a movie list for the keeps

When a dear friend recently asked me recommendations for Malayalam movies of the 90s, little did I expect it to turn my mind into an avalanche of choices and since I was spamming her with the names, I reminisced so happily, I thought why not put it down in a blogpost. So here goes –


(Warning: I am a lalettan fan, so most movies I mention here are going to be of his)
Also these movies are a huge part of my childhood, even now when I converse with my parents/cousins and other mallu friends, we refer to dialogues from these movies to compare situations. Its like I grew up with lalettan of the 90s :-D… so its special at a different level too..

Kilukkam (Mohanlal, revathy, jagathy) — funny and poignant set in ooty. Its a cult movie one must not miss.

Manichitratazhu (mohanlal, shobana, suresh gobi) – no explanation needed here. It is a must watch!!

Minnaram ( mohanlal shobana thilakan) – a few cringeworthy scenes of priyadarshan.s direction apart, its my frequent go-to movie for its easy comedy and editing.. some semblances to sound of music and the usual priyadarshan-mohanlal combo

Meleparambil aanveedu ( Jayaram shobana ) – When a true blue nair, marries a counter girl from Tamil Nadu and brings her home to a slew of bachelors, lots of funny exchanges of Tamil and Malayalam words. More enjoyable if u know both languages well.

Devasuram (mohanlal revathi) – first trend setter which led to a slew of “super-hero” status movies for mohanlal. Although this was much more subdued in its treatment and doesn’t have many funny parts.

Aaram-thamburan ( mohanlal manju warrier) – Warrier is brilliant. Mohanlal starts to shift into the “star” status in this movie, although its enjoyable. this is probably the only one I like of his super-star movies. Who remembers – “ShamBo mahadeva” πŸ™‚

Advaitham ( mohanlal, jayaram, revathi) – Mohanlal is a anti-hero here. Story revolves around the politics of temple devasom boards and lots of corruption. Also one will remember the famous song – Ambalapuzhe unni kannan. In all its seriousness, I thought it was a well made movie.

Thenmaavin Kombathu ( mohanlal shobana ) – it was the era of mohanlal-proyadarshan magic. and this one doesn’t fail. Super funny in all its absurdity, set in the milieu of Kerala-karnataka border its a real treat!

Mithunam ( mohanlal urvashi) – Mohanlal in his hey days floored the masses with what ayushman does recently, make movies on social issues. This movie is also about middle class struggles to start a new business amidst Kerala’s trade unions and family members. Mohanlal-srinivasan combo also works great here. So does the marital struggles in a joint family portrayed so well.

Sandesham ( jayaram, Srinivasan, thilakan) – Just remembering the movie fills me with nostalgia. Its about two warring brothers because they are party members of opposition parties. and how they bring politics into the family setup. It was time of portraying social satire in Malayalam cinema and this one does it brilliantly.

Gajakesari-yogam ( innocent , KPSC) – a classic. An old couple buy an elephant only to realize the circus elephant only understand Hindi and they decide to learn Hindi for it… its the most endearing movie with an animal made in Malayalam.

His highness Abdullah ( mohanlal, nadumudi, gowthami ) – a long classic and brilliant musical. If you are a fan of Carnatic music this one is a must watch. Its a family coup of murdering a patriarch and has semblances to Mahabharata.

Bharatam ( mohanlal nadumudi ) – Again one with amazing music and Carnatic music. It is about Carnatic musician brothers. Brilliant acting my mohanlal and in the “ramakdha” song, I felt urvashi acts splendid and at par with lal. Its a sad movie.

Pavithram ( mohanlal, shobana) – Semblance to “badhai ho”. Mom who gets pregnant in. old age and dies at child birth. Mohanlal the older brother brings up the child. It has a heart breaking ending and lal is splendid in those scenes.

Maalooty ( jayaram urvashi) – the story is about a kid who falls into a long hole in the ground and the rescue efforts that surround it. It can be called a thriller, but for that era, it was well shot and malooty has done a great job acting, especially the scene with the worm that crawl on her face πŸ™‚

( Will keep editing and adding as I recall )….

One thought on “a movie list for the keeps

  1. Obviously watched all of these more than once… who remembers when parents used to rent out video casettes over a weekend to rewatch these classics! It’s still our go to when we want to watch something as a couple or when we are getting over an argument πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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