Starting from the social dramas of the 50s, with films such as Jeevithanouka and the neo-realist Newspaper Boy, YouTube is now a treasure trove of films that can take one through the rich heritage of Malayalam cinema. Depending upon one's mood, this list contains films of every genre and by every major Malayalam director. So, if you're curious to watch a horror film, try out A Vincent's Bhargavi Nilayam, starring Madhu and Prem Nazir, to see how a film from this genre could once accommodate two superstars.
And, to get an idea of what a Malayalam mythological looked like, watch Kumara Sambhavam. Also, what better time to dig deeper into the films of masters such as Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Aravindan and go beyond Mathilukal and Vasthuhara to discover Anantharam, Swayamvaram (a great print), Kanchana Sita and even Pokkuveyil.
YouTube has good prints of John Abraham's Amma Ariyan and Cheriyachante Kroorakrithyangal. But if Malayalam art cinema is something you're not really in the mood for, watch the fun CID Nazeer that gives the term OTT new meaning.
Watching even half of this list is sure to give you a better idea of the masters and movements that make up Malayalam cinema, to the point where you'll feel mildly offended when someone calls today's cinema New Generation.
Newspaper Boy (1955)