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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mollywood Reloaded: the History and New Wave in Malayalam Movies

For a long while, mallu movies were all about four ‘M’s – the mooch, the mundu, the Mammootty and the Mohan Lal.

With time, the mooch gave way to the clean shaven look, the mundu gave way to well-tailored pants and now if reports are to be believed, then the remaining two ‘M’s of Mollywood are giving way to a younger lot of actors, often described to as the ‘new age’ actors like Fahadh Faazil.

But if you closely study Malayalam movie industry, it’s actually a case of history repeating itself; the so called new-age actors today are bringing that same freshness that both the ‘M’s brought to Mollywood when they first started off.

And if you think that you got nothing to do with Mallu movies, think again! Mallu movie has always been a breeding ground for strong scripts and storylines so much that many much loved Bollywood movies were actually ‘inspired’ from the mellu movie industry – If you thought ‘Hera Pheri’ was good, the mallu original was a classic called ‘Ramji Rao Speaking’; ‘Billu Barber’ looked so much better in ‘Katha Parumbol’ while ‘Bhool Bhulaya’ was a rip from what is considered as Mollywood’s almost perfect movie ‘Manichitrathaazu’. And mellu movie industry is actually a lot cooler than it seems, with many India firsts coming from this part of the nation:

* India's first 3D film – My Dear Kuttichatan

* India's first live-action/animation hybrid film - O' Faby (1993)

* First Indian film to have multiple climaxes- Harikrishnans

* The world's first film with a single actor in the star cast - The Guard

* First Indian film was made entirely on the basis of public funds (crowdsourcing) Amma Ariyan

* Also, few others that hit the mind are the first Indian film to be shot and distributed in digital format - Moonnamathoral, and India's first neorealistic film – Newspaper Boy.

So as you can see, a lot of new age movie ideas were pioneered by the mallu film industry, some at a time when their impact could not even be comprehended and were deemed far ahead of their times. And if the current flux in the Malayalam film industry is any indication, other movie makers should also take notes on these prophetic changes.

Now a lot of people say that Malayalam movies is currently in the cusp of a revolution – a revolution against the norm, against the old staid, against the superstars. But a dekko into Mollywood’s storied history will prove that Mollywood has an inbuilt cyclic mechanism of self-correction that keeps happening every time movies seem to hit rock bottom. So let’s go back into past to predict the future:

The Golden 80s

the 80s – In this decade, the yester mega star Prem Nazir got into supporting roles, and Jayan died in an action stunt sequence in 80. Sukumaran and Soman also slowly got relegated to character roles and this period was marked by the rise of strong script based roles enacted by the then new faces of Mammootty and Mohan Lal.

Due to a plethora of movies with scripts and screenplays that resonated well with the social fabric of Kerala like ‘Varavelpu’ and ‘Ramji Rao Speaking’, movies of this decade connected with the junta in such a way that they pushed the two Ms - Mammootty and Mohan Lal- to the pedestal of Mollywood. Also, top notch directors like I V Sasi, Priyadarshan, M T Vasudevan Nair, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Bharathan, Padmarajan, Aravindan, Sibi Malayil etc made remarkable movies of varied craft that blurred the line between art and commercial cinema, today considered classics and proving that yesteryear masterpiece 'Chemeen' was not a flash in the pan but rather a sign of bigger things to come. The decade also saw strong female characters leading to the discovery of some of the best female actors of Malayalam Cinema like Shobhana, Seema, Urvashi, Suhasini, Geetha, Revathi, and Nadia Moidu. The 80s focused on stories backed by strong directors, their visions, strong scripts and only then came the star. The 80s are known as the golden era of Malayalam industry.

Also to note - The role of the mallu action star, perfected by Jayan with his movies and his unique mannerisms, suffered a huge dent with Jayan’s death (below pic - Jayan's last stunt on the helicopter that killed him) and this gap has never really been filled.
Mohan Lal with his ‘Rajavinte Makan’ and Suresh Gopi, a decade later with his fiery dialogues, did manage to partly fill that gap but they went on to focus on versatile roles. The true blue mallu action hero died with Jayan. After his death, directors and producers started an immediate search for new actors to replace him. This movement led to debuts of actors who resembled Jayan in physical appearance (like Ratheesh), similar sounding names (Ajayan) and those with similar mannerisms and style. One of those actors was a young man named Sajin, who later changed his name to Mammootty.

