The year 2019 witnessed Malayalam cinema go pan-India thanks to rising popularity of OTT platforms hosting films like Kumbalangi Nights, Lucifer, Virus, Ishq, among others. This year too, there will be a tidy balance of films celebrating super-stardom and slice-of-life narratives. There are superstar big-budget films like Bilal and Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham, films with unusual themes, rom-coms, a superhero story, a biopic, a political thriller and a gangster story.
We have tried to keep this list to 10, with a set of films that have either already created enough hype on the social media or going by the makers'/writers' portfolio of quality cinema.
Fahadh Faasil in a poster for Trance. Image from Twitter
The biggest news around Trance has to be director Anwar Rasheed making a film after a gap of 6 years (his last was Aami in5 Sundarikal). Produced by Rasheed, written by Vincent Vadakkan, framed by Amal Neerad, starring Fahadh Faasil, Nazriya Fahad, Vinayakan and Soubin Shahir, the film, made on a budget of Rs 35 crores, is reportedly based on the Pentecostal community.Rasheed has also produced two of the most successful films in the last decadePremam and Bangalore Days.
Release month: February
When Amal Neerad first announced the project in 2017, this development was met with an overwhelmingly positive response from social media. Whats more, nearly all young Malayalam actors shared the news on their social accounts, about the second coming of Bilal.
Neerad called it a prequel to his cult action thriller Big B, starring Mammootty, which also marked his directorial debut. Big B wasnt a box office success, like most films ahead of their times,it proved to be a slow burner. Besides becoming a cult favourite, it isnow considered one of the most technically superior films of our times. While Big B centred around Mary Teachers murder and how her four adopted sons come together to unravel the mystery and find the culprits, its prequel, written by Unni R will apparently dwell on Bilals past.
With the success of Neerads last release, Varathan, Bilal will be a pressure test for the director as he has the task of bettering Big B. There are rumours about Fahadh Faasil and Sreenath Bhasi being part of the project.Other members of the cast have not been announced.
Release month: Tentatively end of the year
Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham
A poster of Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham. Image from Twitter
Priyadarshans historical period drama co-written withAni Sasi is about the exploits of Kunjali Marakkar IV a16th century naval chieftain of the Zamorin of Calicut. There were three Marakkars before him who played a key role in their naval wars with the Portuguese from 1507 to 1600. They are said to have organised the first naval defence of the Indian coast.
Reportedly made on a budget of Rs 100 crores,Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simhamis said to be the most expensive Malayalam film yet. With quite an ensemble of actors led by Mohanlal, the cast also includes Arjun, Manju Warrier, Sudeep, Suniel Shetty and Keerthy Suresh.Pranav Mohanlal and Kalyani Priyadarshan willmake a cameo appearance.
Originally planned in 1996 by Priyadarshan, based on T Damodarans script, the project never took off owing to budget constraints. With a well-made period feature, Kaalapani behind him, and a sneak peak of the teaser released during its audio launch creating much buzz on social media, its a film to look forward to. Principle cinematography is by Thirru, while Sabu Cyril has handled the production design and Rahul Raj hascomposed the music
Release month: The film is scheduled to release over 5000 screens worldwide on 26 March
Halal Love Story
After the critically and commercially successful Sudani from Nigeria, Zakariya is once again teaming up with writer Muhsin Parari for a cute little story set in Malappuram. The story is said to revolve around the home video culture, in that part of the world. Cast includes Indrajith Sukumaran and Grace Antony, along with Joju George and Vinay Fort. Aashiq Abu and Zakariya are producing the film.
Dulquer Salmaan in and as Kurup. Image from Twitter
Sreenath Rajendran whose debut was Second Show starring the then-newcomer Dulquer Salmaan, is yet again teaming up with the actor in Kurup, based on one of Kerala's notorious fugitives Sukumara Kurup. Kurup is said to have burnt a man inside a car to fake his own death to get an insurance amount. Though his co-accused have been serving life imprisonment, the criminal is still untraceable and the case remains one of the long-standing open cases in the history of the state.
Salmaanplays the titular role, supported by Indrajith Sukumaran and Shine Tom Chacko. The film is scripted by Daniell Sayooj Nair and KS Aravind while Jithin K Jose has penned the story.
Release month: Mid2020
Mammootty in a poster for One. Image from Twitter
Mammootty plays apolitician in this thrillerscripted by Bobby-Sanjay (their first association with the actor) and directed by Santosh Vishwanath (of Chirakodinja Kinavukal-fame). Nimisha Sajayan, Vishnu Unnikrishnan, Renji Panicker, Murali Gopy and Joju George are part of the ensemble.
One has generated a significant interest ever since the makers released first look posters of the actor. In the images, Mammootty, clad in a white shirt and mundu, looks stern and composed.
Release month: March end
A poster of Thuramukham. Image from Twitter
After the critically appreciated Kammatipaadam in 2016, Rajeev Ravi will yet again bring lesser known history of Kochi into focus. Based on a 1968 play of the same title by KM Chidambaram, a teacher and a renowned playwright; it revolved around a Muslim family in Mattancherry, where the working class lived in impoverished conditions due to unemployment and exploitation by shipping companies. It revolves around the events leading to Chappa system practised in the Cochin harbour during the 1950s.
The screenplay is Gopan Chithambaram (who also co-wrote Iyobinte Pusthakam). Nivin Pauly stars inThuramukhamalongside Indrajith Sukumaran, Nimisha Sajayan and Poornima Indrajith.
Editor-director Mahesh Narayanan, who made his debut with Take Off in 2017, is back with his second film starring Fahadh Faasil and Nimisha Sajayan. It is said to be a gangster film, set in the backdrop of Beemapally riots. The film is bankrolled by Anto Joseph.
Release month: End of this year
After the terrific success of Kumbalangi Nights, Syam Pushkaran is collaborating with yetnewcomer director, Shaheed Arafath. Pushkaran is co-producing the project, reportedly a heist thriller, withDileesh Pothan, Fahadh Faasil and Rajan Thomas.
Faasil, Joju George and Pothan have been roped in as actors.Faasil and Pothan's associations,Maheshinte Prathikaram and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, have been magical and thats enough reason to put your money on the upcoming film.
A poster of Minnal Murali. Image from IMDb
Malayalam cinemas first film based on a fictitious local superhero, has Tovino Thomas in the lead role. Directed by Basil Joseph, this film also stars Tamil actor Guru Somasundaram. Tovino also has interesting films like Kilometers and Kilometers, and Forensic lined up this year.
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Updated Date: Jan 13, 2020 08:12:18 IST
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