6 Malayalam Films to Catch If You Loved ‘Kumbalangi Nights’

This list of Malayalam films is an absolute must-watch.

Indian Cinema
3 min read
Stills from <i>Sudani from Nigeria </i>(L) and <i>Thondimuthalum</i> <i>Driksakshiyum </i>(R).

Let’s get straight to the point - if you’ve watched the brilliant Malayalam film Kumbalangi Nights recently and are figuring out which other recent cinematic gems from Kerala to catch, look no further. Here’s a list of 6 recent (or almost recent) Malayalam films you should watch or look out for:

1. Ee.Ma.Yau

Directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery of Angamaly Diaries fame, Ee.Ma.Yau is an acronym for ‘Eeso Mariyam Yauseppe’ or Jesus Mary Joseph, a manner of saying ‘Rest In Peace’. The title is ideal for a film that deals with the many moods of death. Delightful, funny and reflective on many counts, Ee.Ma.Yau is not to be missed. Noted film critic Baradwaj Rangan called Pellissery’s creation a “delightfully humorous take on death”, we couldn’t agree more.

  • Ee.Ma.Yau is currently not streaming on any platform, but it will definitely be worth the wait.

2. Sudani From Nigeria

Set in Kerala’s Malappuram district, Sudani from Nigeria features Soubin Shahir as a passionate football coach, who ends up hosting a Nigerian player at his home, while he recovers from an injury. A heartwarming tale of bonding and healing, Sudani from Nigeria, directed by Zakariya, is unusual both in its idea and storytelling. Film critic Anna Vetticad rightly sums up her review of the film by saying, “in so many ways, Sudani from Nigeria is a soothing balm for the soul in our fractured world.”

  • Sudani from Nigeria is currently streaming on Netflix with subtitles.

3. Mayaanadhi

Mayaanadhi is the kind of film that leaves you with an ache in your heart. Directed by Aashiq Abu, Mayaanadhi revolves around the troubled relationship between a criminal on the run (Tovino Thomas) and an aspiring actor (Aishwarya Lekshmi). Charming and poignant at the same time, Mayaanadhi is a winner because of its subtle, understated characters and scenes. While describing the film, Baradwaj Rangan writes, “we’ve seen many falling-in-love films, many falling-out-of-love films. This is a being-in-love film, with all the passions and problems the term suggests.”

  • Mayaanadhi is currently streaming on Sun NXT with subtitles.

4. Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum

A man snatches a lady’s chain during a bus journey and apparently swallows it when caught. He vehemently denies it, she believes she saw him do it... what happens next? Directed by Dileesh Pothan, Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, begins on a totally different note with an intercaste wedding and the couple moving to a new town to start afresh. The film unravels a chain snatching incident to reveal layer after layer not only the characters involved in it but also an everyday police station that comes alive as an important character in the film. Actors Fahadh Faasil, Suraj Venjaramoodu and Nimisha Sajayan are brilliant in making their characters so layered and realistic.

  • Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum is currently streaming on Hotstar with subtitles.

5. Eeda

Anand Balakrishnan (Shane Nigam) and Aishwarya Gopal (Nimisha Sajayan) are star crossed lovers in the politically volatile Kannur district of Kerala. Set in the backdrop of the brutal clashes between the CPI (M) and the RSS in the area, the film builds a narrative around how Anand and Aishwarya come to terms with their politically opposed families. Thankfully, director B Ajithkumar doesn’t focus much on the idea or moments of love between the Malayali Romeo and Juliet here, as much as he mulls on the impact of the politics and the zeitgeist of Kannur on their relationship.

  • Eeda is currently streaming on Netflix with subtitles.

6. Njan Prakashan

Directed by the veteran Sathyan Anthikad, Njan Prakashan is a comedy featuring the immensely talented Fahadh Faasil and is written by Sreenivasan. What more could you ask for? Njan Prakashan has Fahadh playing Prakash (he calls himself PR Akash, because it sounds cool) a selfish, untrustworthy, over smart young man with zero conscience.

Writing about the film, Anna Vetticad comments, “Njan Prakashan inhabits familiar Anthikad territory yet within the familiar, the director manages to unearth the refreshing and the new. It is hard to explain what the film is about because it is not about anything in particular, yet it is about anything that matters - life, death and the relationships that come in between.” If you love feel-good films with a subtle message in them, you will laugh and cry your heart out with this entertainer.

  • Njan Prakashan is currently streaming on Netflix with subtitles.
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