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.

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)