One of the many boons of OTT has been for the regional film industry. Previously reserved for the niche only, now almost every cinema lover has access to these movies, and language is definitely not a barrier. The view of South Indian cinema has changed from just being a cringy action thrillers, and Malayalam movies have had a huge hand in it. Known for their local and societal essence, Malayalam movies have become quite the rage in the OTT generation. Here are Top Must Watch 20 Malayalam Movies on Amazon Prime Video for you to binge on.
1. Maheshinte Prathikaaram
Dileesh Pothen made his directorial debut with Maheshinte Prathikaaram, which is a witty and comical revenge drama. Simplicity made sublime is what we’d call this film; with each performance, shot and dialogue, the film worms its way into your heart in the most easy yet effective way. Fahadh Faasil plays the protagonist, a photographer from a quaint little village whose simple life is disrupted by an event that makes him swear retribution. But it’s not a retribution ever seen in Mollywood before, and it’s a very welcome change.
2. Ee Ma Yau
A black comedy about life and death, Lijo Pellissery’s Ee Ma Yau is a film that makes you question humans and their way of living with a laugh in your heart. It portrays the futility of life in such a succinct and human way that you have to marvel at the director’s brilliance in creating something so beautiful out of something bleak as a funeral. With each scene and dialogue, you are hooked in to the grand comedy of tragedy that Ee Ma Yau is.
A movie embroiled in the trenches of what it really means to be police, Unda is a film about a convoy of police officers from Kerala sent to the heaviest Maoist guarded area for election duty. The fun and light atmosphere among the team underlined with the danger of imminent attack, lends this film a light yet sombre vibe, which is carried forth excellently by the performances and dialogues. Directed by Khalid Rahman, starring Mammootty, Unda makes for an entertaining and enlightening watch.
4. Kumbalangi Nights
Four brothers who have all grown up on their own terms are in for a change, as one of them – Bobby – gears up for marriage. A film where characters and their characteristics dominates the screen, Kumbalangi Nights is a film that is serene on the surface, like its enchanting cinematography, but portrays deeper shades of societal understanding and its ways. Helmed by Madhu Narayanan, it’s one of the masterpieces of the lot.
If you haven’t already, watch this Aashiq Abu film Virus, a film that can’t be any more relevant than today. Virus revolves around the Nipah outbreak of 2018 Kerala faced, and how the medical industry tackled a problem that had no vaccinations or treatment guidelines. In the period where humanity seems to suffer and death runs rampant, there still exist a few heroes who save the day, and Virus is an excellent testament of that.
6. Android Kunjappan Version 5.25
A light dramedy about a father-son relationship, Android Kunjappan revolves around an old man – Bhaskara – and his love-hate relationship with his mechanical engineer son – Subramanian. The film depicts the journey of Bhaskar’s attitude change from someone who doesn’t have tolerance for electronic devices to finding a friend in his robot nurse his son brought for him.
A thrilling tale of survival unlike any, Helen revolves around a hardworking nurse with a dream to shift to Canada for a better life. She is the girl who lives on her own terms, but when prejudice comes knocking, she decides to take a breather rather than face the storm, unaware that it will lead her into a mode of her survival. A nail-biting story of life and death, class and caste, Helen keeps you holding your breath for its entirety, praying for a happy ending.
In a country whose education system rarely gives a chance to explore sports as anything other than hobby, MC Jithin’s Nonsense is a film that tries to break these barriers with a totally new concept. Exploring BMX for the first time in Indian cinema, Nonsense explores the dreams and dystopia of the country in the minimalist yet effective way.
Director M. Padmakumar creates a Mollywood Sherlock with his investigative thriller Joseph. The film revolves around an ex-police officer, who with his band of retired friends, relives his investigative days by solving various cases. Known for his sharp investigative skills, Joseph takes you in a world of solving crimes, with a character that is an intriguing as the cases.