Must see 80s movies - Rajavinte Makan, Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha, Vellanakalude Nadu, New Delhi, Oru CBI Diary Kurippu, Kireedom, Nadodikkattu, Vadakkunokkiyanthram, Ramji Rao Speaking, Vaishali.

Movie of the decade : Nadodikkattu

Dialogues of the decade: "Ningal moonu peryum iratta pettathano" , "Angane Pavanayi shavamayi ", "How many kilometers from washington DC to Miami beach..? .. Kilometers and kilometers..  Ungle, send him out.. outhouse.. erangippodaaa"

The Glittering 90s

the 90s – Movies of this decade followed a ‘star+story’ formula. The 90s consolidated the superstars, and they developed strong individual images by the end of it. Movies of the 90’s slowly graduated from script to acting and Mollywood actors won six national awards in this decade. Mohan Lal was seen as the most versatile and ruled this decade while Mammootty appeared to fit only “serious” roles and had lesser success. This decade also saw the rise of Suresh Gopi, as the English speaking angry cop.
Suresh Gopi was so strongly associated with his macho cop image that it was considered that nobody could play a cop better than him. Jayaram rose as Mollywood’s fourth superstar in this decade with his unique coming timing and family oriented comedy movies. Almost every successful movie of the 90s were star based. Each star(baring the ever adaptable Mohan Lal) had a certain image that was leveraged successfully by directors. Priyadarshan, Siddique Lal and Shaji Kailas emerged as directors with unique brands of cinema and along with Fazil and Sibi Malayil, Mollywood saw major hits. The 90s also saw the spectacular rise and sudden stop of leading lady Manju Warrier. 

Also to note - Suresh Gopi and Jayaram developed strong images and junta refused to accept them outside of it. Jayaram’s family audiences were slowly being taken over by a rising actor and fellow Kalabhavan artiste named Dileep. Mammootty too seemed to be stuck to serious roles though he attempted his brand of comedy that met success in ‘Oru Maravathoor Kanavu’ and ‘Megham’.
Towards the end of this decade, audiences were treated to larger than life representations of their favorite stars that were initially welcomed. Manju Warrier’s retirement created a drought of leading actresses, a gap that was only later filled (partially) by Kavya Madhavan almost a decade later. Mohan Lal, the most versatile, ruled this decade but soon he too fell victim to his image. 

Must see 90s movies - Godfather, Amaram, Devasuram, The King, Manichitrathaazu, In Harihar Nagar, Commissioner, Thenmavin Kombathu, Harikrishnans, Meleparambile Aanveedu, Chinthavishtayaya Shyamala, Sandesham 

Movie of the decade : Devasuram

Dialogues of the decade: "Ee forest muzhan kaadu aanalo ", "Mohan Thomasinte uchisht... ... I am Bharat Chandran, just remember that!" , "Shyaame...nee economics padichuttundo ", "Ee 12 vayassinte kuttiyeyano muthalali 13 kollangalayitt premikkunath"

The Falling 2000s

The 2000s - At the beginning of the 2000s, the warnings signs were already clear - the superstar phase was already underway and they were victims of their own images.  This decade is often considered the decade that saw the deterioration of Malayalam movies. Slapstick and buffoonery overtook the famous malayalam film comedy in this decade. Mammootty, Mohanlal and Dileep controlled the box-office revenues of Malayalam cinema and these 3 artists were criticized for their high remunerations, preference for formulaic content and larger-than-life male-oriented roles, causing the crisis in Malayalam cinema due to their "superstar" effect.
Amateur scripts were written, often on the sets, purely with the superstar in mind. Producers invested for profit with no commitment to the art of film-making and most movies looked the same. Antics of Fan Clubs made more news than the actual movies themselves. With the advent of television, high ticket costs and lack of compelling movies, families also reduced going to the theatres. Films lost the once famous Malayalam realism, became over-priced and, ultimately, financially unsuccessful. Mollywood was in crisis and in a bid to get audiences back, theaters started showing soft porn, and this heralded the famous trend of ‘Shakeela movies’ that emerged top grossers for more than a year. A talent starved Mollywood started accepting Tamil and Telugu dubs into Kerala. Jayan was resurrected in a new slapstick wave. Mohan Lal had a surfeit of similar looking movies built on the image of the invincible, larger-than-life hero that became his undoing. Mammootty started off the decade in slump but later successfully reinvented himself. Suresh Gopi famously decided to stop acting in movies depicting violence and by end of the decade, Suresh Gopi the superstar was decimated. Jayaram fell astray with Dileep initially taking over his audiences. By the end of the decade, both Mohan Lal and Jayaram went back to family comedies that met reasonable success. Mammootty innovated on various levels and with directors new and old to come with blockbusters like ‘Rajamanickam’, ‘Pazhassi Raja’ and ‘Pokkiri Raja’. This was Mammooty’s decade. The decade also saw the rise of versatile star son Prithviraj Sukumaran.

