from Dr.Narendran(Sureh Gopi) telling that Gauri is his lost wife and he has been searching for quite sometime.Dr.Narendran comes with his wedding pictures with Gauri but sees that Gauri has not recognized him.By seeing the love between Gauri and Sarath,Narendran leaves without telling the truth to Gauri.The story was new then and Shobana did a wonderful job as Gauri.Yet another love story from Padmarajan.

5)Chemmeen (1965)

Which song does Keralites sing when love is lost?The answer has been the same for decades.The song Manasa Maine Varoo sang by Manna Dey is one of the evergreen hits of Malayalam.The movie is about the lost love of Karuthamma(Sheela) and Pareekutty(Madhu) and the life of fishermen folks of Kerala.There is a belief in the fisherman community that the safety of the fisherman is in the chastity of the fisher woman back home.Karuthamma is the daughter of a poor fisherman who is in love with Pareekutty who is a Muslim fish trader. Karuthamma’s Father Chembankunju played by Kottarakkara Sreedharan Nair is his masterpiece role in his acting career. Karuthamma marries Palani (Sathyan)sacrificing the love.She moves into her husband’s village.But when Pareekutty visits her,the scandal breaks out.Palani’s friends laugh at him but he trusts Karuthamma and goes to the sea.He gets inside a whirlpool and at the same time Karuthamma and Pareekutty walks into the sea.

4)Pranayam (2011)

A recent movie which is directed by Blessy and it deals with the emotions of the lead actors when they confront truth.Grace(Jayaprada) and Mathews(Mohanlal) are staying with their daughter and family.Mathews is a retired Philosophy professor and he is constrained to a wheel chair.Grace and Mathews share a deeper bond of love and one day in the lift she finds Achutha Menon(Anupam Kher) who was her first husband.The movie is poetically beautiful and handles the subject of the feelings of older people well.Amidst the plethora of love stories about the teenagers and youth,this movie holds a  special place.All the three leads have amazingly acted and an extra word of appreciation goes to Anupam Kher for doing this very challenging role.I loved the way the scenes between the two old men have pictured;so real.Rarely we get to see two men bonding over the same woman they love.

3)Namukku Parkaan Munthiri Thoppukal (1986)

This movie is famous for its screenplay done by Padmarajan.The story revolves around Solomon and Sofia played by Mohanlal and Shari respectively.Solomon falls in love with Sofia who is his new neighbor.The acting of Thilakan as Paul Pailokkaran,Sofia’s stepfather was highly appreciated.The movie showcases the love of Solomon and Sofia and the hatred inside Paul.Though the plot looks like the cliched love stories,the beauty of the movie is in the screenplay which brings in verses from Bible.Even the proposal from Solomon is done with a biblical verse and the nod from Sofia is a smile.

2)Thoovanathumbikal (1987)
The most famous and the most discussed cult love story of Malayalam Cinema.This movie directed by Padmarajan is considered as one of the greatest Malayalam movies made till date.The movie is about Jayakrishnan played by Mohanlal who falls in love with two women.The background score of the movie done by Johnson is still fresh and beautiful.A must watch movie if you are following Malayalam movies.This movie is still widely studied by movie enthusiasts.I am not revealing the plot here because this movie should be watched afresh without any knowledge about the plot.It helps in ferreting your own love for the movie.NB : Don’t read the Wikipedia page.

1)Pakshe (1994)

Balan, played by Mohanlal, is an IAS aspirant and Nandini,played by Shobana, is an upcoming writer.Though there are financial differences between the families,their wedding which was already fixed gave them the freedom stay closer to each other.One day,Balan’s Father kills himself shifting the responsibility of repaying debts to Balan.When Balan gets through IAS,Vikraman,a rich contractor,makes an offer to repay the debts for Balan. The condition kept in the offer will be to marry Vikraman’s daughter Raji to which Balan refuses.Everybody forces Balan to marry Raji but he goes to Nandini’s house in the night to elope with her.But she will refuse to go with him telling she can’t put his Mother and two sisters on the streets.Only after the wedding,Balan gets to know why he was offered help.His married life becomes sour as years pass by and Raji asks to sign in the divorce papers.After a fight he leaves the house without telling anybody.During the vacation,he meets Nandini again.The second half of the movie is both beautiful and heartbreaking.This movie showcases brilliant performances by Mohanlal and Shobana,especially the latter.

