Top 7 Malayalam Films To Watch on OTT

I was introduced to Malayalam cinema very early in my life, thanks to my parents who had lived in Ernakulam (Kochi) for more than 10 years and are great admirers of the movies made there. Even after their return to Mangalapuram (Mangalore in Malayalam), they continued to watch and like Malayalam films. We would never miss the Sunday afternoon regional movies aired on Doordarshan and often made trips to the movie theatres to watch new releases. My earliest memories are of films like Godfather, Manichitrathazhu and other popular movies of Mammootty and Mohanlal. 

However, as I grew older, Bollywood, Hollywood and world cinema took over my interests. I did watch one or two Malayalam films occasionally based on the recommendations by my Malayali friends. Thanks to OTT, movies from all over the world are now easily accessible to us. And it so happens, that in the recent times, only Malayalam film industry has been rolling out great content. 


Their films represent their true passion for the the art form. Their scripts are solid. They do not rush to impress the audience. Instead, they take their own time to develop the characters and bring you slowly into the world of these individuals, before hitting you with the main theme of the film. After you have watched a couple of Malayalam films, you shall understand what I am saying. You have to be patient with the slow beginnings and see how everything that happened earlier is of relevance to the main theme that is revealed only later. 


So here I list my selection of top 7 Malayalam films to watch on OTT. Please note that this pick is from the movies I have watched recently. C'est parti!


#7 Helen (2019)


Helen is a story of an extraordinary courage shown by a girl as she fights for her survival. The movie traces the life of a young girl who wishes to migrate to Canada despite disapproval from her loving dad and her boyfriend. One night, when she is accidentally locked in the freezer of the fast food joint where she works, she has to bring out all her courage to keep herself alive. 


But Helen is more than just a survival story.  It also makes  strong social commentary around this central theme about the prejudices and misjudgements that exist in our society. Watch Helen for a gripping screenplay and some amazing performances. Anna ben as Helen is exceptional. 


The story is written by Alfred Kurian Joseph, Noble Babu Thomas (Also the male lead) and Mathukutty Xavier. The film is directed by Mathukutty Xavier. 


Available on - Amazon prime 

Trailer - Helen Official Trailer



#6 C U Soon (2020)


C U Soon is a unique film due to its presentation. The story is told completely through virtual screens, as characters interact with one another on video calls. 


Jimmy (Roshan Mathew) works in Dubai. On an online dating platform, he befriends Anu (Darshana Rajendran). But soon, he finds himself in midst of a terrible conspiracy. His mother seeks help from Jimmy’s cousin Kevin (Fahad Fasil) who is a cyber security specialist. 


Though the movie has a thriller feel to it, it deals with a very serious subject that leaves you speechless in the end. Roshan Mathew as Jimmy is brilliant in portraying the role of a young man smitten with love. This was my introduction to his work and I thoroughly enjoyed his performance, which is extremely natural. Darshana as Anu is an amazing performer. Little needs to be told about Fahad Fasil’s (FaFa) acting abilities. He easily seeps into this character of a headstrong guy and brings out the sensitivity in the character, as and when the script demands. 


The direction and editing by Mahesh Narayanan is worth a standing ovation. In fact, the editing is so well done that after a while you forget that you are watching the characters through their computer screens. Watch C U Soon for a totally different kind of thriller. I think I should invent a new genre for this -A thriller-drama. 


Available on - Amazon prime 

Trailer - C U Soon Official Trailer



#5 Anjaam Pathiraa (2020)


If you are in a mood for a different kind of thriller, Anjaam Pathiraa is the movie for you. It is a must-watch Malayalam film on OTT for all those who love thrillers. The story revolves around a team of a psychologist/consulting criminologist (Kunchacko Boban) and the cops as they try to chase down a notorious serial killer who has been mercilessly murdering police officers. But, the story of Anjaam Pathiraa  is nothing like a regular serial killer film and that is what makes it special. It begins with a certain mood and leaves you with a totally different one. 


