Category: Lists

Best of Malayalam Cinema in 2018 (Critics’ Choice)

Although over 150 Malayalam films released in 2018, only a handful of those were deemed watchable by industry critics at large. Out of this handful, 15 titles were selected based on their cinematic brilliance and without considering their box office success.

Ee Ma Yau poster
Ee. Ma. Yau is the best Malayalam film of 2018

This is a list of the 15 best Malayalam movies of 2018, as selected by eminent critics of the Kerala film industry.

  1. Ee. Ma. Yau (dir. Lijo Jose Pellissery)
  2. Sudani from Nigeria (dir. Zakariya)
  3. Sexy Durga (dir. Sanal Kumar Sasidharan)
  4. Varathan (dir. Amal Neerad)
  5. Kayamkulam Kochunni (dir. Rosshan Andrrews)
  6. Koode (dir. Anjali Menon)
  7. Carbon (dir. Venu)
  8. Eeda (dir. Ajithkumar)
  9. Aami (dir. Kamal)
  10. Swathanthryam Ardharathriyil (dir. Tinu Pappachan)
  11. Njan Marykutty (dir. Ranjith Sankar)
  12. Aalorukkam (dir. V C Abhilash)
  13. Padayottam (dir. Rafeek Ibrahim)
  14. Poomaram (dir. Abrid Shine)
  15. Maradona (dir. Vishnu Narayn)
Varathan Malayalam film poster
Varathan has polarizing reviews but still came in at #4

The method of selection as well as other details about individual titles can be found over at my IMDb list here. My annual tradition of creating best-of lists/video was not possible because I could not catch all the films in 2018. (A punishment for not living in Kerala.)

Carbon film poster
Carbon stars Fahadh Faasil and Mamata Mohandas in the lead

Most of these are available on DVD or VOD. If none of these interest you or if you have already seen them, consider my personal favourites:

  • Ente Mezhuthiri Athazhangal (dir. Sooraj Thomas)
  • Uncle (dir. Gireesh Damodar)
  • Theevandi (dir. Fellini T P)
  • Kuttanpillayude Sivarathri (dir. Jean Markose)

Or, go for some of the underdogs of 2018:

  • Bhayaanakam (dir. Jayaraj)
  • Kaly (dir. Najeem Koya)
  • Joseph (dir. M Padmakumar)
  • Lilli (dir. Prasobh Vijayan)
  • Kammara Sambhavam (dir. Rathish Ambat)
  • Njan Prakashan (dir. Sathyan Anthikkad)

While you decide which film to catch this holiday season, also check out my list of the best posters of Malayalam cinema in 2018. A few of my other similar lists related to Malayalam films can be found here (best of 2017), here (best of 2016), and here (best of 2015). TN.

Best Posters of Malayalam Cinema in 2018

I am a sucker for posters. They are one of my favourite design objects to look at. As an Engineering student, I used to design posters for my college’s annual cultural events and would spend a good time working on them. Because I used to heavily depend on stock images while grabbing ideas off the internet, I understand how difficult it is to design them. And when it comes to films, it is often out of just an idea. First-look posters have to attract a film’s target audience while depending on that tiny idea sitting only in the director’s head. That is why talking about their beauty and appreciating the best ones as well as their creators are important.

Here is a list of posters that were created for Malayalam films that released in 2018. In no specific order; and images sourced from IMP Awards, IMDb, or the film’s respective Facebook pages, with proper credits attributed wherever expected.


These are the best Malayalam posters of 2018:

Carbon film poster
Produced by Poetry Film House

Designed by Oldmonks, the posters for Venu’s adventure drama film Carbon perfectly encapsulates the hidden meaning behind the title as well as the central character’s selfish odyssey. Note the elongated hexagonal outline of the poster as well as the geometrical shapes in the title font and then read the tagline.


Ee Ma Yau poster
Produced by RGK Cinema

I am not a fan of posters that are not vertical (portrait) in shape, yet I cannot resist raving about this poster designed by Oldmonks for Lijo Jose Pellissery’s sombre drama Ee.Ma.Yau. In the film, the titular character dreams of being sent to the Gods on a gigantic coffin with pomp and circumstance. And with this striking first-look poster, we exactly know how big (“breaching a coastline” big), while giving you a bad taste of death and horror along the way.