Also to note – From the doldrums, a faint but sure wave of movies emerged that were story backed with sharp direction. So came movies like ‘Nandanam’, ‘Kaazhcha’, ‘Chandupottu’, ‘Thanmathra’, ‘Achanurangatha Veedu’, ‘Classmates’, ‘Kaiyoppu’, ‘Thirakatha’, ‘Twenty Twenty’, ‘Pazhashi Raja’, ‘Paleri Manickyam’ and ‘Passenger’ from directors like Lal Jose, Ranjith, Blessy and Joshy. However the lion’s share of movies were superstar oriented scriptless fare. Malayalam movie budgets became part of intense scrutiny and other avenues like television rights were explored for additional sources of revenue. With coming of age financial savvy, most of Mollywood’s biggest blockbusters came from this decade.

Must see '00s movies – Narasimham, Rajamanickam, Meesha Madhavan, Bharat Chandran IPS, Kinnara Thumbikal, Twenty Twenty, Pazhashi Raja, Paleri Manickyam, Chocolate, Thirakatha.

Movie of the decade : Twenty Twenty

Dialogues of the decade: "Nee po mone.. Dinesha..", "Evan pulliyaanu ketta", "itthonnum oru thettu alla kutta..."

The New Wave 2010s

The 2010s – One of the most prominent cultural influences of Kerala is the Gulf boom, or the large scale migration of malayalees to the Middle East between 1972 to 1983. So profound was this phenomenon that almost every keralite household has or knows at least one person in the Gulf/US, thereby exposing the progeny of this generation to global sensibilities. 

This younger globalized generation came with a different set of values, aspirations and attitudes and when some of them joined the film industry, the result showed. Movies made by these new directors like ‘Ustaad Hotel’, ‘Beautiful’, ‘Salt N’ Pepper’, ‘22 Female Kottayam’, ‘Traffic’, are more grounded in reality, show their protagonists with shades of grey and have believable dialogues. Experiments like ‘Pranchiyettan and the Saint’, ‘Urumi’ and ‘Melvilasam’ found favor with the junta. Newer themes, new faces and new treatments came as a breath of fresh air in the industry that was stubbornly rigid and formulaic in its ways. Most of these movies, devoid of the superstars, had smaller budgets and put the reins back into the hands of the director. This started the current New Wave of Malayalam Cinema. This was similar to the 80s when the ‘superstar concept’ disappeared for a short while that lead to the golden age. However, the conventional patterns refused to let go of its mighty hold and continued to have a strong support with viewers, as seen by the stunning successes of ‘Christian Brothers’, ‘Chinatown’ and ‘Seniors’. The new wave films gave a new lease of life to leading ladies, who are believably shown to often openly flirt, drink in public and pass lewd comments.

The Mollywood actress played for decades as the always goody goody protagonist by Sharada, Seema, Shobhana and Kavya Madhavan is today slowly shown as characters with darker shades as enacted by Rima Kallingal and others from her ilk. 

Also to note – Mammootty’s openness in the last decade to experimentation and to work with new blood played an instrumental role in discovering new talent as many of the new wave directors started off their careers with Mammootty ; cases in point - Ashiq Abu of ‘Salt n Pepper’(Daddy Cool), Anwar Rasheed of ‘Ustadh Hotel’(Rajamanikyam), Amal Neerad (Big B), Martin Prakkatt (Best Actor), Vysakh (Pokkirri Raja) and Blessy (Kazhcha). Star sons like Vineeth Srinivasan, Dulquer Salman, Fahaad Fazil made waves and scripts have started to be written so that people can relate to them.

