Best Malayalam Movies of 2016 so far

Though Mollywood is a small film industry comparing other Indian language movies, it is known for best-scripted and low-budget movies which gain national-wide attention also. Many of them win awards at several National and international film festivals. Though more than 100 movies releases every year in this small industry, only a few capture audience’s hearts and critics’ good opinion. This year several actors and directors debuted silver screen, and also gained recognition for the debut film itself. Nivin Pauley and Dulquer Salmaan continued their stride of success through a couple of movies in the first half of the year. 
This year witnessed several brilliant performances on screen, particularly by less known and debut actors, and it is definitely a good sign for Malayalam cinema. A loud noise of applause to audience as well who accepted such experiments that gave a positive result to Mollywood. Through this column I would like to mention a few among those movies which need a loud of applause for its brilliant script and amazing performances. Movies released till mid-August 2016 are included in the list. 
Maheshinte Prathikaaram– This small-budget film is one of the major surprises of the year. Apart from its leading pair – Fahadh Faasil and Anusree, almost all actors including the lead heroine Aparna Balamurali were either newcomers or less-known actors to Malayalam cinema. Apart from a strong script, the performance of its lead pair as well as supporting cast gave a fresh look to the movie. The movie was directed by a newcomer, Dileesh Pothan who has worked with Aashiq Babu earlier. 

Action Hero Biju – Though the movie was criticized for not having a clear story line, Action Hero Biju gained audience’ attention for its comedy factor. No doubt, it’s one of the best entertainers Malayalam has witnessed in the recent times, and the star value of Nivin Pauley also played a key role in the big success of this film. The movie also noticed the brilliance of a few newcomers like Suresh Thampanoor (the drunkard singer) and Manju Vani. 
Puthiya Niyamam – Malayalis get only less opportunity to watch a good Mammootty film in theatre. This revenge saga is one such. But this mystery thriller is best known for the performance of Nayanthara, who played Mammootty’s wife in this film. The film was directed by A. K. Sajan. 

Kali – This thriller was the first release of Dulquer Salmaan this year and he was paired with Sai Pallavi of Premam fame. One of the much awaited flicks of the year, Kali also fared well at box office. The movie directed by Sameer Thahir had some pleasant music compositions as well. 

Kammatipaadam It’s one of the highly appreciated films of the year by film critics, and best among Dulquer Salmaan’s movies up-to-date. Powerful script is the backbone of the film, apart from brilliant performances of Vinayakan and Manikandan R Achari, who proved to be the real screen stealers. Its director Rajeev Ravi received praises from Bollywood director Anurag Kashyap, known for such dark thrillers and gangster stories. The movie is definitely critics’ choice of the year, and not owns a high entertainer value unlike Dulquer Salmaan’s movies.  

PaavadaPaavada is the first release of Prithviraj Sukumaran this year who gave a series of hits in 2015. This movie too continued his success journey, and one of the big hits of the year 2016. This comedy entertainer had an unexpected twist during its interval, and later changes to a serious film.  

Vettah– Unfortunately its director Rajesh Pillai died one day after the release of this film. The movie received positive reviews from critics and fared well at box office. The movie belongs to thriller category – director’s favourite. The movie starred Kunchacko Boban, Manju Warrier and Indrajith Sukumaran in lead roles, and definitely deserves a space in top movies of the year. 

Anuraga Karikkin Vellam– This breezy family entertainer starred Biju Menon, Asif Ali and Asha Sarath in lead roles and positive response from critics and audience. The movie was directed by debutant Khalid Rahman. 
Happy Wedding – This low-budget film with a bunch of newcomers was a sleeper hit at box office. Mouth to mouth publicity helped a lot for the success of this comedy film. Most of its crew members and actors belonged to Thrissur, and most of the film scenes were shot at Thrissur and Ernakulam. 
Jacobinte Swargarajyam – Perhaps it’s one of the weak movies of Vineeth Sreenivasan’s career as a director, comparing his other films. But like always Vineeth-Nivin Pauley created magic onscreen. There were no major releases during the period, and it helped a lot in gaining box office collection also. The movie was based on the real-life of a businessman, and the movie emerged as one of the biggest family entertainers of the year.

Ozhivudivasathe Kali – The movie was shown at several international film festivals, and got a limited theatre release in June 2016. The movie was warmly welcomed by film critics.  
Lens – This psychological thriller directed by Jayaprakash Radhakrishnan was screened at several international film festivals, and also received positive response from critics. The movie also bagged several awards. 
Karingunnam Sixes – This sports drama is one of the major hits of the year. The movie also garnered positive reviews from critics. Manju Warrier played the role of Vandhana, a volleyball coach in this film.  

Before concluding, I would like to mention a few movies which received average or mixed response from critics. Prithviraj starrer – James and Alice, and Darvinte Parinamam received mixed response from critics and fared well at box office. Fahadh Faasil starrer Monsoon Mangoes, though received positive response from critics for the role Fahadh experimented with, the movie received cold response from box office. 
Dileep starrer King Liar received negative response from critics. But the movie was a hit at box office. Leela starring Biju Menon received mixed response from critics, and was a box office failure. Halelooya starring Meghna Raj and Narain received positive reviews. But the movie failed at box office. School Bus, Kasaba, Oru Murai Vanthu Parthaaya etc are a few more movies which received mixed reviews. In fact Kasaba is the biggest hit of Mammootty in 2016 so far.

Latest releases

A series of movies got released this Friday. Two movies of Jayasurya – Idi and Pretham, and Marubhumiyile Aana starring Biju Menon are other major releases last Friday. All these movies are tagged under comedy entertainers and received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Wait for this space for more updates.
Read a few more articles on Malayalam cinema, on different general discussions. Here is the page link. Click on the images in the gallery to read
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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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