Monday, July 24, 2006

My Favourite Movies

Malayalam(not in order)

1.Thaniya Varthanam (Recurrence)

Starring: Mammooty,Madhavi,Mukesh
Director/Writer:Sibi Malayil/A K Lohithadas
A poignant story of how society,meaningless rituals and superstitions drive a perfectly normal person insane.Quite a disturbing movie.The protaganist is a teacher who hails from a family which suffers from a curse of insanity.Once his uncle dies,he is suspected to be lunatic and slowly bit surely,he becomes insane largely due to the role of the society.

2.Sukrutham (Grace)

Starring: Mammooty,Gautami,Manoj K Jayan,Narendra Prasad
Director/Writer:Hari Kumar/M T Vasudevan Nair
A brilliant movie which questions our attitudes towards life and death.The sympathy that the protaganist attracts when in deathbed is wiped out the moment he comes back fighting death.When most modern medicines fail,he is brought back to his old self by a doctor using Yoga,Pranayama etc.But when he's back,no one wants him-including his wife.It leads him back to what he had fought hard - death.

3.Oru Cheru Punchiri (A Small Smile)

Starring: Oduvvil Unnikrishnan
Director/Writer:M T Vasudevan Nair
A beautiful narrative which portrays a warm relationship between a septuagenarian couple in a small village in Kerala.A romance more lively than the younger ones generally which come across in movies.The theme's simple and humorous and has an ethereal charm to it without resorting to any cliches.

4.Thazhvaram (Valley)
Starring: Mohan Lal,Sumalatha,Salim Ghouse
Director/Writer:Bharathan/M T Vasudevan Nair
A revenge drama but taken in style.MTs script weaves a suspense thriller set in the high ranges and has a very Western craggy look to it,the Clint Eastwood types.The protaganist goes in search of the man who has destroyed his family and business.A tight script which keeps one close to the edge of one's seat and music which adds to the tension.It is reportedly inspired conceptually in parts by Roman Polanski's Knife in the Water; a detailed review provided here.

5.Sadayam (With sympathy)
Starring: Mohan Lal,Mathu
Director/Writer:Sibi Malayil/M T Vasudevan Nair
A tragic tale of helplessness where death is the only solution.A brilliant performance by the protaganist who stays cold and almost emotionless throughout but conveys his angst in his actions.In order to rescue four children from society's lust, he does the only thing he thinks he can do - he kills them.Very little humour but even the humour presented is cruel(like the quality of rope used for hanging etc).

6.Piravi (Birth)

Starring: Premji
Director/Writer:Shaji Karun
Shaji Karun's ode to the Rajan murder case set in the era of Emergency.Shaji as the old man conveys that deep sense of loss but a sense of hope that his son will return one day.Haunting images of the monsoon and the cinematography take the movie to a different plane.Shaji's film was widely accliamed and won awards in many film festivals,including Cannes.

7.Amrutham Gamaya (To Eternity)

Starring: Mohan Lal,Geeta, Parvathy
Director/Writer:Hariharan/M T Vasudevan Nair
A young man is out to make amends for his errors in life.He's responsible for the death of one of his juniors in a ragging session and tries to help out the poor family by educating his junior' s sister.Mohan Lal gives a brilliant performance as a guilt-ridden doctor also torn between his beloved and his conscience, in the backdrop of medical ethics.

8.Panchavadi Paalam (Panchavati Bridge)
Starring: Bharath Gopi,Innocent,Jagadish and others.
Director:K G George
A fantastic political satire which probably never got the due recognition it should have because it was not successful(wonder why).The story of corruption involved in the construction of a bridge in a small village is a minor classic and covers almost every inch of the political spectrum. It has a brilliant ending - the bridge collapses on its inaugration but everyone escapes except Srinivasan,who plays/represents the common man in the movie. Kundan Shah's "Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron" may have won much acclaim but it pales in comparision with George's spectacle.

9.Varavelpu (The Reception)

Starring: Mohan Lal,Revathy
Director/Writer:Satyan Anthikad
A tragi-comic look at Trade Unionism in Kerala.The protaganist comes back from Dubai to put all his earnings in a bus transport business.The unionism kills his efforts and he goes back to the Gulf,a broken man.The director uses humour to tone down the tragic undertones of the movie.The movie was referred to by Vajpayee in one of his speeches.

10.Vadakka Nokiya Yanthram (Magnetic Compass)

Starring: Srinivasan,Parvathy
A semi-tragic tale of a person with low self-esteem.He suspects his beautiful wife and goes to all extremes till he finally lands into an asylum.We are left in doubt at the end if he's fully cured as we watch the ending- another directorial touch,probably.A brilliant directorial debut by Srinivasan;a self-deprecating sense of humour to convey a serious situation.


  1. The Malayalam film list is simply wonderful. Almost all the flicks you have mentioned are pathbreaking
    and intriguing products ever to come out on celluloid. I would also like to add a couple of ones- Bhoothakannadi(Dir: Lohitadas) and
    Kadhavaseshan(Dir: T.V.Chandran). I believe these two also have the stature to match upto your list.

  2. Thanks,Merry. I have't seen the 2 movies though I have heard a lot about Bhoothakannadi.Kadhavaseshan was,I believe,criticised for justifying and encouraging suicides.Nevertheless,I would like to watch them before framing my opinions.

  3. Hi pradeep,
    In piravi the old man is played
    by premji and not shaji.
    Am i right?

  4. Dear Anonymous,

    You are right.It was Premji and not Shaji.Guess I lost it in the typing flow.Thanks for the correction.

  5. Hi Pradeep,

    I came to your blog from Baradwaj Rangan's blog (comment section). You have some interesting posts here (Guruvayoor etc) and I enjoyed reading them and also agreeing with most of what you said.

    I would like to add a few more movies to one of these old posts you have:

    Vellaanakalude Naadu
    Nokeththa Doorathu Kannum Nattu
    Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha

    I'm sure we would add many more to this list :-)


  6. ...and also movies like Kazhcha, Thanmatra, Perumazhakkalam etc

  7. Shankar: Yes, lots of movies that can be put in and the list is endless, so putting a full stop at 10 is difficult...Movies like Bharatham, Thinkalazhcha Nalladivasam, Moonnampakkam all demand attention...

  8. Pradeep, of your list, Thaniyavarthanam and Sadayam are both my favourites *and* films that I would hesitate to see again. They are traumatising. And when I think of both Mammootty and Mohanlal wasting their talent in silly 'superstar' movies I want to kick them and make them watch what they are capable of!

    So many good movies, so little time...

  9. Anu, have a liking for mostly traumatising movies:)

    Yes, it is a real pity that Mamootty and Mohan Lal are wasting their talent in the kind of stupid movies that we have seen them in the last few years but seeing movies like Pranayam, Pranchiyettan and Paleri Manikyam help in still retaining our faith in their sheer talent...