Dakini Malayalam film poster
Produced by Universal Cinema and Urvasi Theatres

Rahul Riji Nair’s zany crime comedy drama Dakini certainly switched ON the hype through its series of vibrant posters designed by digital artist Prathool N T. I love the title font so much that I just cannot decide between it and the poster’s magnificent colour scheme. Nowhere has a team of four grandmas looked old, lovable, and wicked at the same time. But I don’t think I can forgive the makers for the missing Oxford comma. (Just kidding!)

Trivia – What is surprising to me is that the artist also developed the publicity designs for Rosshan Andrrews’s period crime drama Kayamkulam Kochunni. Which are better than the ones designed by Thought Station that went live.


Lilli Malayalam film poster
Produced by E4 Entertainment

Prasobh Vijayan’s crime drama Lilli ran a pretty successful campaign before its release, thanks to ample help from Oldmonks who only raised the bar if we compare this with their first two designs on this list. Giving the central and titular character a bouquet of lilies to hold, a crown of thorns to wear, and an aura, and then framing her as a character in a High Renaissance painting makes me want to print it (frescoed, if possible) and gift it to a friend so that he can expand his own Sistine Chapel collection of movie posters.


Varathan Malayalam film poster
Produced by Fahadh Faasil and Friends

The neon colour scheme, especially in the title font, made me spit out my coffee the first time I saw the Oldmonks-designed first poster of Amal Neerad’s uppity crime drama Varathan. And then I stopped having coffee for some time because with each poster coming out (even the character ones), I was getting this strange, negative vibe – something bad is going to happen to the lead characters that will unshape their relationship. That is exactly what the film wanted to convey. And it is.


Padayottam Malayalam movie poster
Produced by Weekend Blockbusters

Another poster designed by Prathool N T, the rusty, neon-induced shades added more fun and expectations to Rafeek Ibrahim’s gritty crime comedy Padayottam. It is when you realize that the character (played by Biju Menon) you see in the poster is not as terrifying as he seems to be in the film is what makes this more interesting. (Like an anti-promotion stunt, if you will.) Posters so colourful like these for films like these make me secure my faith in Malayalam cinema.


Ranam Malayalam film poster
Produced by Yes Cinema

With Nirmal Sahadev’s crime drama Ranam (also known as Detroit Crossing), Oldmonks add some Western touch to their design (and rightly so), which makes this poster featuring the ensemble cast look like that of a potential Hollywood blockbuster. Do note the neonized font for the title in Malayalam text.


Iblis Malayalam film poster
Produced by Ichais Productions

Designed by nologomedia, this charming poster for Rohith V S’s fantasy love story Iblis has not only a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL title font but also fantastical factors etched into each and every one of its pixels, which gives you every bit of a hint about what to expect. Iblis is also the third film on this list so far to feature its actors’ names on the posters, which surely is a welcome move by Malayalam cinema at large if you ask me.


Neerali Malayalam film poster
Produced by Moonshot Entertainments

Oldmonks give Ajoy Varma’s slipshod survival drama Neerali (or Nieraali) a more direct reference to its title (which means Octopus) than the director himself gave to the film. The immensely likable designs with a heavy dose of honey yellow scattered across the posters, and an intelligent hue spectrum on specifically the one above, made me go gaga.


Thobama Malayalam film poster
Produced by Radical Cinemas and Thekkepat Films

Designed by 24AM, the poster design for Mohsin Kassim’s ode to romance Thobama gives out a peculiarly oldies vibe (of a time) when you used to hang out with your colleagues on the madhil and whistle at the beauties of your college (which, at the moment, is a type of eve-teasing). It’s supposed to be nonchalant and nostalgic and it very well is, with some amazing use of the watercolour effect.

Trivia – 24AM rose to instant popularity when their butterfly logo on the posters for Alphonse Putharen’s Premam went viral.


Aabhaasam Malayalam film poster
Produced by Spire Productions and Collective Phase One

Designed by artist Pavi Sankar, the posters for Jubith Namradath’s social satire Aabhaasam are as raunchy and vivid as the film’s characters and the central theme. There would be no one person who will look at this piece of art and not want to consider consuming the full content. I remember the publicity team had also released a slightly risque-y poster on social media once the film was certified by the CBFC after much controversy. And it was equally awe-inspiring. Just bravo!


