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Best of Malayalam cinema in 2022: 5 critically and commercially successful movies

Mammootty, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Tovino Thomas, Kunchacko Boban, Kalyani Priyadarshan, Basil Joseph and Gayathrie Shankar feature in the films

Saikat Chakraborty Calcutta Published 16.12.22, 11:33 AM
(L-R) Stills from Bheeshma Parvam, Thallumaala and Jana Gana Mana.

(L-R) Stills from Bheeshma Parvam, Thallumaala and Jana Gana Mana. IMDb

While the Tamil, Telugu and Kannada film industries came up with the biggest blockbusters of 2022, Malayalam cinema relied more on the fusion of unique content and brilliant performances to trigger cerebral experience as well as popular appeal. Here are five Malayalam films that received critical acclaim and struck gold at the box office this year.

Bheeshma Parvam


Starring superstar Mammootty in the lead role, this period gangster thriller directed by Amal Neerad became the highest-grossing Malayalam film of 2022. The movie also features an ensemble cast of Soubin Shahir, Sreenath Bhasi, Nadhiya Moidu, Shine Tom Chacko, Farhaan Faasil, Dileesh Pothan, Jinu Joseph, Anasuya Bharadwaj, Harish Uthaman, Lena, Shebin Benson and Anagha. It arrived in the theatres on March 3.

Set in the late 1980s, Bheeshma Parvam revolves around the exploits of Michael (Mammootty), a criminal boss who heads the Anjootti family in Kochi. Some family members, however, are not happy with his rise and team up with the enemy. The story of the film is loosely based on Francis Ford Coppola’s The GodFather and the Indian epic Mahabharata.

Watch it on: Disney+Hotstar


Filmmaker Khalid Rahman’s action film Thallumaala stars Minnal Murali fame Tovino Thomas in the lead role. This high-octane film also stars Kalyani Priyadarshan, Shine Tom Chacko, Chemban Vinod Jose, Lukman Avaran, Swathi Das Prabhu and Adhri Joe in key roles. It was released on August 12 and instantly became a critical and commercial success.

Thallumaala chronicles the journey of a carefree young man named Manavaalan Wazim (Thomas) who is drawn into street brawls and leads a flamboyant lifestyle. He falls in love with a star vlogger, Beepathu (Priyadarshan), but his addiction to fighting proves disastrous. Shown in a non-linear manner, the film’s loud, cartoonish tone and stylised visuals made Thallumaala a massive box office draw.

Watch it on: Netflix

Jana Gana Mana

Jana Gana Mana is directed by Dijo Jose Antony and stars Prithviraj Sukumaran, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Pasupathi Raj, G. M. Sundar, Mamta Mohandas and Sri Divya in lead roles. Released on April 28, this courtroom thriller raises important social questions and goes into the heart of the legal system in India.

The film follows the massive uproar and student protests that follow the death of a college professor. The government sends a policeman to probe the murder and he kills the suspects in an encounter. However, the case goes to the court where an enigmatic lawyer (Sukumaran) soon puts the officer in trouble for his involvement in a larger political conspiracy.

Watch it on: Netflix


This coming-of-age romantic drama, written and directed by Vineeth Sreenivasan, was the first Malayalam blockbuster of the year upon its release on January 21. Hridayam stars Pranav Mohanlal, Kalyani Priyadarshan and Darshana Rajendran in lead roles. It also features Aswath Lal, Vijayaraghavan, Johny Antony and Aju Varghese.

Hridayam depicts a decade of Arun’s (Pranav Mohanlal) life from the time he enters an engineering college in Chennai till he becomes a father and a professional photographer. Tracing the entire process of growing up, the film touches upon topics like first love, heartbreaks, friends and learning to take up responsibilities. The movie was praised for its realistic depiction of campus life in Chennai.

Watch it on: Disney+Hotstar

Nna Thaan Case Kodu

Ratheesh Balakrishnan Poduval’s legal satire film Nna Thaan Case Kodu, starring Kunchacko Boban and Gayathrie Shankar, became one of the most loved comedies of the year. Released on August 11, the film also features Rajesh Madhavan, P. P. Kunhikrishnan, Basil Joseph, Sibi Thomas and A.V Balakrishnan.

The film revolves around a petty thief, Kozhummal Rajeevan (Boban), who is reformed after falling in love with a Tamil labourer named Devi (Shankar). However, Kozhummal gets arrested after he mistakenly trespasses into the property of the local MLA. Now he must now represent himself in court and prove his innocence.

Watch it on: Disney+Hotstar

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