From massy hits such as Mammootty’s Madhura Raja to peculiar dramas like Allu Ramendran, there’s a lot on offer if you’re willing to browse ZEE5’s eclectic collection. Here’s a list of films for all moods for you to make full use of that subscription.
Cast: Nivin Pauly, Trisha Krishnan
This quirky comedy, set mostly in Goa, has Nivin Pauly play a mathematical genius with a particular love for the ocean. Shyamaprasad, known for his intense dramas, took quite the detour from the usual for this light film with heart. Director Shyamaprasad’s inspiration for the title comes from the famous Beatles number. This is Trisha’s debut in Malayalam, and the film touches upon mental illness and its stigma through the format of a breezy romantic comedy. The music is composed by Rahul Raj, Ouseppachan, M Jayachandran and Gopi Sundar, and cinematography is by Girish Gangadharan.
Director: Prasanth Varma
Cast: Tovino Thomas, Samyuktha Menon
Tovino goes the mass action star route with this heavily-stylised film. If you can ignore substance for pure style and charisma, this one might make the cut. Malayalam cinema’s answer to the loooonnngg list of cop-turned-vigilante films in line with the Singhams and Siruthais. This masala potboiler cop drama is strictly for ardent fans of its star and the genre. Music is by Jakes Bejoy, and the film also stars Shivajith Padmanabhan and Vini Vishwa Lal.
Director: Rosshan Andrrews
Cast: Manju Warrier, Anusree.
This 2019 film is a bold new take on female-oriented films. Subverting the most popular masala film formula, this film asks ‘Why should male stars have all the revenge?’ Taking inspiration from the book Sankadam by Unni R, the film’s plot revolves around Madhuri (Manju Warrier), who is subjected to an act of molestation and seeks revenge against the molester, played by Rosshan Andrrews himself. The film also stars Saiju Kurup, and Grace Anthony, and has music by Gopi Sunder.
Director: Geetu Mohandas
Cast: Nivin Pauly, Roshan Mathew, Sobhita Dhulipala, Shashank Arora.
Among the most celebrated films of 2019, this drama set in Mumbai and Lakshadweep takes off from a lost teenager Mulla on the lookout for a sibling in Mumbai. Between the real and the surreal, we see two different people within the same person, played wonderfully by Nivin Pauly, who gives his best in a gritty drama about self-acceptance. The film is shot by the brilliant Rajeev Ravi.
Cast: Mammootty, Nedumudi Venu, Salim Kumar
A sequel to last decade’s mega hit Pokkiri Raja, this film replaces Prithviraj’s character with Jai’s and dozens of Scorpios that formed Mammootty’s cavalcade with hundreds of speed boats. It might not be Puli Murugan-level madness, but there’s a lot to like, especially with Mammootty’s heavily-accented Ingleees, in this blockbuster. This comedy also has many fourth wall-breaking sequences, with references from other yesteryear Malayalam classics.
Director: Sajid Yahiya
Cast: Manju Warrier, Indrajith Sukumaran, Unni Krishnan, Salim Kumar, Aju Varghese
Manju Warrier plays a massive Mohanlal fan in this family comedy. Add a dose of nostalgia, especially in the ‘Laletta’ song, and you get a half-decent watch. What happens when fandom takes a toll on real life? This film narrates the story of Meenukutty, an ardent Mohanlal fan, and the complications in her life.
Director: Mridul Nair
This Asif Ali-starrer too has a lot to like. Set in Bangalore, the film is about some engineering students who overstay their course by many, many years. The film takes one back to college, with annoying professors, brotherly juniors, irritating neighbours and everyday friendships that define a golden period in one’s life.
And The Oscar Goes To
Director: Salim Ahamed
Cast: Tovino Thomas, Anu Sithara
Based on the director’s own experience of taking his film Adaminte Makan Abu to the Oscars, this Tovino-starrer deviates from Salim Ahmed’s style to give us his weakest film. But even that comes with its own set of rewarding moments.
Cast: Kunchako Boban, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Salim Kumar.
This peculiar dark comedy has a plot that’s quite hard to take seriously. Ramendran’s tyre gets punctured each time he takes a trip, and one sees the man’s descent into darkness as a result of what seems like a trivial issue.
Director: Ashiq Abu
Cast: Rima Kallingal, Parvathy, Tovino Thomas, Joju George, Indrajith, Revathy
This film united an ensemble army of talents to give us a ringside view of all that happened when a State and its people came together to fight the deadly Nipah virus. This makes it a must-watch during these pandemic times. Based on real-life accounts during the Nipah Virus outbreak in North Kerala, the film showcases brilliant performances by Rima Kallingal, Soubin Sahir and Kunchacko Boban. The film is written by Muhsin Parari, Sharfu and Suhas and has cinematography by Rajeev Ravi.
Director: Adoor Gopalakrishnan
Cast: Dileep, Kavya Madhavan
Legend Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s film is based on a sensational murder case. This might be far from his best, but it manages to recreate a time period, and the issues that plagued the minds of the middle-class then.
Cast: Fahadh Faasil, Mamta Mohandas.
Venu follows up the much-loved Munnariyippu with this surreal treasure hunt featuring an incredible Fahadh Faasil. The ending, like his previous film, will leave you stumped for months to come.
Other films to check out include Diwanjimoola Grand Prix, Mangalyam Thanthunane Naa and Children’s Park.