Kunchacko Boban finely underplays the character, thus giving the film a realistic feel rather than a fast paced fancy thriller. Short but impactful performances by Sharaf U Dheen Sreenath Bhasi, Mathew Thomas and Jaffar Idukki are worth a mention here. Specially Sharaf U Dheen, who appears to be the perfect cast for this movie. 


Written and directed by Midhun Manuel Thomas, Anjaam Pathiraa is a thought-provoking thriller that dares to break the usual pattern, but successfully manages to intrigue the audience, despite its pace. 


Available on - JioCinema 

Trailer - Anjaam Pathiraa Official Trailer



#4 Kuruthi (2021)



Kuruthi is a suspenseful thriller which deals with one of the most relevant but also controversial theme of religious tension which has been brewing in our country since a longtime now. It has also one of the the most fluid screenplays that I have witnessed in the recent times. It reminded me of my all time favourite film - The Lesser Evil. Majority of the story takes place in a house, as the main characters interact with one another. 


Ibrahim aka Ibru is a God-fearing man who is dealing with a painful past. He lives in a secluded area with his father and a younger brother. Suma and her brother Preman are thier only neighbours. The two families are connected through the same tragedy. One night, when a cop barges into the house with a prisoner and seeks shelter, the relationships and beliefs of each individual in the neighbourhood is put to a test. 


Kuruthi is a brilliant film. Every single performance in Kuruthi is worth an applause. Roshan Mathew with his vulnerability breathes life into the character of Ibru, a man caught at the crossroads of right and wrong. Prithiviraj Sukumaran as the antagonist is totally convincing and instigates tension from the moment he enters the house. Srindaa as Suma has brilliantly portrayed the multiple layers in her complex character. Sagar and Naslen undoubtedly represent the bright future of the Malayalam cinema. Look out for these two young talents. Shine Tom Chako, Manikanandan and Navas Vallikunnu, despite their brief roles, manage to leave behind a memorable performance. But it is Mamukkoya, as the wise old man, who steals the show with his witty dialogues.


The screenplay is gripping and flawless. Once the home invasion begins, the screenplay hardly has any dull moment. The story is written by Anish Pallyal and it does justice in presenting the current situation rather than taking sides. The film is directed by Manu Warrier.


Available on - Amazon prime 

Trailer - Kuruthi Official Trailer



#3 The Great Indian Kitchen (2021)



Find out what is great about this Indian Kitchen that serves patriarchy. The film, is a satire on our society and the age old traditions that have lost relevance. The film brilliantly captures the monotony of life and mundane chores that take precedence in the life of a woman living in an orthodox Hindu family. 


Coming from an orthodox family myself, I can completely relate to this film. Though my family has abandoned many of the age old, discriminating traditions, I know of relatives and friends who still practice these norms; even in a cosmopolitan city like Bangalore. The Great Indian Kitchen is a well made film. With very few dialogues and brilliant performances by Nimisha and Suraj Venjaramoodu, it evokes several relevant questions and a feeling of disgust at the very situation the story is set around. The film is written and directed by Jeo Baby. 


Available on - Amazon prime 

Trailer - The Great Indian Kitchen Official Teaser



#2 Kappela (2020)


Kappela is undoubtedly one of my most favourite scripts of all time. The one thing that attracts me the most about a story, is its unpredictability. And this film has one of the most interesting storylines I have ever come across. In a way, the writer has teased his audience. Unfortunately, I cannot say much about the plot. Because it would be more enjoyable if you watch this without any expectations or hints. I can assure you that it is impossible as a viewer to not get involved in this story as it progresses towards an interesting climax. It also stars three of my favourite actors - Roshan Mathew, Anna ben and the one and only Sreenath Bashi. This would be my pick of the best Malayalam film on OTT. 


It won’t be an exaggeration to say that Bhasi is one of the finest actors I have ever seen on screen. His acting process seems so organic that he seamlessly blends into the character he plays. For example, in the movie Virus it is hard to believe that he is only acting as a medical student. I also find him to have the River Phoenix kind of vibes and a similar popularity among the youngsters. His short but memorable performances in Trance and Kumablangi nights leaves you wanting for more. In Kappela he shines with his subtle but charismatic performance. 