41 thoughts on “15 Malayalam Movies which I want the World to Watch (Romance)

  1. I have watched Thoovanathumbikal, Orey Kadal and of course chemeen. Thanks for the list. Now the youtube marathon starts. 🙂

      1. True Suhasini has this over-acting complex but Sargam was a real-must – then again I am sure you are working on the 15 must-see Malayalam musicals blog-post and Sargam is bound to appear in that list with Kamaladhalam, Sopanam and Bharatham :

  2. my mother tongue is tamil. i am starting to watch the movies on your list. the movies are so hard to find with English subs!

  3. Talking about college romance so you mind doing a list of the best college/campus based malayalam movies for example…Classmates,Notebook,Niram,etc…I would really appreciate it so much!!!Nice list BTW 😀

  4. Nice List. Bharatham, Manichithratazhu, Paithrukam also would have made it to my list. I swoooooon over Thuvana Thumbikal. I can watch it a hundred times. And you know, every time I watch it, it starts to rain outside. I tell you that man Padmarajan is not human! ;-). What a magical movie.
    Also, I strongly believe he was trying to tell in “Innale” that Shobhana actually recognized Suresh Gopi but chose to stay back with Jayaram by acting like she didn’t. I think Suresh Gopi’s dialogue to Jayaram that she will recognize me no matter what her medical condition is very significant in that way. I like it though that the writer left it to our imagination. 🙂

  5. Great list. Thanks. Would love to see ‘Kannamarayathu’ starring Mammukka and Shobana based on a novel “Daddy long legs’ by Jean Webster

  6. i would love to see thattathin marayathu in this list..even though it’s a simple love story…the feel that the movie gives is too high..it can be rated as one of the best romantic films in malayalam cinema..just posting this message after which this film yet again and with a desire to see all the best romantic movies in malayalam once again…By searching a thread like that ,i just saw the movies that u put forward here…Nice suggestions and will watch all these once again even though i have watched almost all the movies in this list

    1. Thattathin Marayathu – the credit goes to the cinematographer and the music director.I didn’t feel anything special with the story.But,yes a good,warm and light love story.

  7. Hats off to Padmarajan Sir !!
    This list is actually wonderful….I appreciate you for giving summary of stories along with their names…..I’ve watch most movies except Chamaram ,Ulkkadal,Sukhamo Devi and after reading this I’m wishing to see all these movies again 🙂

  8. thanks for the list.. even though i don’t understand malayalam.. this list was helpful to learn about some good movies in malayalam.


  10. Hi, Am a new follower. I got your blog details from ‘Azhimukham’. Your movie lists are so nice and keep going. Hope that you watch Hollywood films also. Am a big fan of Hollywood movies. Movies like Shawshank Redemption, Forrest Gump, The Pianist, Revolutionary Road, The Awakenings (A lot more)are my favorites. Hope you will make a list of Hollywood films soon. 🙂

      1. Thanks for the list. Mathilukal is a rare romantic movie.Please mention this movie also

  11. Hi i m Vicky from maharashtra wardha… Mujhe malayalam movies pasand hai. But don’t know this language. Mujhe in filmo k eng subtitle kaha milege.. Plz help.. Maine bahot si malayalam movies dekhi hai.. N there standard is too high… D salman is great actor… Awsm

  12. Loved this list. I think ‘Charlie’ is the best one in recent times. It doesn’t discuss the aftermath of a love but shows how to fall in love…

  13. Feels soo much pleasure seeing your love and passion in understanding these classical Malayalam movies. I am also somewhere in your scale and keep some of these movies in my heart always. Padmarajan-Bharathan-Mohanlal movies (mid 1980s-early 90s) are mixed in my blood which cant be separated. There is a tendency I have observed in majority of the people with their busy schedule and as they progress in their life through different stages tend to forget these movies and when I ask them, “Hey, do you remember seeing Thoovanathumbikal?” and their expression is ” hmm..it was good movie! or “who has time to remember those movies now”. I kind of get disappointed always, for they failing to keep appreciating every time when the memories of such movies are kindled…In the midst of all this, this article from you really made me happy. At least there are some people who can always bring out the vividness in such movies no matter how much time pass..A word of caution for you..STAY like this, Always! 🙂 🙂

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