And this is my list of the best movies of 2010 in Malayalam. And unfortunately, I havent seen two films which have a chance to feature on this list - Soofi Paranja Katha & Aathmakatha and hence they dont feature in this list. If I see them soon, and feel that they deserve a position in this list, i shall re-edit the list. :) :) And I must say, it was a very bad year for Malayalam Cinema with only a handful of good films. In fact, the year has been so bad that even the best films list features some very average movies. Unlike 2009, which was a great year with a lot of promise for Malayalam Cinema, 2010 was very disappointing. Lets hope 2011 is better with a lot of interesting movies lined up. So here's the list.
Director - M Padmakumar
Producers - KK Rajagopal
Cast - Mohanlal, Samuthirakkani, Ananya, Sneha, Kailash, Lalu Alex, Lakshmi Gopalaswamy, Kalabhavan Mani
Writer - TS Suresh Babu
Shikkar was a surprise coming from M Padmakumar & TS Suresh Babu who are infamous for their bad works rather than their few good works (if any). They managed to deliver a decent thriller in the form of Shikkar, which told the story of a daughter & her father who had been living with a guilt of a previous incident in his life. For Mohanlal, the performance in Shikkar is not a challenge at all, and his intensity with both fire and fear inside him came out brilliantly on screen. The first half took an eternity to get over with a lewd comic track involving Jagathy Sreekumar & Suraaj Venjarammoodu and it was a pain to watch those scenes. But the second half was very engaging, especially the whole naxalite sequence with a brilliant performance by Tamil actor-director Samuthirakkani. Ananya also gave a good performance and the climax stunt at the Guna caves in Kodai was also appreciated. The movie took a huge initial making it one of the biggest hits of 2010, but couldnt sustain the business for a long time.
9. Kadha Thudarunnu
Director - Sathyan Anthikkad
Producer - Thankachan Emmanuel
Cast - Mamta Mohandas, Jayaram, Asif Ali, Baby Anikha, Innocent, KPAC Lalitha, Mamukkoya
Writer - Sathyan Anthikkad
Sathyan Anthikkad is the biggest brand in Malayalam after Mohanlal & Mammootty and he has been proving that year after year where his Vishu releases automatically turn into big hits crossing 100 days easily. But Kadha Thudarunnu released in May and was Sathyan Anthikkad's least successful movie in a long long time. The movie just remained an average grosser in spite of being a very good film. The story of a young, single mother stranded on the streets with her daughter after her husband's death was handled beautifully by the veteran director with a lot of emotions and his trademark humour. Mamta Mohandas as the protagonist proved that she's not just another pretty face and can act very well if given an opportunity. Jayaram played a supporting role in contrast to the lead roles he keeps playing in most movies and was very endearing. Asif Ali impressed in his short cameo. Baby Anikha was the life of the movie and the small child performed brilliantly. Sathyan Anthikkad regulars Innocent, KPAC Lalitha & Mamukkoya proved that they are the best at what they do. Ilaiyaraaja's music & Venu's camerawork also added gloss to the movie.
8. Marykkundoru Kunjaadu
Director - Shafi
Producer - Vaishakha Films
Cast - Dileep, Biju Menon, Bhavana, Innocent, Vijayaraghavan, Salimkumar, Vinaya Prasad, Anand, Appa Haja
Writer - Benny P Nayarambalam
Very few movies make Malayalees say 'Kodutha kaashu mothalayi'. Marykkundoru Kunjaadu is one of those films which entertains you completely without resorting to toilet humour or buffoonery. It gives us the Dileep whom we all loved during the period of Meeshamadhavan, Kalyanaraman, etc and also has a fantastic performance by Biju Menon. Every member of the cast has performed very well and the makers have done a huge favour to the audience by not casting Suraaj Venjarammoodu in it. The huge success of this film and other films like Bodyguard, Pappy Appacha and Karyasthan got Dileep back to the position of being the most bankable star in Malayalam. Lets hope he continues doing such good comedies which utilize his skills to the maximum and not do stuff like Karyasthan, etc.