Eeda Malayalam film poster
Produced by Delta Studio and Collective Phase One

One of the best Malayalam movies of 2018, B Ajithkumar’s powerful romance story narrated against a political backdrop Eeda really took the rawness and realism of its theme to a higher level with this poster. Not only does it adopt the “put the ensemble” route – like Dakini, Ranam, and Aabhaasam – but also takes its title font so seriously that it evokes memories of a certain political theory popular in Kannur (and Kerala, in general) where the film is set. It is designed by Oldmonks.


Aami Malayalam film poster
Produced by Reel and Real Cinema

Last on this list is – for the eighth time – an Oldmonks design where they give a subtle nod to the film’s primary subject (legendary writer Kamala Surayya) and her ink-y writings that not only wreaked havoc in her own life but also kicked up a furore in the sensitive literary, political, and religious spheres. What better use of the smudge tool than on a poster for a film that talks about how a person is oppressed by the society because of their outspoken writing. This is for Kamal’s hard-hitting biopic Aami.


These are the 13 best posters that helped Malayalam cinema go the extra mile in its promotions in 2018. I wanted to list more posters (considering around a hundred fifty films released this year) and write about their designers to give them more exposure but I feel doing that would take the focus off from these pieces of remarkable creative art. TN.


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Rethinking Movie Disclaimers

I was watching V A Shrikumar Menon’s Malayalam-language thriller Odiyan (2018) last day and I couldn’t help but think about the disclaimers that flashed on the screen. While I have noticed the disclaimer “Violence against women is punishable under law” in plenty of other recent films, it is only now that I thought about it in length.

I understand why there is a need to add that particular disclaimer (added to a scene where Prakash Raj’s character is forcibly holding Sreejaya Nair’s character’s jaw by his hand) – especially in today’s sensitive landscape where violence against women has shot up unnaturally – and how it satisfies and suggests the country’s various art control and regulation boards into believing that their job is done, but what stumps me is the singularity of it all. Why do we restrict the disclaimers to only certain elements? Why only women, cigarette smoking, and animals?

Why do we append these less-than-useless disclaimers in movies when we know that there are other bigger reasons that cause these very things that we are trying to eradicate? Why do we think that these disclaimers will have a considerable impact when no one even takes them seriously other than those who mandate it who, by the way, I’m told, often look at these disclaimers when they don’t have access to porn? 

Plus, we all know that not a single smoker has kicked the butt after watching that horrendously produced anti-smoking disclaimer, now starring Indian cricketer Rahul “The Wall” Dravid in the performance of his lifetime.

So, here’s a list of common disclaimers that we all have seen and got irritated by when at the movies and how they should be if we were living in an ideal world.

Movie Disclaimers in an Ideal World

If there is a need to add disclaimers in movies (restricted to Indian movies), I would love to see these versions over the current ones:

  • Not all characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is not purely coincidental.
  • No one was harmed during the making of this film.
  • Culpable violence against all genders is punishable under law.
  • Smoking, much like living in a polluted city and other 87 acts, is injurious to health.
  • Intoxication is injurious to health.
  • Not following the rules underlined in The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 is punishable under law.

I know for a fact that as long as we are sensitive about art, this new edition of movie disclaimer texts will never be accepted. My future son already knows this. But I’m still hopeful.

What are some other disclaimers that takes the fun out of your movie-watching experience? Let me know and we will edit it a bit. TN.

List: Types of People You Meet in an Elevator

The elevator is the most awkward place on Earth. Your intention might be to just transport yourself vertically but the people you meet in there make it a gauche affair. Whether it is an elevator at your housing society’s high-rise or your workplace or any other lift capsule, these people are omnipresent.

Outside the Elevator

  • Crashers – They crowd the entrance of the lift and hope to enter the elevator before people inside have even begun to walk out. They wake up in the morning with only one purpose in life: finding a place inside a lift
  • Sprint Runners – They are a variation of Crashers. They are always in a hurry, have a slightly swifter gait, and use their elbows as weapons to clear off the crowd. One moment they will be outside and the other they are in front of you turning into a Crasher
  • Delayers – They call the lift, see everyone else get in, and then stand outside waiting for their friends to join. They repeatedly press the call button and delay the lift’s movement. They often are the opposite in bed
  • Anxiety Folks – They tend to press the call button again and again till their ego and insecurity have filled themselves to the brim