Anna Ben as always is a treat to watch. It seems likes nobody could have performed this role of an innocent village girl better than her. The nuances she brings to her performance, to display the innocence in the character, is commendable. Roshan Mathew gives yet another believable performance. The film marks the directorial debut of actor Muhammad Musthafa. He has also written the film. 


Available on - Netflix

Trailer - Kappela Official Trailer



#1 Home (2021)


Home is a feel good film. It has everything you expect from a good entertainer - a good story  subtle humour, pinch of emotion, a message and several relatable incidents. 


The film takes you into the house of Oliver twist where he lives with his father, wife and two sons. Oliver is ignorant when it comes to latest technology and thus feels ignored by his young tech-savvy sons, specially the older one. The story follows his emotions as he tries to catch up with the current trends, so as to reconnect with his children. 


Sreenath Bhasi again delivers a brilliant performance as Anthony, the older son. His subtle expressions are hard to miss. Whether it is while being angry about his work or jealous about his girlfriend's buddy or arrogant and disrespectful to his family, he expresses himself with fineness even without a single dialogue. 


Naslen, as the younger son brings in liveliness and energy into the family. He plays a completely opposite character from the one he played in Kuruthi. Manju Pillai delivers an adorable performance as the only woman in the house, dealing with the madness. 


But, it is Indrans as Oliver Twist who steals the show with his heart-warming performance. The scene where he gets up and walks to the gate after being insulted by his elder son is enough to showcase his capacity as a performer. 


Some seem to have concerns with the ending of the movie being a little too convenient. But hey, it’s a story. As long as it leaves you with a great feeling and has managed to evoke a particular Rasa (emotion) in you, that’s all that matters. 


I see Home as a movie that depicts advantages and disadvantages of technology through a family drama. It is a well written script which probably began as a brainstorming on all the aspects of current technological advancements. Almost everything from cellphone addiction, fake news, psychological issues, disconnect between reality and the virtual image and trolls have been seamlessly fit into the plot without looking pretentious. There are so many moments in this film that a middle class Indian family can relate to. For that, Writer director Rojin Thomas deserves a round of applause. 


Available on - Amazon Prime

Trailer - Home Official Trailer 


So here are my top 7 Malayalam films on OTT from the recent times. If you have watched them, please do leave your thoughts behind in the comments section. Also, feel free to mention which according to you is a must-watch Malayalam movie on OTT.


PS: Of course, there are other great films that I have watched earlier and are worth mentioning. Here are a few that I think you would enjoy watching - 


Kumbalangi nights, Ishq (A bit uncomfortable to watch), Njan Prakashan, Joji, Malik, Nayattu, Ayyappanum Koshiyum, Trance, Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, Aarkkariyam.


Comments

  1. Thanks for the recommendations. Of the 6, I already saw The Great Indian Kitchen. I even wrote a blog post about it. http://sg-shootthebreeze.blogspot.com/2021/04/the-great-indian-kitchen.html

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    1. Thank You SG... Yes, I remember reading and commenting on it. I hope you like the rest as well.

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  2. Hi Ajeya. Excellent reviews. I loved every word of it. My brother and I are also crazy about Malayalam movies. These days looks like we are having an overdose. But I am not complaining.
    Btw, this is Bhawana here ( your class eighth classmate at KV Panambur). Using hubby's Gmail account! TC..

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    1. Hello Bhavana. Welcome to my blog and Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, I can relate to the overdose part. Hope you have seen these and let me know if you have recommendations.

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  3. This is a nice list.. Have only seen Great Indian Kitchen, but hope to catch the others too.
    My 'first' in Malayalam movies was Uyire. It's a must watch

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    1. Thanks. I haven’t watched Uyire but have heard about it. Will watch it soon.

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  4. Replies
    1. Welcome to my blog! Thank you so much.

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  5. Hi Ajeya,
    Thanks for this list. I haven't watched any of these.
    I am not so much of fan of action movies. But I like mystery and thrillers (preferrably without fighting.)
    I am saving this post of yours.
    Thanks.

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    1. Hello Pradeep. Sure. None of these films contain heavy action sequence; actually, none in most of them.

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