Movie of the decade(till date) : Pranchiyettan & the Saint

Dialogues of the decade: "Kismathu ennonnundu Faizi. Athine aarkum thadukkan kayyoolla", "thottavante vishamom thottavane ariyuu punyaala"

If you read the signs over the last three decades of movies, it teaches you few profound morals to the Mollywood story – 

* Three decades of Mollywood shows that the obvious way to make a successful Mollywood movie is to have a strong script backed by brilliant direction. With the booming Indian fiction scene, stories and scripts should be relatively easier to procure and in the hands of new wave directors, Mollywood can really push itself into the realm of gold (again). 

* Budget definitely matters – Mollywood does not have the audience of other bigger industries like Hindi, Tam or Telugu. The average life time gross for a blockbuster of decade 2000 is only 16.9Cr; and this is its lifetime potential - so if you budget a mallu movie at 15Cr, obviously, it will almost never recover that cost.

* Mohanlal read the signs ahead of others and started producing many of his own movies, thereby bringing his budgets remarkably down. Dileep, Prithviraj and Mammootty also started producing their own movies. Mammootty again pioneered here by co-producing classics like ‘Gandhinagar 2nd Street’ and ‘Nadodikaattu’, however became a full-fledged producer only with the eminently forgettable ‘Cobra’ and the meh ‘Jawan of Vellimala’. 

* The Superstar phase is far from over – with good scripts and great directors, they have proven themselves back. Also many new age directors, like Ashiq Abu of ‘Salt n Pepper’ fame, have their next movies lined with the super ‘M’s, thereby extending their lifelines.

* The fate of Mollywood’s leading ladies is intertwined with marriage. Leading ladies of strong personalities like Shobhana, Urvasi, Manju Warrier left a void and several names took that mantle – Meera Jasmin, Samyuktha Verama, Jomol - but eventually left the film world for marriage – a trend reminiscent of Karthika, Lizzy and Ambika in the 80s. Kavya Madhavan and Mamtha Mohandas also followed the same trend but returned to leading roles after the unfortunate end of their marriages. 

* Makeovers – Kunjacko Boban, Biju Menon, Baburaj, Swetha Menon have successfully reinvented themselves. The best case of reinvention is current heartthrob Fahad Faazil, who premiered in the disastrous Kaiyettum Doorathu, went on a sabbatical and came back as the beacon of the Mollywood New Wave. 

* Mallus love and reward humor as seen as the dominant theme of the last three decades. Unfortunately the quality of humor dished out today has become substandard. The degradation of comedy in Kerala over the last three decades can be witnessed by watching the comedy classic ‘In Harihar Nagar (1990)’, and its new age sequels ‘To Harihar Nagar(2009)’ and ‘In Ghost House Inn (2010)’. 

* Kerala has a high level of literacy and the literary standards from Trivandrum to Kasargod is the same, making the disparity between urban and rural centers not as marked as with other states. This makes it easier to make and sell the same movie across Kerala without worrying about urban-rural split. However another split that the new wave movies are accused of is the metro-non metro split. 

* Malayalees seem to reward experimentation – whether it was Mammootty with his ‘Rajamanickam’ and ‘Thurruppu Ghulan’ or more lately, Dileep’s ‘Mayamohini’ and ‘Sound Thoma’ that became hits in spite of being mediocre scripts but high on the novelty factor. 

* In many ways, Mollywood would never have been the same without the sterling screenwriting/direction contributions of actor Sreenivasan and director Ranjith.  Countless classics (Vadakkunooki Yanthram, Sandesham, Varavelpu, Nadodikattu etc) have Srinivasan's wildly entertaining screenplays while Ranjith's conscious decision to steer himself away from commercial formulaic fare like 'Ravanaprabhu', 'Prajapathi' and 'Black' to focus on satisfying his artistic sensibilities paved way to stunningly brilliant films like 'Kaiyoppu', 'Thirakatha' and 'Pranchiyettan and the Saint'.  This blog believes that Ranjith's refocusing of his career is a defining precursor to the current New Wave Age of Mollywood.

*Action movies are universally considered a fail proof genre and Mollywood still does not have a true blue action star – a movie a la ‘Commando –One Man Army’ with mallu sensibilities can maybe open up a whole new genre and a whole new kind of actor in Mollywood.