types of elevator people

It sucks when all of them enter together. © Photo by Vale Zmeykov on Unsplash

Inside the Elevator

  • Network Seekers – Always the ones talking on the phone just when the lift starts moving. They know that network connectivity tends to get weaker when you are moving at a high speed on a vertical plane but boy they talk. And a few seconds later they begin to shout
  • Gangbangers – Typically a group of two or more people whose primary purpose is to measure the sound proofing of an elevator capsule. From cackling to roaring to snickering – with loud and intense sound waves – they are also often the people who crack the worst jokes
  • Leaners – Physically incapable or not, they just lean on the wall of the elevator. They enter, choose any of the three sides, and lean their entire body on the elevator wall panel. These are mostly people who are fed up with their life (housing society) or work (office building)
    • Ultra Leaners – They lean on the doors (fourth wall) of the elevator. They are so fed up, they have suicide in their subconscious mind
  • Watchers – They enter the capsule and stand without turning. While everybody is facing the door of the elevator, these guys look at you. And smile
  • Oglers – Probably the most common type of elevator people. They usually have a phone in hand that they give the remaining 30% attention to when they are not looking at you, your attire, and the visible body beneath your attire. Their only regret in life is that they don’t have see-through glasses
  • Hitpeople – They walk in, stand facing the door/s, look at the changing numbers on the display panel, and get out when it’s their floor. In their free time, they kill people and bury their bodies in the hull of the lift structure
  • Noobs – They enter the lift and later realize that it does not stop at their floor. These are the ones who empty an entire bucket of ice cream later that day when such a thing happens
  • Helpers – They usually stand by the control panel of the lift and give in to requests of pressing floor numbers by other travelers. They often end up with partners who abuse them mentally for the rest of their lives

There is never a good way to travel in an elevator which increases your chances of being one of these people. Happy elevation!

List: Why People Don’t Wear Helmets

Every day while traveling to my workplace I see people riding motorcycles without wearing a helmet. And every day I wonder what makes them skip the one essential safety element that can save their head from breaking in case of an accident.

So, one day, I sat and thought deep about it. I also asked a few friends what they think. Friends who wear, even have an extra for the pillion rider, do not wear, and do not even own one. And this is what I found.

riders don't wear helmets

Most people own a helmet, but they keep it at home. / Jon Tyson

17 Reasons Why People Don’t Wear Helmets

  • It screws up their hairstyle
  • It’s uncomfortable and borderline suffocates them
  • “The stock unit that I got with my Honda Unicorn would anyway not save my head so why should I bother”
  • It’s an unneeded expense and petrol prices are only rising
  • “I don’t like to hold it in my hand when I am not riding”
  • “I couldn’t find a large one”
  • Good quality helmets are expensive
  • “I know how to talk to the traffic police”
  • “I only ride short distances”
  • “I would pay the 500-rupee fine once than buy a helmet worth 5ooo rupees”
  • “My helmet was stolen twice”
  • “I ride safely and am confident that I will not meet with an accident”
  • It’s heavy
  • It stinks
  • “I started losing hair because of it”
  • “I have never been stopped by the traffic police”
  • They don’t like to follow rules

There are even dumber reasons that people give when asked about their habit of not wearing a helmet. It just baffles me that people are ready to put their lives in danger because a helmet will distort their hairstyle (#1 reason) and they always want to look presentable.

I have tried describing to them the problems associated with helmet-less riding, and so far, I have changed the mind of not a single person. Which is why people don’t come to me when they want to convince someone.

One day I will write about why people don’t wear seat belts but for now read what I have observed in today’s taxi-cabs.

What are your thoughts on helmet-less riding or unsafe riding/driving in general? What dumb/weird reasons have you come across? Let me know in the comments below. Check the conversation at Reddit. TN.

Top Malayalam Movies of 2017

Top Malayalam movies of 2017

The first few months of a new year is always a great time to consider, watch, and evaluate the best of cinema. While you get your life back on track, relax by binge-watching the best films that people enjoyed in 2017. These are the top Malayalam movies of 2017.

Although the international awards season is behind us, it’s wise for Malayali film fanatics like you and me to review the best titles that graced the theaters back in our land in the past year. So that when the topic of cinema comes in, you don’t sit like you don’t know who Tovino Thomas is.

Without further ado, here are the 10 best Malayalam movies that both audience and critics enjoyed in 2017. In a countdown list mode to make it look more dramatic.