7. Best Actor
Director - Martin Prakkat
Producer - Naushad
Cast - Mammootty, Sreenivasan, Nedumudi Venu, Lal, Salimkumar, Vinayakan & others.
Writers - Martin Prakkat, Bipin Chandran
A wonderful movie whose basic premise was inspired was inspired from how actor Vivek Oberoi ended up getting a chance to work with director Ram Gopal Varma in his debut film as a gangster, this film had Mammootty playing a school teacher whose greatest ambition was to become a film actor and his persistent efforts to reach his goal. The film had kickass visuals thanks to the visual sensibility of fashion photographer turned director Martin Prakkat and cinematographer Ajayan Vincent. Mammootty played his neatly written with effortless ease making it a very memorable role. With a neat line-up of supporting performances from Lal, Nedumudi Venu, Salimkumar & Sreenivasan and some lovely music by Bijibal, Best Actor was a sincere and genuine effort from a first time director and deserved all the appreciation it got.
6. Malarvaadi Arts Club
Director - Vineeth Sreenivasan
Producer - Dileep
Cast - Nedumudi Venu, Nivin Pauly, Bhagat Manuel, Shraavan, Aju Varghese, Hari Krishnan, Malavika, Apoorva Bose, Jagathy Sreekumar, Suraaj Venjarammoodu, Salimkumar & Sreenivasan
Writer - Vineeth Sreenivasan
This was a honest and sincere effort by some young minds and it showed in every frame of the movie. Multi talented Vineeth Sreenivasan decided to take his father's path of writing and even though the result was not path-breaking, it did bring a smile on everyone's face. Distinctly different from the so-called 'youth' movies that senior directors make - this movie told the story of the dreams and aspirations of 5 young boys from a village. Inspired by buddy movies like Chennai 28 & Rock On, Vineeth created a feel good movie with friendship as the core theme. The performances by the newcomers were fantastic and the leader of the group Nivin Pauly is bound to go places. Shaan Rahman's pleasant music and P Sukumar's authentic camerawork helped the movie a lot. Dileep also should be appreciated for producing this film, which had rank newcomers both in front of and behind the camera.
Director - Arun Kumar
Producer - Milan Jaleel
Cast - Anoop Menon, Samvritha Sunil, Jayasurya, Fahadh Fazil, Innocent, Aparna Nair
Writer - Shyam Menon, Anoop Menon
Cocktail was more or less a direct lift of the Canadian movie - Butterfly on the Wheel. But neither me, nor most of the Kerala audience had seen the original. So they found the tale of infidelity in a rising metro city like Kochi very interesting and engaging. Riveting performances by Jayasurya, Samvritha Sunil, Anoop Menon and Fahadh Fazil enhanced the quality of the movie. The music of the movie by Ratheesh Vega and Alphonse was also a huge success and the camerawork by Pradeep Nair was very effective. Anoop Menon's smart dialogues were also another interesting factor. Priyadarshan's editor Arun Kumar also looked for inspiration from the west like his mentor, but did a great job of adapting an English film for the Malayali audience. Cocktail got a great response from the audience and did reasonable business with some great word of mouth publicity. The good part is that Anoop Menon admitted that it is indeed a remake of 'Buttefly on a Wheel' rather than denying the existence of such a movie anywhere in the world.
4. Elsamma Enna Aankutty
Director - Lal Jose
Producer - M Ranjith
Cast - Ann Augustine, Kunchacko Boban, Indrajith, Vijayaraghavan, Jagathy Sreekumar, Nedumudi Venu, KPAC Lalitha, Suraaj Venjarammoodu
Writer - Sindhuraj
Lal Jose's Elsamma Enna Aankutty was an ordinary story told in a simple and beautiful way. It introduced us to a new young talent - Ann Augustine, daughter of the character actor Augustine and the pretty young girl proved that she can perform too. But the revelation of the movie was Kunchacko Boban who delivered his career best performance as the simpleton Paalunni. Indrajith also came up with a bravura performance as the cocky flirt, Ebimon. The rest of the supporting cast were also brilliant. The movie had fresh music by veteran musician Rajamani and was shot in some picturesque locales by Vijay Ulaganath. The movie started slowly, shifted gears and had a smooth 100 day run in the cities becoming one of the major hits of 2010.