Recommendations to the stars:

* The way of the future for the superstars is co-productions, own productions or taking a percentage of the revenues, so as to keep costs down and making bigger bang for the buck.  Mammootty, Mohan lal, Dileep and Prithviraj already have production houses while Jayaram and Suresh Gopi are still production-shy.  The onus of the superstars should now be purely on great scripts.  Both the 'M's seem to be faltering of late though Mohan Lal's record is slightly better.  Dileep's recent innovations in 'Mayamohini' and 'Sound Thoma' have met great success.

* Suresh Gopi should stop experimentation and immediately come out with a hard hitting cop drama with a great script, dialogues and direction (maybe an own production) - the time is ripe for a cop drama with Suresh Gopi's amazing and inimitable dialogue delivery.  Suresh Gopi's next big movie is Shankar's 'I'. and that has a risk of turning him into a character artist.

* Jayaram seems to be on the right path with his current choice of movies that is reminiscent of the great comedy family movies that he was always known for.  Dileep's choice to stick to slapstick leaves the road clear for Jayaram to bring back the amazing comic timing and mimicry skills that he and only he is capable of.  Methinks Jayaram's competition in the current crop is Jayasuriya.  Jayaram just needs that right director to bring his comedy skills to the fore.

* Prithviraj that smart man, seems to be slightly ahead for Mollywood - for his very young age, he's produced a world class product in 'Urumi', crossover-ed successfully to Tam movies with 'Mozhi', 'Ravanan' and more,  got the mallu man new found Bollywoodian glory with his six pack avatar in 'Aiyya' and now with Yashraj film 'Aurangzeb' and SRK's 'Happy New Year', is all set for a bigger bite in Bollywood.  Prithvi can do wonders by considering world cinema and make not just Kerala, but India proud.

So there you have it - three decades of Mollywood, and an elaboration of the New Wave of Malayalam movies. The warning signs were out there, were not heeded and the crisis began - a crisis that brought an industry to its heels.  But "the night is darkest just before the dawn" - and from the slumps, came a wave of self correction and resurrection that brought in newer elements that changed everything again - just like in the 80s. And in the 80s, it heralded the Golden phase of Mollywood. So is the current wave bringing back the gold? Well.....

Mollywood lives on with renewed glitz, glamour and glory.

I wonder what my non mallu friends think of this post - I'm sure they wouldn't have much of a clue of Mollywood, forget its crises.  My mallu friends, well, what do you think?

Colgate brought this post of of me, and I am proud of this one!



  1. My husband would lowe this post. He talks almost like you except that his statistics are not as detailed. Well, I have been following the Mallu Film industry along with my husband and so the points that you have raised here seemed very familiar.

    This post records history of the Malayalam film industry . . . worth an essay in some film history book.

    Joy always,

    P. S. Shall send the link to the husband ;)

    1. Thanks so much for dropping by Susan.. it's always a pleasure to see the kind of support you give to us all.

      I actually love mallu movies irrespective of how bad it is.. of course, I am secretly saddened when the quality falls but I'm so happy with the new wave. :)

      Haha, this is probably the only time in my life when history books and me are mentioned in a good way :D

      Thanks so much for dropping by and your very kind support, Susan :)


    2. This might interest you:

      Telugu film 'Mayabazar' has topped the poll conducted by IBNLive to find out India's greatest film till date. Malayalam film 'Manichitrathazhu' came 2nd while another Malayalam film 'Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha' grabbed the 3rd spot . . .

    3. Wow, that's awesome news!!! You know they say that 'Manichithrathaazu' is considered as the 'perfect script', with 6 different directors being involved in it.

      Thanks for sharing this Susan.. will check out Mayabazar' soon :)

  2. The biggest problem is that people presume mallu films to be related only to the "taboo" side of filmdom. They don't understand that not all actress' are Shakeela. Mollywood has brought out some real awesome gems. I haven't seen much of mallu movies, but out of the few I have seen, its been brilliant. Let me see if I can remember them.

    ~ Harikrishnans
    ~ Manichitrathayu
    ~ Acchuvinde Amma
    ~ Thanmathram
    ~ Hitler

    That's about it I guess, but I might be missing a few. And yeah, ignore the spelling mistakes please :)

    I might be married to a Tambram, but I'm proud to be a mallu.