10 Top Malayalam Movies of 2017

Out of a list of the 132 odd Malayalam films that released in the calendar year 2017, a measly 25 titles were deemed “watchable” by the cinema-going public and critics. I have listed only the top 10 based on critic ratings and reviews and without considering the inflated box office numbers that production houses circulate on social media.

These are the 10 top Malayalam movies of 2017, according to critics and my personal ratings.

10. EZRA

One of the best horror films to come out of Malayalam cinema is also one of the most well-received titles of the year. Ezra, directed by debutante Jay K, was 2017’s first release of Prithviraj Sukumaran who was gasping for a success since Ennu Ninte Moideen (2015).

Sukumaran plays a troubled nuclear energy specialist who is convinced that his wife, played by the charming Priya Anand, is possessed by an evil spirit. It not only involves the interesting concept of “Dybbuk box” but also has a powerful score that is eerie enough to scare you. Sukumaran acts in his trademark style (something he continued to do in Adam Joan later in 2017) and leads the film written with sufficient amounts of horror and thrills to be called a hit Malayalam movie of 2017.

Ezra is shot beautifully and the crew deserves applause for carving the almost perfect horror film, a genre that is hardly ever visited by Malayalam filmmakers.

Don’t forget to check out the chart-topping songs from the film – “Lailakame” and the surreal “Thambiran” produced by Rahul Raj and Sushin Shyam respectively.

Ezra is available on DVD.

9. KAADU POOKKUNNA NERAM

Not many people know that Dr. Biju is a director who uses his films to shed limelight on stark social issues. Neither do people know that the Malayalam parallel cinema, also known as the indie film movement, is still strong as before. And Kaadu Pookkunna Neram is one such example that made those who watched it go ga-ga.

While India sent Amit Masurkar’s mediocre drama about Naxalism, “Newton”, to the Oscars (which consequently lost the race obviously), the fabulous Kaadu Pookkunna Neram spiraled into oblivion. Because it did not run for more than a few weeks and because the makers failed to promote it in a better way; it did not even come under the radar of writers who make lists like this.

Starring Rima Kallingal and Indrajith Sukumaran – two of the most underrated actors in Malayalam cinema – the film talks about a policeman’s journey into the woods in search and for possible apprehension of a Naxalite group. A very simple and straightforward film, it reeks of minimalism and must be seen to understand how the nasty movement actually affects people in the interiors of Kerala.

And while you are here, let me also convince you to check out Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s controversial and therefore multiple award-winning feature film, Sexy Durga, which opened on 23 March 2018.

Kaadu Pookkunna Neram is not available on DVD/VOD.

8. GODHA

Director Basil Joseph’s second directorial venture after the comical Kunjiramayanam (2015) was by some looked at as a powerful ode to feminism. While that may or may not be true, Godha is surely as good as Malayalam entertainment can get. Starring the lovely Wamiqa Gabbi, Tovino Thomas (now you know who), and Renji Panicker, it told the story of an aspiring wrestler who finds her way from Punjab into Kerala to realize her dreams.

A quick uplifting watch, Godha takes you to a fictitious village known for wrestling and home-grown wrestlers and tries to break down few stereotypes on the way. With some great performances by the stars and occasional shoots of comedy, it was one of the best-reviewed films of 2017. Check out Shaan Rahman’s wonderful melodies in “Aaro Nenjil” sung by Gowry Lekshmi.

It is one of those rare films that both did well at the box office and made the job of critics a tad difficult. But there were still who compared it with Nitesh Tiwari’s Dangal and Ali Abbas Zafar’s Sultan.

Godha is available on DVD.

7. AADU 2

Called the funniest Malayalam film of 2017, Midhun Manuel Thomas’s second outing of the year after the abysmal Alamara provides more than what it promised. It takes you back to Shaji Pappan and his motley crew of half-witted nobodies as they get embroiled in a conspiracy that they can’t make head or tail of. Destroying the myth that a sequel can never be as good as the first film, Aadu 2 emerged as one of the best Christmas releases in Kerala and was also certified a box office hit.

Sitting like a crown on Jayasurya’s filmography, who enjoyed an almost equal success with Punyalan Private Limited (another sequel film) earlier in 2017, Aadu 2 shows that humor does not always have to be mixed with crass. A combination of slapstick and situational comedy – that is Aadu 2 for you by a talented crew headed by Vijay Babu.

