Malayalam cinema has a busy 2020. You can't classify films into easy categories, when the line-up includes a grand historical, a superhero film, a biopic, a film adaptation of a much-loved mini-series, and even one that looks like it has a lot to do with psychedelics. It's also going to be a year of much-awaited comebacks. Bhadran returns after 14 years, Santhosh Sivan after seven, Blessy after five, and AR Rahman after 28 long years. With big budget films such as Marakkar, and potentially tiny gems like Halal Love Story, Malayalam cinema might give us some of the most exciting films of the year.
Benyamin's celebrated novel finally becomes a film, with director Blessy making a comeback after five years. Prithviraj, who had a terrific year in 2019, is currently in the process of losing a whole lot of weight to play Najeeb, an immigrant worker/slave trapped in Saudi Arabia. The fact that AR Rahman returns to Malayalam cinema 28 years after Yoda adds to the buzz.
Sidharth Bharathan, who made the sinfully-underrated Varnaythil Aashanka and the hit Chandrettan Evideya, has the fascinatingly titled Djinn releasing this year. It stars Soubin Shahir and Nimisha Sajayan, and promises to be that rare horror film (after Ezra) worth looking forward to.
Arguably, the biggest film of the year will see Mohanlal and Priyadarshan join hands for a historical epic, 24 years after the blockbuster Kalapaani. Touted to be the most expensive Malayalam film yet, it assembles a multi-industry star cast, which includes Suneil Shetty, Arjun, Manju Warrier, Keerthi Suresh and Ashok Selvan, besides cameos by Mohanlal's son Pranav and Priyadarshan's daughter Kalyani.
Malayalam cinema looks like it's finally ready for a legit superhero movie in Basil Joseph's Minnal Murali, starring Tovino Thomas. The first look is brilliant and so is the promise of some breathtaking stunts, courtesy Vlad Rimburg, who worked on films such as Sultan and Baahubali 2. Parakkum Pappan, starring Dileep, might just be the second superhero film of the year.
Writer Sachi, the mind behind some great comic writing in the recent hit Driving License, reunites with his Anarkali leads Prithviraj and Biju Menon for this comedy. Is it a road movie? Is it an odd-couple comedy? We'll have to wait to find out.
Superstars in Malayalam seldom get to play Chief Ministers, in real life or in the movies. Directed by the promising Santosh Viswanathan, who made Malayalam cinema's first spoof film, One may just be the political fantasy we hardly get to see in the language.
Jeethu Joseph gets together with Mohanlal after Drishyam in a big-budget, international thriller. Will it become one of the biggest hits of the year or will there be a twist in the end?
One of Malayalam television's biggest success stories and the legendary historical figure said to possess supernatural powers gets its own film in Kathanar, starring the ever-dependable Jayasurya. The period film will be scripted by R Ramanand and directed by Robin Thomas.
It wouldn't be unfair to call Kurup the most 'wanted' film DQ is working on in 2020. We saw glimpses of an anti-hero in his earlier film Theevram, but with Kurup what we get is a film on one of one of Kerala's most iconic supervillains/criminal masterminds. Will it be a sympathetic take or will it glamourise a monster? Let the debates begin.
What will happen when you give one of the biggest recent pop-culture phenomena a film of their own? Unforgettable punchlines (nisaram, nisaram!), iconic characters in their elements, a thorough thread running through and some rib-tickling sketches are the least we can expect as we wait to see if these micro-screen giants will remain giants on the big screen as well.
Legendary cinematographer Santosh Sivan makes a Malayalam after Urumi, this time a thriller with Manju Warrier and Kalidas Jayaram. Other cast members in the fim, also being produced by Sivan, include Aju Varghese and Soubin Shahir.
Sudani From Nigeria was one of the sweetest films of the last decade. With Halal Love Story, writers Muhsin Parari and Zakariya get together again for a drama (where food plays an integral part) to be directed by the latter. The cast includes fine actors like Joju George, Indrajith and Sharufudeen.
Editor-director Mahesh Narayanan, who made the spectacular Take Off, has Malik, starring Fahadh Faasil, slotted for the first half of this year. During the film's launch, reports suggested that the film was being made at a budget of over Rs. 25 crore, among the biggest this year. The cast also includes Joju George, Vinay Forrt and Nimisha Sajayan.
The film that started it all, and one of Malayalam cinema's most stylish characters Big-B finally gets a sequel, Bilal. Amal Neerad is expected to join hands with DoP Sameer Thahir for the sequel as well. Gopi Sundar's infectious BGM is sure to make a return too, and let's hope Bilal remains the same-old Bilal in the sequel as well.
We all saw what Nivin Pauly is really capable of in the hands of an able director in the recent Mothoon. Yet, one feels he is rarely challenged to play to his full potential. Of his 2020 lineup, his collaboration with Rajeev Ravi seems most exciting. Based on the controversial 'chappa' system of the 1950s in the Cochin harbour, the film evokes the feeling of our very own On The Waterfront.
Captivating is the first word that comes to mind when one sees the first-look poster of Bhadran's Joothan. The director makes a film 14 years after Udayon, with a script he is said to have worked on for over 35 years. The mysterious film may end up becoming polarising, like most of this director's films, but it will be intriguing for sure.
If Markkar might be the most exciting film for Malayalam cinema's previous generation, Trance, with an enviable cast and crew (Fahadh Faasil, Nazriya Nazim, Soubin Shahir, Vinayakan), is THE film to watch out for the Malayali Millennial. The first look posters are wild, adding fire to some wilder theories going around about the film's plot. Is it about magic, is it about drugs, is it about something spiritual? It's hard to question the ambition of a film when it's being directed by someone as successful as Anwar Rasheed. get prons relationsrom