2015 in review: Malayalam cinema brings viewers back to theatres
2015 was an impressive year for Malayalam cinema. A variety of films hit the screens including the so-called new-gen movies, comedy flicks, women-centric films, serious movies, a spoof and a gangster spoof! In the end, however, love prevailed.
As many as 140 released this year and two of them grossed over Rs 40 crore - Premam and Ennu Ninte Moideen. Oru Vadakkan Selfie, Amar Akbar Antony, and Bhaskar the Rascal collected over Rs 25 core. Pathemari, Kunjiramayanam, and Oru Second Class Yatra had a good run at the box office, according to reports from theatres.
Premam, which has completed 200 days in theatres, was a real trend setter. The film was set to be the biggest hit of the year, but the piracy row severely affected its run. A celebration for youngsters, the movie presented Nivin Pauly in a different avatar.
Prithviraj and Parvathy's Ennu Ninte Moideen, a real-life love story, released to stupendous success and may cross the Rs 50 crore mark.
After many years, film lovers thronged theaters in 2015 giving new hopes to the industry. It should be noted of the 150-odd films released in 2014, not even 10 tasted success. Significantly, youngsters had a bigger role in the feat.
Directors who scored and failed
Debut directors were aplenty, and some of them turned to be the most successful ones. All the veterans were in the race, too.
R S Vimal, G Prajith, Sachy, and Nadirshah, the directors of Ennu Ninte Moideen, Oru Vadakkan Selfie, Anarkkali, and Amar Akbar Antony respectively, were the stars among debutantes. Basil Joseph (Kunjiramayanam) and Jexson Antony-Rejis Antony (Oru Second Class Yatra) made a mark. Santhosh Viswanathan came up with the first spoof in Malayalam - Chirakodinja Kinavukal. Kamal's son Jenuse Mohammed (100 Days of Love), actor Vineethkumar (Ayal Njanalla), and Sreebala K Menon (Love 24*7) also debuted this year.
The films of Sudevan (CR No.89), Sajin Babu (Unto the Dusk), Sanalkumar Sasidharan (Oraalppokkam) and K R Manoj (Kanyaka Talkies) received very positive reviews from critics. Dr Biju's award-winning Perariyathavar and Valiya Chirakulla Pakshikal also hit theatres.
Sreekumaran Thampi, Balachandra Menon, Sathyan Anthikkad, Sibi Malayil, Jayaraj, Joshiy, Siddique, Lal Jose, Ranjith, Kamal, and Shyamaprasad had films this year. Only Siddique (Bhaskar the Rascal), Sathyan Anthikkad (Ennum Eppozhum), and Ranjith (Loham) had a good year. Jayaraj's award-winning movie Ottal also hit theatres.
Alphonse Putharen, after the successful 'Neram', lived up to expectations with his second movie 'Premam', or exceeded them. But 'Traffic' director Rajesh Pillai's Mili was not up to the mark.
Glittering stars, new faces
Prithviraj was undoubtedly the pick among actors, closely followed by Nivin Pauly. Prithvi had six films which were of different genres. He also recorded hat-trick with the successes of Ennu Ninte Moideen, Anarkkali and Amar Akbar Antony.
Nivin Pauly cemented his place in the industry with Oru Vadakkan Selfie and Premam. He also acted in Mili and Ivide in 2015.
Dulquer Salmaan hogged limelight towards the end of the year with 'Charlie' which had record initial collection. 100 Days of Love and OK Kanmani were his other releases.
Among youngsters, Fahadh Faasil did not have much luck in 2015. He had only two films - Haram and Ayal Njanalla.
Mohan Lal had nothing to cheer about in 2015. Laila O Laila and Kanal were flops. Mammotty, meanwhile, had a super hit in Bhaskar the Rascal while Pathemari was praised for his performance.
Jayasurya had the most number of releases - eight. Amar Akbar Antony and Su Su Sudhi Valmeekam were his hits while Lukka Chuppi was praised by critics. After the disastrous Ivan Maryadaraman, Dileep chose a different path with Chandrettan Evideya which proved a success. He next acted in Jeethu Joseph's Life of Josutty. Kunchacko Boban had six releases including Chirakodinja Kinavukal, Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi, and Valiya Chirakulla Pakshikal.
Among ladies, it was Parvathy who grabbed attention. Highly praised for her performances in Ennu Ninte Moideen and Charlie, the talented actress has proved that she has come a long way from 'Notebook Parvathy'.
Manju Warrier had Ennum Eppozhum, Rani Padmini and Jo and the Boy, of which the Sathyan Anthikkad film received good response from theatres. Ashiq Abu's much-anticipated Rani Padmini, which also had Rima Kallingal in the lead role, fared reasonably well. The movie was noted for its women-centric theme. Nayanthara made her presence felt with Bhaskar the Rascal. Kavya Madhavan and Bhavana had nothing much to do.
It was, however, the year of new faces. Sai Pallavi, a surprise in Premam, had a successful time as she has received many more Malayalam film offers. Anupama Parameswaran who also debuted in Premam, Manjima Mohan, Jewel Mary, and Deepthi Sati also proved they are here to stay.