The age old battle between power and politics is what Lucifer offers, but with a story that grips you with its engaging and elaborate twists and turns. As Mohanlal’s character says, who plays the lead, the fight in Lucifer is against evil and evil. Prithviraj made his directorial debut with this film and he nails it. The ensemble cast all get their time, weaving a story that feels real and raw.
11. Ayyappanum Koshiyum
A film where male ego and testosterone runs high to give you an action thriller that keeps you at the edge-of-your-seat, Sachy’s Ayyappanum Koshiyum depicts an almighty clash of wills. It’s a tug of war between an arrogant ex-Havildar and an honest and strict sub-inspector, and the damage these two inflict in their battle. Filled with sufficient heroics and effective drama, Ayyappanum Koshiyum is a tale of two not-so-perfect-heroes that proves to be an entertainer.
A quintessential underdog story, Passenger revolves around a chance meeting between two
strangers which changes their lives forever. It’s about how the will of a common man saves the lives of two people, inadvertently saving lives of many. A classic piece directed by Ranjith Sankar, Passenger is the feel-good film we all need to watch right about now.
13. Ee Adutha Kaalathu
Arun Kumar Aravind’s Ee Adutha Kaalathu is a complex film encompassing lives of six different people, who have no connection to each other whatsoever, belonging in different class of society, and how one unavoidable incident connects their stories together. A film rich in character, confusion, and comedy, Ee Adutha Kaalathu will tie your brain in a knot with its subplots and mystery.
14. Driving License
Driving License is a film that showcases how an admiration can go horribly wrong when faced with humiliation. Lal Jr’s action film revolves around a Motor Vehicle Inspector and his ardent fanboyism for the local superstar Hareendran. When he is offered a chance to help his hero out of a pickle, he grabs onto it, but the meetings go haywire, turning his devotion into desire for destruction of his hero. Driving License gives you a realistic peek in the life of an ordinary fan and his extraordinary hero.
In this film that strays as far away from the title as it can, while also making you question its true meaning, director Anuraj Manohar teaches you the importance of trust in a relationship. Sachi and Vasudha are happy in love, but one incident their lives forever as they are forced to question the authenticity and reality of their love. A lesson in moral policing and trust, Ishq is a film that everyone should watch in today’s world.
Anveshanam is a film by Prasobh Vijayan, a crime thriller that leaves you to grapple with confusion at exactly what’s happening, waiting for the solution at the end. When a kid is admitted into the hospital for falling down, his family is put under scrutiny with a call that informs the police that the accident might not be what it is portrayed to be, and instead a foul play. With a clueless father and a hysteric mother, the truth seems a convoluted affair of deception and reality.
17. Kettyolaanu Ente Malakha
Nissam Basheer’s Kettyolaanu Ente Malakha is a slice of life drama film about, Sleevachan, an aloof, innocent man who marries Rincy out of obligation to society and his mother. But for love to bloom, he and Rincy has to go through some hard trials to overcome the gap of strangers and become companions. The film talks about toxic masculinity and the dearth of Indians still face when it comes to sex education.
They say when two people love each other, nothing can keep them apart. Sachy explores this in the film Anarkali. It’s a story between Shanthanu, a navy officer, who falls in love with the Admiral’s daughter, Nadira. But their love has to go through the test of time to determine its strength and possibility. A mystery thriller that vacillates between two timelines, Anarkali is tale of love lost and found.
19. Kuttanpillayude Sivarathri
Kuttan and Shakunthala Pillai, both police officers, live a happy life in their small cottage in the village, caring for their backyard farm. But the tranquil living is shattered one Sivarathri, when all his relatives come to stay at his place for the annual festival. A bizarre tale of attachments and greed, Jean Markose’s Kuttanpillayude Sivarathri is filled ghosts of past and present.
To conclude the list, here’s a crime thriller for you that will leave you gaping at the story that took place. Rajesh Pillai’s Vettah tells the story of an investigation started with the disappearance of a celebrity, where the two investigative officers find themselves involved in a hunt towards justice, unbeknownst to them. A tale of revenge smartly crafted, Vettah will throw twists and turns that will leave you impressed and empathetic.
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