Mammootty, Fahadh Faasil, Jayasurya, Indrajith. Asif Ali, Rima Kallingal and Kunchacko Boban, known for their acting chops, star in the films chosen for this list. From socio-political dramas and experimental musicals to underrated thrillers and creations celebrating dark humour, here are 11 Malayalam films streaming on SunNXT.
Njan Mary Kutty
Director: Ranjit Shankar
Actor Jayasurya and director Ranjith Shankar collaborate for the fifth time after Punyalan Agarbathi, Su.. Su… Sudhi Vathmeekam, Pretham, and Punyalan Private Limited. NMK tells the story of Mary Kutty, a transwoman who aspires to join the police force. Jayasurya went on to win the Kerala State award for Best Actor, while Ronex Xavior won for makeup.
Trivia: Jayasurya’s wife Saritha designed his costumes in the film.
Director: Arun Kumar Aravind
After a streak of genre-defining socio-political dramas such as Ee Adutha Kaalathu, Left Right Left, and the experimental One by Two, Arun Kumar Aravind chose a novel subject inspired by director Padmarajan’s short story for Kaattu. Set during the 70s, the film’s plot revolves around three principal characters — Nuhukannu, Chellappan, and Muthulakshmi, played excellently by Asif Ali, Murali Gopy and Varalaxmi Sarathkumar. Cinematography by Prasanth Raveendran deserves special mention.
Director: Sidharth Bharathan
After a stint in acting, Sidharth Bharathan gained notice through his impressive directorial debut Nidra (a rehash of a yesteryear classic by the same name directed by his father Bharathan) and later with the hit comedy Chandrettan Evideya, starring Dileep. His third venture Varnyathil Aashanka tells the story of four habitual thieves and their attempt to rob a local jewellery store.
This is an entertaining watch for its comic brilliance and impressive performance by an ensemble cast, including Kunchacko Boban, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Shine Tom Chacko, Chemban Vinod Jose, Manikandan R Achari, and Rachana Narayanankutty.
Adventures Of Omanakuttan
Director: Rohith VS
This is the unusual story of Omanakuttan, an introvert whose primary vice involves chatting with women over the phone, under different names. What happens when he loses his memory forms the crux of the story. Starring Asif Ali, Bhavana and Siddique, the film might seem a little complex to follow, which might have been the reason for its short theatrical run. But, for viewers who seek supramundane content, this film might fit your choice.
Director: Bash Mohammed
On paper, a plotline where a group of friends reunites after 14 years might sound familiar. But, Lukka Chuppi is more than just a reunion story. The film dwells into the catharsis of its leads and how the reunion changes their perspective. It has an ensemble cast, including Jayasurya, Murali Gopi, Joju George, Ramya Nambeeshan, Chinnu Kuruvilla, Muthumani, Dinesh Prabhakar, and Asmita Sood. Joju George and Jayasurya won a Special Mention at the Kerala State Film Awards.
Director: VK Prakash
VK Prakash’s attempt to make an engaging thriller might have received mixed reviews since it takes inspiration from movies such as Primal Fear and Korean courtroom drama The Client. But, if you don’t focus much on the source material, Silence might yield you an engaging watch. The film stars Mammootty, Anoop Menon and Pallavi Purohit.
Director: Joy Mathew
Not to be confused with the Thai horror classic. Shutter is an excellent social drama that takes place in two days and a night. A critical and commercial success, the film also holds the record for being remade in six languages in a span of four years. There are versions in Marathi (Shutter), Tamil (Oru Naal Iravil), Tulu (Shutterdulai), Kannada-Telugu bilingual (Idolle Ramayana and Mana Oori Ramayanam, made by Prakash Raj), and Punjabi (Lock).
The film stars Lal, Sreenivasan, Vinay Forrt and Sajitha Madathil, and is the only directorial venture of renowned actor, playwright and screenwriter Joy Mathew.
Ee Adutha Kalathu
Director: Arun Kumar Aravind
Arun’s second film to feature in this list sees him collaborate with Murali Gopi. The film is about six people, drawn from different social strata, and how their lives are interconnected. This is a seminal film, along with Aashiq Abu’s Salt N Pepper, that nudged Malayalam cinema in a different direction. The film stars Indrajith Sukumaran, Murali Gopy, Anoop Menon, Nishan, Tanu Roy, Mythili, Lena and Jagathy Sreekumar.
22 Female Kottayam
Director: Aashiq Abu
Malayalam cinema’s very own Kill Bill! Aashiq Abu’s revenge drama starring Rima Kallingal and Fahadh Faasil is set in the city of Bengaluru and tells the tale of Tessa, a nursing student who is subjected to sexual exploitation, and how she sorts out her tormentors. The film won Rima her first Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress.
Director: Lijo Jose Pellissery
Before Lijo Jose Pellissery became a national sensation with Angamaly Diaries, E.Ma.Yau, and Jallikattu, he made this film, his third. An experimental musical starring Fahadh Faasil, Indrajith, Swathi Reddy, Kalabhavan Mani, Anil Murali, Rachana Narayanankutty, Natasha Sahgal, Joy Mathew and Makarand Deshpande, the film is set in the backdrop of a Kuttanadan village. It takes us through the lives of its people and the changes that occur upon the arrival of a young priest. Prashant Pillai’s wonderful soundtrack elevates the screenplay. Art direction by M Bawa won him a State award.
Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla
Director: VK Prakash
Another Fahadh Faasil-starrer with an off-beat theme and execution that was not very well received. However, over time, the movie has managed to garner cult status for its humour and Fahadh’s performance. NOCM is one of director Prakash’s most vivid attempts at dark humour. Also starring Kamalinee Mukherjee and Rima Kallingal. If you are in the mood watch something as surreal as a David Lynch film, this would be a good choice.