Aadu 2 opened on 22 December 2017.

6. PARAVA

One of my personal favorites, Parava was highly anticipated mostly because it would mark the directorial debut of the phenomenal Soubin Shahir, known for his perfect comic timing and situational jesting. A man with great number of talents, Shahir took crafty filmmaking to another level with Parava, which talks about pigeon flying, a racing game (and a maddening hobby for some) popular in Mattancherry and Fort Kochi areas of Kerala.

Starring newbies in crucial roles and Dulquer Salmaan and Shane Nigam in supporting ones, Parava is a tour de force that must be witnessed in order to be appreciated. In addition to the extra efforts that must have been taken for filming the pigeons and their movements, Parava boasts of mouth-watering shots of the places it is set in, and altogether delivers a power-packed dose of entertainment.

When it came out in September 2017, I hadn’t experienced anything like it in a very long time. Something that I could relate to the experience I had while watching Alphonse Putharen’s Premam in 2015.

Parava opened on 21 September 2017.

5. NJANDUKALUDE NAATTIL ORIDAVELA

Released in the same month as Parava and another film by a debutante director, Njandukalude Naatil Oridavela is a dark comedy that so effortlessly conveys its message about a serious topic that you will stare in awe even as the credits roll. Consisting an ensemble cast of Nivin Pauly, Shanthi Krishna, Lal, and Aishwarya Lekshmi, it is a delightful piece of life that must be viewed with your family.

Don’t miss the somewhat useless (in the film) yet hummable “Enthavo” sung by Sooraj Santhosh and produced by Justin Varghese.

Njandukalude Naattil Oridavela is available on DVD.

4. THONDIMUTHALUM DRIKSAKSHIYUM

Though not a personal favorite, Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum is considered one of the best Indian movies of 2017. With realism as his main weapon, director Dileesh Pothan embarks on a journey with two of his most raw characters who meet the third one to wreak havoc in the most natural way.

Working around a gold chain that goes missing, the film aspires to shed light on how the society works, meanwhile also poking fun at police apathy and their piglike attitude. Suraj Venjaramoodu reclaims his stance as an actor who can play any role, and so does Fahadh Faasil, who upset few fans because he is not the main protagonist in the film.

Nimisha Sajayan can easily be called the breakout star of 2017 as she geared up and flourished in her new release, “Eeda”, early in January 2018.

Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum is available on DVD and BluRay.

3. MAYAANADHI

If Aadu 2 rose as the box office hit of the Christmas season, Aashiq Abu’s effervescent romantic drama Mayaanadhi ruled the critic circles. Starring Tovino Thomas (wow, again!) and the resplendent Aishwarya Lekshmi (wow, again!) as lovers, it is being called a love story that talks about “being in love”. Not the superficial courting or the gooey aftermath – just plain romance that is so much missing from this world.

Written by the talented duo Syam Pushkaran and Dileesh Nair, Mayaanadhi is easily one of the subtlest Malayalam movies of 2017. It’s devoid of gaudiness and that’s why it works.

Mayaanadhi opened on 22 December 2017.

2. ANGAMALY DIARIES

A festival favorite and more popular as the Malayalam film hailed by Anurag Kashyap, Lijo Jose Pallissery’s Angamaly Diaries is the rawest Malayalam film of 2017. A brief look at the trailer is enough for you to get hungry for the whole film.

Known for its gritty storyline about street gang wars in the Kerala town of Angamaly and starring mostly new actors, it received international acclaim for a variety of things including the minutes-long single take climax. If Nimisha Sajayan was THE breakout star, I think we can at least name Antony Varghese as the breakout male star of Malayalam cinema of 2017. He will be next seen in Swathanthryam Ardharathriyil (2018).

Don’t forget to listen to its weird soundtrack, notably “Theeyame”, “Thana Dhina”, and the love number “Do Naina”.

(Having said all that, I’m still curious about Pallissery’s Ee.Ma.Yau, which got a preview screening sometime in November and then disappeared.)

Angamaly Diaries is available on VCD and VOD.

1. TAKE OFF

A theme recently sampled by Ali Abbas Zaffar in Tiger Zinda Hai (2017), Take Off took me by surprise. Director Mahesh Narayanan delivers a breath-taking view into the ruins created by ISIL-controlled states as he chronicles the lives of a few nurses who find themselves held captive by the unforgiving terrorist outfit in Syria.

