There is no denying that Mollywood has witnessed a huge change in the last few years in terms of narration, movie making and storytelling. The best Malayalam movies of all time made in the past few years are a testament to elevations in the industry.
From comedy to romance, from thriller to murder, the industry has profoundly redefined film making in Mollywood by experimenting and exploring new styles of storytelling. Subsequently, we have compiled a list of the top-rated Malayalam movies for you to watch and see how the industry has made headway in the last couple of years.
Ustad Hotel (2012)
Directed by Anwar Rasheed and written by Anjali Menon, the film stars Dulquer Salmaan, Thilakan and Nithya Menen in the lead roles. The movie revolves around an aspiring chef, Faizi (Dulquer Salman) whose failed attempt to run away from his homeland lands him at his grandfather’s old restaurant, Used Hotel, in India.
With his financial support cut off and passport confiscated by his father due to his chosen profession of becoming a chief, Faizi helps his grandfather run the restaurant business, where while experiencing the desi-style of cooking, he learns valuable lessons on life. The movie perfectly blends passion, humanity, care and affection to signify the importance of finding one’s passion and purpose in life.
Written, directed and also edited by Alphonse Puthren, the movie stars Nivin Pauly, Sai Pallavi, Madonna Sebastian, Anupama Parameswaran, Shabareesh Varma, Krishna Sankar and Siju Wilson in the lead roles. The film was included in The Hindu’s top 25 Malayalam films of the decade and is one of the top-rated Malayalam movies of all time.
The story revolves around George David, the lead character of the movie, who endures and overcomes tragic breakups to finally find love. The story takes the audience through various stages of life right from school to college, college to professional life and beyond, thereby indulging the viewer in nostalgia.
Kumbalangi Nights (2019)
Kumbalangi Night is nothing short of a masterpiece and is one of the best Malayalam movies of all time. Directed by Madhu C. Narayanan, the movie stars Shane Nigam, Soubin Shahir, Fahadh Faasil and Sreenath Bhasi in lead roles.
The movie shows the beauty of village life while hitting the audience with the hard truth of rural unemployment. Set in the fishing village of Kumbalangi in Kochi, Kerala, the movie centers on the dysfunctional relationship between four brothers living together in a home, and how they ultimately stand up for each other as a family.
Drishyam cannot go unmentioned in the list of the best Malayalam movies of all time. Written and directed by Jeethu Joseph, the movie stars Mohanlal and Meena in the lead roles. It remained the highest-grossing Malayalam film of all time until it was exceeded by Pulimurugan in 2016. The movie set a new benchmark for thriller movies in Mollywood by redefining what the genre usually means.
The story begins with a happy common family living their daily lives, who soon get entangled in a murder crime. The story follows the man of the family taking desperate measures to save his wife and two daughters from the crime. The story leaves the audience at the edge of the seat in utter awe, cliff-hanging as every scene passes by.
The commercial success of Drishyam paved the path to a sequel. Drishyam 2: The Resumption, released in mid-February 2021 on Amazon Prime Video, has already received critical acclaim from critics and audiences alike. The story is a continuation of the previous plot and takes place six years after the events of Drishyam.
Maheshinte Prathikaaram (2016)
Directed by Dileesh Pothan, the film stars Fahadh Faasil, Anusree, Alencier Ley Lopez, Aparna Balamurali, and Soubin Shahir in lead roles. The title, Maheshinte Prathikaaram, translates to Mahesh’s Revenge. Contrary to regular revenge thrillers, it has a fair dose of comedy that stems from the actions of its rustic characters.
Set out in the rural areas, the movie perfectly captures the village essence and passion alongside silly vengeance and drama. The story revolves around one Mahesh Bhavana, a small-time photographer, who goes on to take revenge on his neighbour for a small brawl and eventually falls in love with the rival’s sister.
Written by two brothers Bobby and Sanjay and directed by Rajesh Pillai, the film features Sreenivasan, Kunchacko Boban, Rahman, Anoop Menon, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Sandhya, Roma, Remya Nambeesan, Asif Ali and Namitha Pramod. The movie is inspired by an actual traffic incident that occurred in Chennai.
The story revolves around an accident that happens at a traffic signal, which involves two friends, a woman and a traffic constable, and how the incident intertwines with the lives of everyone in a very unforeseen manner.
22 Female Kottayam (2012)
Written by Syam Pushkaran and Abhilash S. Kumar and directed by Aashiq Abu, the film stars Rima Kallingal and Fahadh Faasil in the lead roles.
The film is about a nurse who gets raped and how she takes revenge on her tormentors, and how some events change the course of her life.
Bangalore Days (2014)
Omitting Bangalore Days out from the list of the best Malayalam movies of all time would be a sin! This romantic-comedy movie film was written and directed by Anjali Menon and features Nazriya Nazim, Nivin Pauly, Dulquer Salmaan, Fahadh Faasil, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Isha Talwar and Nithya Menon in the lead roles. With a simple yet interesting storyline and an eccentric cast, the film certainly entertains all kinds of age groups.
The story revolves around three cousins from Kerala—Arjun played by Dulquer Salmaam, Krishnan played by Nivin Pauly and Divya played by Nazriya Nazim—who move to Bangalore to follow their dreams and how they go through ups and downs in their lives to find happiness and love. Unlike most typical films, the movie explores the unique bond of friendship and family between cousins.
Munnariyippu, which translates to ‘Warning’ in English, is a 2014 mystery thriller film directed by Venu. The film stars Mammootty and Aparna Gopinath in the lead roles. The plot of the movie follows a junior journalist, Anjali Arakkal played by Aparna Gopinath, who is sent to write an autobiography on convict C.K. Raghavan, played by Mammootty. During the interview, the convict claims to have been imprisoned for the crimes he never committed. The story goes through various twists and turns to leave the audience in a state of shock, making it one of the must-watch Malayalam movies.
Angamaly Diaries (2017)
Angamaly Diaries is a very raw crime drama directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery and written by Chemban Vinod Jose. A highlight of the movie is an uncut 11-minute long take in the climax, which features around 1000 artists.
The plot of the story revolves around the protagonist, Vincent Pepe, played by Anthony Varghese, who grows up idolizing one of the local goons and forms a frivolous gang of his own with his friends. He soon gets into the pork business with his fellow gang members. The story soon takes a wild turn when he unintentionally kills a person during a standoff with the rival gang. The story then follows how the gang overcomes the hurdles they face in the daily grind as the consequence of the event.
Let us know your favourite Malayalam movie(s) in the comments section below.
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