December 27, 2013

The Top Ten Malayalam Movies of 2013

It’s that time of the year where we crib about the best and the worst of the passing year.The first one in a series of posts,here’s my list of this year’s Best Malayalam Films.

This KunchakkoBoban-BijuMenon starrer (partly inspired by the Robert De Niro-Sean Penn starrer ‘We are Not Angels’)told the comical story of two thieves who had to disguise themselves as Priests inorder to escape from the eyes of the Law.Though the script had it’s own share of flaws it was the terrific comic timing of the lead cast that made ‘Romans’ worth a watch.

Okay,let’s put it bluntly-this Mamootty Film fromLal Jose was nowhere near the team’s earliest offering-‘OruMaravathoorKanavu’ (which incidentally was also the director’s debut venture as an independent film maker).Neither was it a worthy successor to the director’s previous outing,the critically and commercially acclaimed ‘AyalumNjanumThammil’(which also won him last year’s Kerala State Award for the Best Director)but still this Movie managed to find a place in this list because it achieved what it intended to be-a decent family entertainer.It was also the only decent film in which Superstar Mammootty had acted this year.

Directed by debutant Alphonse Puthren,Neram narrated some strange incidents happening in the life of an un- employed lad named Mathew(NivinPauly).The movie had a wafer thin story to say but it was the brilliant making by the talented director(ably supported with a highly believable performance by Nivin) which made it a really enjoyable affair.The fresh-pairing of NivinPauly and NazriyaNaazim also worked to it’s advantage. 

Director Ranjith Shankar’s most successful film till date,’PunyalanAgarbathies’ was the tale of Joy Thakkolkaran,an ambitious youngster who dreams of being an ‘Ambani’ by selling Agarbathies made out of Elephant Dung.The movie which reminded us of the good old eightees when the SatyanAnthikkadu-Sreenivasan-Lalettan combo used to make meaningful social satires laced with humour and family sentiments.Never preachy or boring,PunyalanAgarbathies co-produced by Jayasurya himself was a runaway success.

6.Philips and The Monkey Pen-
When was the last time that a really good Malayalam Children’s film made you laugh and cry at the same time?Though there were the odd gems like T.D.Dasan VI.B(directed by Late Mohan Raghavan) or 101 Chodyangal(directed by Siddharth Shiva), most of the recent Malayalee attempts in making movies for Children were eminently forgettable(including the mamooth budgeted ‘Magic-Magic 3D’ from Navodaya).Director Duo Rojin Philip and ShanilMuhammed’s Philips and the Monkey Pen was a sweet little film which was thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining.But the real star of the film was Master Sanoop who played Ryan Philip to perfection.

5.Mumbai Police-
Written by Sanjay-Bobby and directed by Roshan Andrews this Prithviraj-Jayasurya-Rahman starrer was a critical as well as commercial success.Exploring the taboo theme of same-sex love,’Mumbai Police’ is undoubtedly one of the pathbreaking films in recent times.Prithviraj as Antony Mosses IPS gave a splendid performance as the Police Officer who is suffering from an identity crisis/existential crisis.Devoid of any songs or crass jokes,the movie was also technically slick with a highly competent direction by Roshan.

Based on the life of the pioneer of Malayalam Cinema-J.C.Daniel,Kamal’sPrithviraj starrer was not only a big winner when the Kerala State Film Awards for 2012(the Movie was Censored on the 31 st of December,2012 which made it eligible to compete for last year’s Film Awards)were announced early this year but also turned out to be a profitable affair at the ticket counters.Infact Celluloid was also a highly entertaining film with a hilarious first half which was a welcome change from the highly pretentious art house fares that usually shines in the awards/festival circuits.Prithviraj played J.C’s role to perfection while new comer Chandni who played the role of Rosi,Malayalam Cinema’s first heroine also did her part well.

Veteran director Shyamaprasad made a strong comeback through his FahadFazil-Ann Augustine starrer ‘Artist’ which told the story of a self -centered,egoistic painter-Michel Agnelo(Fahad)and his live-in partner Gayathri(Ann).Adapted from a novel by ParitoshUttam(‘Dreams in Prussian Blue’,published by Penguin India-metro reads),Artist tried to explore the themes of solitude,alienation and selfless love.ThoughFahad was good as Micheal it was Ann Augustine who stole the show with a career best performance as the confused and impulsive Gayu who is hopelessly lost in Love.The movie also introduced us a talented new comer,SreeramRamachandran who played Abhi-the friend with sinister plans.

Though this Prithviraj starrer was the least hyped among the Ramzan releases it turned out to be the highest grosser among the other Malayalam Movies which got released during that season.A Psychological thriller written and directed by JeethuJoseph,’Memories’ visualised certain episodes in the life of a police officer.Though the story had shades of Aamir Khan’s ‘Talaash’,Mohanlal’s ‘Grandmaster’ and Anitha Nair’s mystery thriller ‘Cut Like Wound’,it was JeethuJoseph’s brilliant execution and Prithviraj’s towering performance as Sam Alex,the I.P.S. officer with a troubled past that ensured success for the Movie.

Jeethu Joseph’s Mohanlal starrer ‘Drishyam’ is a cinematic triumph by all means.Brilliantly scripted and flawlessly directed,Drishyam is that kind of film which will be talked about by the Malayalee movie goers for a very long time.Thespectacular tale of an illiterate farmer(Georgekutty,played by Mohanlal) and his  struggles to protect his family from the inevitable collapse.I would rate Drishyam as Jeethu’s best work till date both as a writer and a director.It’s a brilliant edge-of-the seat thriller which is totally worth your time and money! 

Ps-This post is cross-posted at

Also Read- The Most disappointing Malayalam Films of 2013
                The MoviesYou never knew existed 



venu said...

yet to watch punyalan agarbathies

Anonymous said...

Hi Nikhil,

Nice compilation! You have aptly summarized highlight of each movie precisely.

I am looking forward to similar lists like top actors/actress,performance,directors and script writers. It will be fine even if this is limited to TOP 5. Keep up the good work.

nikhimenon said...

thanks for your feedback.appreciate the comments which you have posted in worst malayalam movies thread also.
Yeah,there will be more similar lists on the worst malayalam movies,best actors will all be sposted within a few days

Elizabeth said...

Wondering why you did not add Amen in this list...

i have watched Romans, Emmanuel and Mumbai Police...liked it though many people commented that the gay theme was a total letdown...

nikhimenon said...


thanks for your feedback.About Aamen,i was expecting this comment from atleast one of the readers.Though i agree that aamen is a good film,i couldn't enjoy it that much.Hence it's not there in this list.It's purely a personal choice.I do appreciate that many people thoroughly enjoyed it

raj said...

nice list.haven't seen drishyam yet though