Nandanam is another one of my favorite films from the well-directed and crafted combination of reels. Navya plays Balamani the lead role and receives all the accolade she deserves for her liveliness and simplicity. The film shows the life and times of a young woman who falls in love with the boy from the house where she works. The movie has several memorable acting scenes, light comedy, and the cult climax scene which changed the scenario of the film altogether. The character “Unnikrishnan” and Balamani’s bond with him is the soul of the movie. Prithviraj’s charms, Revathy’s steadfastness, Innocent’s hilarious yet fatherly presence in Balamani’s life, Kaviyoor Ponnamma as Unniamma and the three bickering ladies make for the film. Raveendran master’s songs and Ranjith’s direction make the film what it is…
As I am making this list, it is literally impossible for me to exclude this thriller by Sibi Malayil. Devadoothan is not 100% perfect per se, but the storytelling, the thrills, and the performances resulted in a memorable product. Devadoothan was a commercial flop at the time of its release but it became very popular when it was released in small screen and today, it is a cult classic. Mohanlal delivers an effective portrayal and his appearance with beard at the beginning is undoubtedly one of his best looks on-screen. Jayapradha’s role as Angelina Ignatious is one of the most underrated female characters. She delivers an effective performance and is the soul of the film.
13.Summer in Bethlehem (1998)
A cult classic meant for your summer vacation. Nostalgia plays a massive role here and this film came in either Asianet or Surya channel, whenever I went to my native place in Trivandrum. Summer in Bethlehem is a fun filled entertainer with Jayaram and Suresh Gopi at the centre but the story surrounds Manju Warrier’s role as Abhirami. Her girly playfulness, pranful nature, bickering all have been enclosing a vulnerable woman who is dying as the time is moving towards a specific day. Manju Warrier left her mark onscreen. Plus, we have “5 cousins” and Monayi (Kalabhavan Mani) to knit in the colourfulness. The film has memorable songs and the power packed performance by Mohanlal who appears at the end of the film.
At the time of its release, Classmates redeemed the typecast and stereotypical nature of Malayalam films, because of which a “blockbuster” was yet to come. It is suspense thriller taking place at a college campus. An attempted murder, committed by a person who has a 15-year-old grudge against victim. The story takes place in Pius’s (Indrajit) POV and presents Sukumaran (Prithviraj), Thara (Kavya Madhavan), Satheesan (Jayasurya) and Raziya (Radhika). The songs, the campus based pranks, and the love story that breaks your heart due to the final result of the same. The film features friendship, compassion, trust and above all “power” of forgiveness thus making it an effective film indeed. The film is noted for Radhika’s breakout performance and the song “ente kalbile”.
Notebook was one of the best films of late 2000s with Roma, Maria and Parvathy in the lead roles. Roma plays Sara Elizabeth, the toughest and most brilliant person among the group. Sreedevi (Maria) is the most innocent while Pooja is the most practical but does what she feels is right to stay safe. When the girls face a tough time in their lives, Sara and Pooja take it up themselves to get out of the mess but ends up in deeper trouble. Roma is very effective in her role, especially during those scenes where the principal and police interrogate her and when she is betrayed by her best friend. Parvathy’s passion and easy going nature guaranteed her role as a future star. We see that with her back to back success. This is one of the best films that feature female friendship and intimacy. The film won a well deserved state award and became a cult phenomenon.