The 2022 season has come to an end. It is the perfect time to reflect back on all the things that Malayalam cinema did great in 2022.
It is the year of Mammukka. He is back and how! (Bheeshma Parvam, Puzhu, Rorschach, CBI 5, Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam – limited release)
AR Rahman is back in our tinsel town! (Malayankunju, Araattu cameo)
The success of Super Sharanya and Jo &Jo underlines the fact that there is an audience in Kerala for teen comedies – a space that’s waiting to be explored in Malayalam cinema in the coming years!
We finally have a quality horror film we can be proud of! (Bhoothakalam)
The year also marked the return of some of the most loved actresses who ruled the 2000s – from Navya Nair (Oruthee) to Meera Jasmine (Makal) to Padmapriya (Wonder Women)
2022 was also the year Mollywood went to court. And it was amazing how, in each film, the court setting was given a different treatment. If in Nna Thaan Case Kodu, they formed the backbone of the humor, in Jana Gana Mana it was where powerful dialogues took center stage. In Mahaveeryar, it formed the backdrop for another genre in itself (time travel fantasy)! (Nna thaan case kodu, naradan, mahaveeryar, vaashi, mukundan unni, jana gana mana, Saudi Vellaka)
Thankfully, the year didn’t see overcrowding (hence exhaustion) of thrillers like in recent years – Which really helped the audience appreciate the novelties that came about in the few releases within the genre (Kooman, Anthakshari, Salute, etc)
The year also saw the rise of a new kind of ‘stardom’ – one not driven by conventional good looks, but rather by respect for the selection of good content: Mr. Basil Joseph, of course! (Palthu Janwar, Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey)
And of course, it was great to witness the return of some of our veterans – Sibi Malayil (Kotthu), Shaji Kailas (Kaduva, Kaapa), and K Madhu (CBI 5). Hope they continue to entertain for many years ahead!
The success of Thallumaala is definitive proof that if you’re sure who you’re selling the movie to, they would definitely flock to the screens. There was no intentional addition of songs/comedy/romance to appease the larger demography. And of course, this film really made people rethink the ‘boundaries’ of mainstream filmmaking.
2022 was also the year where online interviews really came into the limelight like never before – stars beginning to be more open, non-diplomatic, and fun. This koottam has primarily two kombans at the forefront – Shine Tom Chacko and Dhyan Sreenivasan who have created a fandom through just witty replies and anecdotes.
This Onam, we saw the Vinayan – Siju Wilson combo drop a bomb with Pathonpatham Nootand. A neat historical that clicked with the masses, the film showed how actors, if they are allowed to break out of the typecasting, can create wonders in new avatars. Siju Wilson as an action hero was a revelation!
Another actor who’s had a stellar year is Chackochan, who seems to have cracked a formula for socially relevant and yet entertaining films (Pada, Nna thaan case kodu, ariyippu). The year also marked much-awaited box office comebacks for Suresh Gopi (Paappan), Unni Mukundan (Meppadiyan), and Asif Ali (Kooman).
Also, the inclusion of many Malayalam actors in other language movies/tv series was great to watch. Usually, they’re there for the sake of it (to capture the Kerala market) and they rarely get to overshadow the leads. But Ponniyan Selvan, Vikram, Vendhu Thanindath Kaadu, all had some inspired casting – with our actors standing tall on screen!
Three female actors really stood out in their film choices – Darshana Rajendran (Hridayam, Jaya jaya jaya he, Dear Friend) and Kalyani Priyadarshan (Hridayam, Thallumaala) solidified their presence in Mollywood while Aishwarya Lekshmi ventured into other languages as well (Kumari, Archana 31*, Ammu, Ponniyin Selvan-1, Gatta Kushti).
The music space saw chartbusters from all the usual suspects (Jakes Bejoy, Sushin Shyam, Deepak Dev, Justin Varghese) but 4 people who stood out, in our opinion, are Hesham Abdul Wahab for his soulful work in Hridayam, Ankit Menon and Vishnu Vijay for quirky situational numbers in J4H and Thallumaala, and Bhoomee for inspiring many female musicians to become music directors with her impressive debut in Kudukku 2025.
As with every year, this year also saw a few commendable films going unnoticed upon release. We’re sure that with OTT, these films are on track to becoming sleeper hits! (Kuttavum Shikshayum, Appan, Avasayuham, Sree Dhanyavaad Catering Service, Dear Friend, Twenty-one grams, Peace)
What did you love about Malayalam Cinema In 2022? Let us know in the comments below.