2017 was an unforgettable year for the Malayalam film industry. The year began with a shameful event that shook the conscience of the country. On February 18, a popular actress was held captive and was sexually assaulted by a group of thugs in her own car when it was in transit in Kochi. That led to the formation of Women in Cinema Collective (WCC). As the name suggests the organisation is made up of only women members of the Malayalam film industry.
The goal of WCC is to create a positive atmosphere for the women members of the film fraternity and address gender-related issues. Actor Parvathy, who is one of the prominent members of the WCC, stirred a debate about prevailing sexism in the industry that blatantly normalises misogyny and male chauvinism through the films. She criticised dialogues of Mammootty in controversial film Kasaba that released last year.
And she drew a target on herself for online tolling. She even received rape and death threats. The constant harassment of Parvathy kept the debate against the onscreen sexism alive and with many demanding the big stars to stand up and make their position on the issue clear. Many stars are yet to speak up. But even before Parvathy or any other actors, it was Prithviraj who first realised the ill-effects of on-screen misogyny. He openly admitted that he was part of the problem and apologised saying he won’t glorify misogyny in his films anymore.
Well, that’s a right step in right direction. Just another 999 steps to the destination.
Parvathy had a brilliant run at the box office, award shows and she even dominated news space. Her performance in Take Off won her the best actor (female) award at the International Film Festival (IFFI) 2017. In the history of IFFI, she is the first actor from the Malayalam film industry to win the silver peacock.
Aishwarya Lekshmi made an impressive debut with Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela earlier this year. And she swept the audience off their feet with her bold and uncompromising performance in recently released Mayaanadhi.
Nimisha Sajayan is a memorable and impressive addition to the Malayalam film industry. Her naturalistic style in playing her role in Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum makes it very difficult not to admire her.
Manju Warrier continues her reign in the Malayalam film industry. She has been on the top of her game ever since she made a comeback in 2014, after a gap of 14 years. This year she played the protagonist in two films Udaharanam Sujatha and C/O Saira Banu. And played a pivotal role in Villian. She is now shooting for Aami, which will hit the screens next year.
Neha Sharma was one of the leading ladies in Dulquer Salmaan’s Solo, an anthology of four movies. While the film offered significant characters to other three leading ladies, it is Neha who stole the hearts (my heart for sure) with her joyous performance. She looked drop-dead gorgeous in the film and her chemistry with Dulquer was refreshing too.