    Always was and always will be :)

    1. Okay, you have been awarded. Again, I'm sure.

      So please accept this humble offering at


      I couldn't think of anyone else better who deserves the creative blogger award. I mean it chets!

      YOU ROCK!

    2. Somz, welcome back to the blogging world!! Hope all is the wellz on ur side..

      Aah, even though you haven't seen many, you sure have seen some of the best! That's a very cool list btw. And yap, mallu movies have had the ignobly of some things that we may wanna forget but I guess that's being overtaken by some very cool movies like 'Mumbai Police' and 'Neram' that hopefully will be the norm.

      Thanks so much for the award yaar.. I'm honored.. made my day, again, as you usually have a habit of doing :)

      do send my best to Cal!

  3. Replies
    1. Hey Bhavia.. thanks for dropping by and for sharing.. much happy man :)

      do drop by more often :)

  4. That's hell lot of info. I would enjoyed this post even better if I had a better knowledge about Mollywood. But I'm going to share the link of this post to my Malayalam friends. :-)

    1. Kanthu my friend.. always happy to see u yaar.. hope all is well on ur side.

      Thanks so much man.. I always wonder how a non-mallu would look at this piece... thanks once again man.

      Do drop by more often man. Do forgive my tardiness in responding to comments.. been off beer for a while now n I guess its showing :D

    2. Bro, thanks for going thru all this being a non-mell. Really appreciate the time, trouble n effort man! :)

      Thanks so much! :)

  5. My God!!! Such dissection..so elaborate!!
    About the budget, I still feel that our mallu movies showcase more brain work and quality and the now Hindi movies. We have a story atleast. We had a middle phase where all the films were flops and of no impact. But now with the gen Now actors and new producers, we are bck with a bang. Dont u think? 22 F K, Salt n Pepper (lighthearted but stick awesome), ustad hotel and the likes. Even the way thattathin marayttu and neram is taken....amazing!!
    Loved this post

    1. Wow.

      When the first friend I made in the blogging universe comes back here, it really is a very, very special moment.

      Welcome back Red.. really happy to see u back yaar.. been long. :)

      I completely agree Red.. there is a novelty factor in most of the mallu movies that are coming out.. even standard fare has some aspect - be it treatment, advertising, characters - that has a novelty factor - n from the looks of it, mallu audience seem to be accepting them.

      So happy that you back. Welcome back Red.

  6. You should be Prithviraj's biographer my friend.

    1. Hahaha.. check out this video below.. if I become his biographer, then this would be the norm :D


      But seriously man, methinks he's one very smart and talented guy. :)

      Thanks for dropping by man.

  7. How come everyone's got a mustache? Check out mine. HERE and your new 2010's outfit.

    1. A man with a mustache beats a woman with a mustache.... Think about the ambiguity of this sentence. Isn't it deep?

    2. Yay, I'm all iron!(n widout a mouch) :) Thnx Grumps...u da man!!!

      Imagine a man with a mustache kissing a woman with a mustache.. wudnt tht b joining forces.

      Deep, ambiguous n follicle.

    3. A woman with a mustache? That gives me the creeps. Deep creeps.

    4. < evil creepy laugh > :D

  8. That was some analysis my dear Analyst.. Dissected the entire industry and what more made conclusions and even gave the super-stars some advice on how to move forward in the future. Thoroughly enjaayed..:D

    BTB the 2000's must watch movies did include Kinnarathumbikal(:) I have watched it ASAMOF)..And you did forget a few 'forgettable names' like a Padmarajan, a Bharathan, an Aravindan...And a few insignificant movies like Thoovanathumbikal, Njan Gandharvan, Namukku Parkkan, Innalae, Aparan,Rathinirvedam, "Suprana's indraneelima movie"..

    But all in all a Mighty Fine effort Machu..
    P.S. Moosh rulz!