Parvathy won accolades for her mature performance as the leader of the nurse gang as she both tries to contact her husband, played by Kunchacko Boban, and awaits help from her Indian embassy chief, played by Fahadh Faasil. Narayanan has left no stone unturned with Take Off as you dissolve into the stupendous performances of the lead stars who act like they are living the characters. It completes the top Malayalam movies of 2017.

Take Off is available on DVD.

Malayalam Cinema in 2017: Year in Review

It is often very difficult to create such lists containing the best cinema has to offer but for 2017 it was very easy. More than 60% of the films that released last year were turkeys, some of which were huge disappointments such as Ajai Vasudev’s Masterpiece and Bejoy Nambiar’s Solo. However, there were titles that deserved much more love from their audience. And few such honorable titles are listed below.

If I could add ten more films to this list of top Malayalam movies of 2017, I would add Minnaminungu, Kaattu, Ramaleela, Udhaharanam Sujatha, Varnyathil Aashanka, Rakshadhikari Baiju (Oppu), C/O Saira Banu, Karutha Joothan, Munthirivallikal Thalirkumbol, and Veeram. Few other personal favorites are Aakasha Mittayee, Theeram, and Role Models.

But, I am happy to close the year with the fact that 2017 saw films that had women in prominent roles and almost half of the above 10 films had lead actresses, Godha and Take Off to name just two. Now let’s move ahead with more roles for women in the production side too. We start with Roshni Dinaker’s My Story coming up in early 2018.

For a detailed analysis of these films and to know how I came up with this list, check out my blog piece.

Here’s to a new year filled with better Malayalam films.

Effective Strategies to Watch Padmaavat Without Getting Killed

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s period drama Padmaavat is finally cleared by the CBFC and the Supreme Court, and is now slated to release on 25 January 2018. But, there are still some zealots out there who may prevent you from watching it.

So here are a few strategies to adopt so that you can enjoy the film and at the same time be prepared should a sword catch you off guard. There’s a high chance that your viewing will be interrupted by machete-wielding attackers, so if you care for your life, read and adopt these strategies.

I have never been so apprehensive about going for a movie before, and if it’s not an indication to the rising extremism in the country, then I do not know what it is.

Anyways, without further ado, here you go:

  • Book the movie ticket at the box office. This way you can gauge the situation and see if there are any religious extremists keeping a close eye on the patrons. If there are, don’t think twice. Go to the next theater in the next state
    • Don’t pre-book on BookMyShow as you can never know if they’ll cancel the show at the last minute, or if they are tracking who all are booking the tickets so that they can finish you before you leave your house
  • Book a movie ticket for PadMan and then, when you don’t see any danger, enter the screen that is showing Padmaavat. Unfortunately, your money will not reach the Bhansali crew
    • Or book a ticket for films like Nirdosh or Vodka Diaries that are definitely going to bomb at the box office. At least the artists of these films will get paid
  • When booking the ticket, don’t focus on comfort, and instead reserve a seat that is closer to the EXIT door. This way if they come to get you, you can run for the door quickly.
    • The one problem with this is that some cinema halls have ENTRY and EXIT doors adjacent to each other. If this is the case, you are screwed
  • Carry the holy book of those people
  • When entering theater, avoid the water flask and carry a pepper spray or a mace
  • Ask one of your religious friends to accompany you so that when push comes to shove, your friend can at least talk to them in their language using religious annotations. This will not work if the sword reaches your throat first
  • Apply for a job as an usher at your nearby theater right now and enjoy Padmavaat not as a patron but as an employee. Danger still exists here, but you at least know where to hide when they come
  • Observe them as they have appeared in the news in the past few weeks and mimic their dressing style when going to the theater. When terror breaks in, take their side, but don’t kill anybody
  • Choose a movie theater that is isolated. Chances of them going there to kill movie-watchers is low as compared to them going to popular locations. If not anything, these folks care much for publicity
  • Wait for a day or two and then head to The Pirate Bay.

 

There you have it. The best possible strategies to watch Padmavaat on or around 25 January. I usually don’t say this, but if you are really planning to go, it won’t hurt to be a little alert at all times. For all you know, the sword may be sitting waiting for blood in the bag of the person you came in with.

And if you don’t already do it, don’t go in until after they have played the anthem.