For a month without movies by the two big Ms of Mollywood — Mohanlal and Mammooty — February turned out to be quite good for Malayalam cinema as a whole. The industry was still able to attract a large number of film enthusiasts into cinema halls, thanks to some fresh narratives and subjects.
Ayyappanum Koshiyum directed by Sachi, Varane Avashyamundu by Anoop Sathyan, Trance by Anwar Rasheed and Papam Cheyathavar Kalleriyatte by Shambhu Purushothaman all found their space among the audience, and were well received at the box office.
The four movies, which dealt with four different concepts, had distinct narratives and treatments. If Varane Avashyamundu was an engaging feel good movie that also saw Suresh Gopi and Shobhana bringing an extra charm into their characters, Ayappanum Koshiyum was an out-and-out entertainer which saw Prithviraj and Biju Menon stealing the show with their power-packed performances. Trance showed the mind blowing shift made by Anwar Rasheed as a visualizer and Shambhu Puruhothaman’s Papam Cheyathavar Kalleriyatte increased the weight of the blows on fake morality in Kerala’s society compared to his last directorial venture Vedivazhipadu, which was also a satirical take on hypocritical-moralist mindset of Kerala’s middle class society.
Except for Papam Cheyathavar Kalleriyatte, the other three movies had star elements and was highly anticipated by the audience.
Varane Avashyamund, the debut movie of veteran filmmaker Sathyan Anthikad’s son Anoop Sathyan, had a very interesting cast to start with. The movie saw the return of veteran actor Suresh Gopi after a long break. The movie also saw the return of evergreen actress Shobhana. If that wasn’t enough, Dulquer Salmaan appeared in a Malayalam movie after a short break along with Kalayani Priyadarshan who made her Mollywood debut with the movie.
Ayapppanm Koshiyum had other factors that made it a runaway success. If the hit combination of Sachi and Prithviraj wasn’t enough, the casting of Biju Menon in an equally strong character opposite Prithviraj made the movie an interesting duel between two powerful performers. The realistic narrative and entertaining storyline might make Ayappanum Koshiyum a trend setter in Malayalam cinema.
While Trance was one of the most anticipated movies to be released this year so far, the Anwar Rasheed movie caused some stir among cinephiles of the state. Fahadh Faasil’s unbelievable energy levels in the movie along with a cinematic experience that justifies the movie title has made Trance the talk of the town. Other than the courage shown by the filmmakers to take on the business of faith, Trance conjures a magical audio visual world that has not been seen in Malayalam cinema before.
Papam Cheyathavar Kalleriyatte can also be considered a social commentary, but unlike Trance it has a lighter and satirical tone that tears apart moralistic views on sex and adultery. Though the movie hasn’t made much ripples in theaters, it is bound to be discussed and viewed on a large scale once it gets released online like Shambhu’s first movie Vedivazhpadu.
Other than the freshness adopted in theme and style, these movies also converted their popularity into returns at the box office. While Ayappanum Koshiyum has reportedly collected Rs 30 crore across the world, Varane Avashyamundu is said to have raked in Rs 25 crore in just 19 days. Big budget movie Trance is also on its way to become a blockbuster according to market experts, while Papaam Chyathavar Kalleriyatte, a small budget movie with less star attraction, might find it difficult to sustain in theaters.
With Tovino starrer Forensic – an investigative thriller being released towards the end of February, Malayalam cinema will surely remember this fabulous February for some time to come.