    1. My man Harishankar, sorry fr being so late with this reply bro.. had some fires at office (which I inevitably stoked up worse :P)

      Happy tht u liked it man... yup, givin advice to the superstars.. akin to teaching the pope to read the Bible.. cool na? :D

      A -ha, just added them my friend.. thanks for your feedback man...can't believe I missed Vaishali... u really know ur movies well Hari :)

      ya baby ya...the Moosh rulz!! :)

  9. This was so interesting!!! I lived in Kerala for two years, and I used to watch lots of malayalam movies then...not that many now, though-the last one I watched was 22 female kottayam which was ok but i felt it was too draggy.
    I really liked Achuvinte Amma and I liked Classmates too. But Bhrahmaram is definitely my favourite. I cried buckets while watching that movie!!! It was so good!!! Haven't watched many of the older malayalam movies though, but of course i've heard of manichitrakazhu....who hasn't?
    One thing malayalam cinema has going for it is how realistic it is. I mean apart from the newer flashier movies. The way people dress and react to events and talk and act...if you go to any village or town in Kerala you will see people behaving like that. It's very refreshing especially when compared to bollywood. But some of the newer movies just make me cringe, the way the heroines dress-noone in Kerala EVER wears such flashy, tight clothes!!! A simple churidar would suffice, or even a kurta with jeans.
    But yeah...overall I really do love malayalam cinema. and i think it's getting better, overall. fewer mindless faux-comedies with mohanlal/dileep starring with a woman half their age. at least now we have fahaad faizul. drool.
    I must confess in the mohanlal/mamootty wars, I am partial to mamootty. he just seems to star in better movies.
    Showing this to my dad. I'm sure he'll have plenty to say :P Excellent post, as usual!

    1. Hey Bhadra, glad u liked it yaar..Thanks so much for ur kind words... Hey hope all is well at MUWCI :)

      I totally agree with u on the realism part. Mallu movies and mallu music are so distinct. Yup, I know.. the current crop of movies are getting innovative and people are rewarding them for the same... people seem to be encouraging more novelties; and that's really a good sign.. Ya Bhadra.. Fahad Fazil is rocking!! :)

      Hope ur dad liked it ..what'd he say? :)

  10. Great Research.....I have loved the mallu movies for all these reasons and in recent times have been waiting for the new releases because of the great scripts....

    1. Hey Somz, enthokke undu visheshangal??? :)

      Hope Srisha is all good.. I saw some pics.. wow! she's really grown up! :)

      Always happy to catch up with u, Somz :)

  11. Wah...what detailed research and analysis! And I thought the greatest contribution of Malayalam cinema to the country was Asin! Just kidding!

    Amitabh Bachchan once claimed in an interview decades ago that Malayalam films were progressive and had great thematic content, not just the suggestive, sleazy erotica as they used to be advertised as in the north. And the person who had initiated him to Malayalam cinema? The great Smita Patil.

    In a way, Malayalam cinema filled the progressive cinema vacuum that Bangla cinema left behind when their master directors passed away giving way to its degeneration into crass Bollywood copies.

    1. Bro! Thnx fr dropping by man.. n even more, thanks for taking the time and effort to go thru it - as an non mallu, I'm pretty sure u wudn't know most of the stuff I wrote above - but thanks so much fr taking the time n trouble for going thru it :)

      Wow, that's a very powerful insight regards the Bangla-Malayalam purview. Yap, I too am a great believer that mallu movies rock n can rock even more! :)

      Thnx so much for dropping by Rickie.. really appreciate it! :)

  12. Entire analysis is excellent. But in my view the contributions of Srinivasan as an Actor,writer,scriptwriter & Director is not given the credit he deserved. The article seems to have totally ignored him which is unjust & unfair. Even in the Padma awards his contributions seems to have been overlooked. I don't find any reasons for ignoring such a great artist. Hope his contributions will be recognised both by the analysts and government in not too distant future. Otherwise it will be great injustice.

    1. Yes sir! I totally agree.. I had the earlier thought of including Sreenivasan and Ranjith but later edited it out due to the sheer size of this post.. but yup, you're right - they're too much a part of Mollywood to be taken out.. thanks for pointing it out for me.

      I've integrated it as above.. do temme what you think? Thanks so much for bringing it up.

      Welcome to my blog Shetty.. u've already contributed to this blog with ur very first comment here... do drop by more often :)

  13. Is it a blog on Colgate contest.

    1. Well actually, I wanted to participate for the Colgate contest but didn't know what to write; but as I thought more on it, this topic came out and as a staunch mallu movie lover, this topic is something that is very close to my heart.

      And it does actually fit the theme perfectly- that of having the warning signals, not heeding to it and the subsequent decay.

      And yes, the awesome revival.