3. TD Dasan Std VI B
Director - Mohan Raghavan
Producers - Paul Vadakumchery, Paul Valikodath
Cast - Alexander, Tina Rose, Biju Menon, Shwetha Menon, Shruti Menon, Jagadish & Suresh Krishna
Writer - Mohan Raghavan
This movie came and went without a whimper. Thanks to the indifferent attitude of our theater owners and the zero effort for publicity by its makers. But in reality, it was a poignant movie about a boy who wants to find out about his estranged father. It brought in the age old concept of pen pals and used 2 children as its main leads. There was also a parallel story within a story part where the filmmaker played by Biju Menon discussed possibilites of the story of the boy's father. Debutant Mohan Raghavan handled the subject with finesse and will have a bright future ahead. The performances were all great where Biju Menon, Shwetha Menon and Suresh Krishna were the most impressive. The movie didnt get the success or attention it deserved. Lets hope it is appreciated on DVD and its television telecasts.
2. Kutty Srank
Director - Shaji N Karun
Producers - Reliance Big Pictures
Cast - Mammootty, Suresh Krishna, Padmapriya, Kamalini Mukherjee, Meena Kumari, Siddique, Sayikumar
Writers - Harikrishnan, PF Mathews
The Government of India thought Kutty Srank was the best film of 2009 (it was censored in 2009 but had a theatrical release only in 2010) and the movie sweeped the National Awards by winning awards for Cinematography, Screenplay, Costumes, and special awards for editing and acting. Mammootty was absolutely brilliant and he displayed three different shades of the same character stuck in three different places and situations. His performance involved a lot of underplay and for the first time, his dance looked great on screen, in the chavittunadakam scenes. Suresh Krishna gave the other brilliant performance in the movie as Loni Aashan. He matched up to Mammootty in the very little screen time he had and gave his career best in this film. The ladies were also brilliant and Padmapriya won a special jury award for her performance. Cinematography by Anjali Shukla was magical and so was the charming old world music by Issac Thomas.
1. Pranchiyettan & The Saint
Director - Ranjith
Producer - Ranjith
Cast - Mammootty, Innocent, Priyamani, Khushboo, Siddique, Tiny Tom, Edavela Babu, Jagathy Sreekumar, Ganapathy, TG Ravi, Ramu, Sasi Kalinga, Biju Menon & Sivaji Guruvayoor
Writer - Ranjith
Well, Pranchiyettan is number one in every sense of the word. A brilliantly written satire on Malayali's craving for name, fame and popularity, Pranchiyettan reinstated that Ranjith is perhaps the best writer-director we have in Malayalam now. Narrated in an episodic format, Pranchiyettan was based in Trisshur and also had a cast which contained mostly of actors hailing from Trisshur. Mammootty was at his best as the lovable, illiterate rich businessman Aripranchi. One of the actor's best performances ever, this movie proved that Mammootty need not resort to buffoonery to make people laugh. From an actor who was severely criticized for not being able to do comedy, Mammootty has come a long way and has really worked on his comic side taking it to its heights with this movie. Mammootty's Pranchiyettan is an iconic character that will be remembered for a long long time. The rest of the ensemble cast were also brilliant, the best being Innocent in a very prominent role. Ranjith's writing and the hilarious dialogues of the film raised it to another level. Venu's cinematography gave exactly what the film needed. The movie had a slow and steady theatrical run and completed 100 days at Thiruvananthapuram & Kochi. It will be remembered as one of the finest movies of the decade.
2010, as I said earlier, was not a very good year for Malayalam Cinema except for rare exceptions like Pranchiyettan & Kutty Srank. Lets hope 2011 would bring in a bright new future with lots of interesting projects from both the young and the elder lot.