It’s been fun keeping count of the best work produced in Malayalam cinema last year. But in the year that produced garish phenomenon like Pulimurugan, a list of most disappointing films simply had to be done.
Ironically, this was the easiest exercise of the lot. We had 118 films this year as opposed to the 141 releases last year. In the record books, 2016 will be earmarked for the 100-crore Pulimurugan, a film that continues to be a case study for serious, cynical, perceptive Malayalee moviegoers as to what exactly makes a film tick. Or does it all boil down to one name—Mohanlal?
This year we saw a deluge of newcomers from various departments of cinema—and quite a few struck pure gold. But having said all that, 2016 also boasts of some of the worst films, many featuring some of the best actors in our country. We are also in two minds about to the portrayal of women in Malayalam cinema — on the one hand we had a regressive Kasaba, but on the other a refreshing Maheshinte Prathikaram, Oru Muthassi Gadha and Anuraga Karikkin Vellam. Some great music, lyrics, cinematography and a host of fantastic actors were the other pluses. Did we deviate from the plot? So, brace yourself, here we pick the most uninspiring movies of the lot. You can pick which was your favourite among the bad ones!
Just a warning — We are just including the ones featuring some of the more popular names.
Welcome to Central Jail: Whatever goodwill Dileep earned with the underwhelming King Liar (which grossed 20 crores) sank with this comic horror. All his familiar tropes—crass comedy, non-existent script, icky songs and hapless heroine are in full power. Dileep was just repeating his previous dim-witted act he put up for Lohithadas’ Chakkara Muthu and Marykkundoru Kunjaadu.
Thoppil Joppan:Someone somewhere under the film’s promotional poster commented — “The film would have worked if it was a spoof.” That perfectly sums up the Megastar’s grand comic outing this year. There was Mammootty making a perfect fool of himself in the garb of one of his most shoddily written onscreen roles till date. And it didn’t help that he got no help from the wafer-thin screenplay, terrible direction, or irksome cronies.
Kasaba: One of the most hyped releases this year, Kasaba was a bolt from the blue for an average Mammootty fan. Laced with offensive, sexist dialogues in an archaic story, newbie Nithin Renji Panickers’s debut irked feminists to no end. But the biggest letdown remains the Megastar opting for a film of this crassness.
Mohavalayam: T.V. Chandran is known to have revolutionised parallel cinema, but then he hasn’t been in his element since Shankaranum Mohananum (2011). And he continues his bad form with this story shot extensively in the backdrop of Bahrain about a film director who becomes obsessed with a young glamorous bar dancer. He textures it with unnecessary tele-serial melodrama and terrible performances. There is Joy Mathew in one of his most sore outings so far. While Mythili seems unsure, or was it too eager to please?
Shahjahanum Pareekuttiyum: Two lads are out to make some quick money and they try to woo a rich heiress to fall in with their plans. She smells a rat and tries to unknot their love trap. Needless twists, tedious comedy, and a sizeable lack of chemistry between the three actors results in a boring mess of a film. Neither Jayasurya nor Kunchako Boban could bring any respite.
White: Okay, the story goes something like this—a middle-aged filthy rich business man is stalking a beautiful young girl in London. He gives no explanation for this weird obsession. But then once she really falls for him, it is revealed that she resembled his dead wife. Heard before? Yes, that and a complete lack of chemistry between the two leads, terrible lip-syncing of the heroine and a dreary pace is what White is all about. But the music is rather awesome.
IDI: Honestly, the one liner sounds good—an ambitious young cop who dreams of vanquishing dreaded dons and cleaning up the corrupted system ends up in a tiny obscure village with a dilapidated police station. The only crooks he must deal with are small time thieves. It’s technically supposed to be a spoof but somewhere in the middle, the genre loses track and tries to present itself as a massy commercial film. And it reaches nowhere.
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Fullpicture is an exclusive, comprehensive, online English magazine on Malayalam cinema, put together by a team of experienced journalists who share a passion for everything about Malayalam cinema. The idea is to put out well-written and well-researched features, exclusive interviews,...