  14. Dear blogger friend,

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    1. Ya baby ya!

      taking a bow!!! :)


  15. That's a lot of information. For me Malayalam film industry meant Mohanlal and Mamooty. Also didn't know a lot of Hindi movies were inspired from Malayalam movies.

    1. Hey Ramakant, I know.. whle lotta infor, na?? :D

      Oh ya, lotsa mallu movies get remade in lotsa other languanges.. n I'm not sure if the reverse trend is that prominent as mallu mileu is very unique. Of course, whole lotta tam n tel movies just get dubbed and they are pretty widely accepted n appreciated out here in Mollywood.

      Nice to see u back Ramakant! :)

  16. Fuck! That is a lot of information for one day Raj. And I won't lie, I haven't read the whole thing, I'd stop by tomorrow for the hopefully equally interesting 2nd half :)

    And that bit I knew, a lott of Hindi ideas are taken from the south :)

    1. U said it! :)

      Hope u did manage to drop by tomorrow? But it's ok even if u didn't.. I know this one is H-U-G-E, so don't really bother :)

      Welcome to ma blog Ayushi! Happy to see u here n glad tht ur first word out here resonates so well with the theme :D

  17. I am late to drop by, but couldn't resist the urge to add my part of the research on the 'Most number of awards' listing, similar to the 'firsts' list you have made :

    - M.T. Vasudevan nair holds the most number of national awards in the best screenplay category .
    - Adoor Gopalakrishnan has a total of 17 national awards to his credit in various categories including best director, best film and best screenplay.
    - K.S Chithra has won the most number national awards in the best singer female category
    - K.J.Yesudas has won the most number of national awards in the best singer male category.
    - Mammooty shares the record for the most number of best actor awards with amitabh bachan and kamal hassan with mohanlal following closely behind with two best actor awards.

    More importantly, Kudos to your account! I had a fallacy that the non resident malayalis despise most of the ingenious traits that run through the length and breadth of kerala. Happy to know that it isnt entirely so. Just loved the best dialogues and the movie of the decade section. Or maybe everything about this post ? :)

    P.S: So whose fan are you huh ? Mohanlal or Mammotty ? ( Now isnt that one way of categorising the people in kerala ;) )

  18. It is a very nice account of the malayalam cinema from the eightees.Kudos to you.We shouldn;t forget though that malayalam threw up great cinema in the earlier period as well with directors like K,S.Sethumadhave and Vincent'who had the support of powerful scripts at a time when great novels were converted in to films.
    Regards & best wishes to you.Wonderful effort!

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  20. Having born nd brought up in thamizh nadu hearing al de cooked up shit (Tam media) everyday, I was in de presumption that mallu movies are nothing more than Shakeela nd Reshma (*I dont even know if dey re actually from Kerala! * Thanks to youtube, de word MALLU is associated more with Soft core porn shit than de one which notifies de smartest few of de nation in de ignorant minds like mine!)..

    My association with de mallu movies started with de flick, which I consider one of de al time best, USTAD HOTEL, which I actually started watching to show my interests on a Cute Mallu girl of my class..!! (Nd too coz of my personally developed obsession to hear the beautiful language Malayalam).. But as soon as I started, i realised Mallu movies provided whatever I personally sought after for in Tam movies (with de likes of Mani & Kamal), which is a very rare phenomenon in de land of Rajinis, Vijays & Ajits..!! It feels so good that I 've seen few of de ones yu've pointed out..

    KUDOs bro fa de blog, I loved ya writing de way you 've sorted out movies :) But I felt very bad when having noticed that the al time best classic comedy KILUKKAM and de movie with loads of Philosophy-taking Mallu industry to new heights, GURU were left out and that ya blog concentrated mainly on de lead roles that the works of greats INNOCENT, JAGADHY & NEDUMUDI VENU were not mentioned :(

  21. I’m From Tamil Nadu, I like Malayalam Movies very much, in contrast I heard many Malayalam people like VIJAY, AJITH, SURYA, ALLU ARJUN. Tollywood is completely opposite to molly wood, whereas kolly wood is mixture of both the tolly wood and molly wood. Movies Made by Malayalam Industries are heart warming and life oriented, where you can at least learn something for your Life. I wish People from Malayalam film industry release their movies in Tamil with subtitles so that it will reach wider audience. Because artistic work should reach more people in the world. I used to read all the latest Kerala News in Malayalam from this site, check it , would be useful.