Art of Monologues in Malayalam Cinema

“Friends, Romans, Countrymen” is an iconic dramatic monologue by Marc Antony, given at Julius Caesar’s funeral, written by the great William Shakespeare. This is still part of English lessons taught in schools. I had always been mesmerized by this dramatic style and wondered how well monologues have been used in Malayalam Cinema.

What is a Monologue?

Mono’ stands for one, and ‘logue’ refers to discourse or dialogue. Thus, a monologue can be defined as a long speech given by a person or an actor. Monologues are used in drama and literature when an actor/character has to express their emotions, thoughts, or opinions out loud to the public. 

The example of “Friends, Romans, Countrymen” was a monologue that had multiple purposes. Marc Antony, a dear friend of Julius Caesar, wasn’t considered a good enough orator compared to Brutus who betrayed Julius Caesar. Antony had to follow Brutus, who had given an eloquent intellectual speech. Antony ends up giving an emotional speech which stirs up the crowd against Brutus and his company. Thus, Antony was able to pull in the sympathy of the crowd towards Caesar while motivating them to revolt– all in a single monologue. Such is the impact of a well-crafted monologue and an orator.

Over the years, cinema, too, employed this style to better emote the characters and sometimes even to establish them. 

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Monologues in Malayalam Cinema

Now, let’s talk about the monologues in our territory. If you’re still confused about what I’m trying to say, let’s look at an obvious example. Remember the days when we celebrated the long dialogues of the Renji Panicker-Mammootty-Mohanlal-Suresh Gopi combo? That’s exactly what a monologue is. Those were the days! Even when long rants gained applause from the audience. 

Although the monologues in Mollywood today have reduced compared to the 1990s and 2000s, it hasn’t been erased completely. Such is the impact a monologue has on a movie. It becomes a direct speech directed at the audience, and writers today use it as an efficient tool to express their individualistic ideologies. 

Monologues can be powerful, inspiring, or even emotional. Whatever the emotion may be, an effective display of the speech by the actor can accurately pass on that emotion. With that said, let’s explore a few iconic monologues from Malayalam.

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Iconic Monologues from Malayalam Cinema

The writer in Renji Panicker would certainly top this list.

‘Sense, Sensibility, Sensitivity’ – The King (Mammootty)

Now, this is definitely a misogynistic monologue written by Renji Panicker. I don’t mean to glorify or condone his misogynistic statements made against women, rather this is only about the dramatic style employed in the monologue. 

Joseph Alex (Mammootty) blasts out at his junior who disrespected an elder with a strong patriotic yet patriarchal monologue about the conditions of the country. Mammootty, as an actor, delivers a masterpiece of a performance with this long monologue, that many still retain and imitate. Not to undermine the writer in Renji Panicker and the performer in Mammootty, this movie is a rampage of iconic monologues alone.

If Rocky Bhai says,‘Sense venam, sensibility venam, sensitivity venam’, you know this is big. 

“Nera Thirumeni…” – Lelam (MG Soman)

MG Soman, the legendary actor, has a career that is filled with noteworthy acting moments, but this monologue right here would be amongst the top. Eepachan, a liquor baron, enunciates his majesty yet humble beginnings in this monologue, written by Renji Panicker again. A monologue of close to 3 minutes is a brilliant setup for the movie, which forms the major conflict for the movie. 

“Gun Kanditundoda Nee…” – Praja (NF Varghese and Mohanlal)

Yet another Renji Panicker monologue! How often do you witness two legendary actors give their best acting monologues in a single scene? 

After each peg of Johnnie Walker, Lahayil Vakkachen (NF Varghese) shows his three different faces; a nice old man, a seasoned politician, and a local thallipoli politician. The range he ushers in a single monologue with three different variations is really a sight of wonder. 

Zakir Ali Hussein (Mohanlal) jumps into the scene with a classic Renji Panicker-style patriotic monologue—two legends at their finest.

“Shall I remind you something…” – Narasimham (Mammootty)

This is my favorite and the same for many other Malayalis. An iconic scene with both our Big M’s, but Mammookka single-handedly takes this scene away. Malayalam monologue in itself is difficult, but here is a man who mixes it with English. Ranjith, the screenwriter, has written down a monologue only Mammootty can pull off. Screw the evidence; I would have let Thilakan sir walk free after that monologue masterpiece.

“Mohan Thomasinte…” and “Ormayundo ee mugham..” – Commissioner (Suresh Gopi)

Yes, the dialogues we all told as kids of ‘pha pulle’ and ‘ormayundo ee mugham’ were all part of the monologues from this movie. And just like that, we return to another one of Renji Panicker’s brilliant writing. 

Bharath Chandran’s attitude and style are best complemented by these mass dialogues from Renji Panicker. His character uses monologues to lash out at anyone and anybody who opposes him, be it high-ranking officials or even ministers.

NB: Also, the ‘pha pulle’ was actually by Vijayaraghan and not Suresh Gopi. Sorry to break it to those who didn’t know.

“Padachonee ingale katholee…” – Vellanakalude Nadu (Kuthiravattom Pappu)

Now as stated earlier, monologues aren’t limited to mass powerful movies alone. The scene where Kuthiravattom Pappu explains his journey through Thamarasserry choram is an amazing monologue too, written by the versatile Sreenivasan. 

Who wouldn’t remember this brilliant monologue? As Maniyanpilla Raju says towards the end of his monologue “Bhayankaram thane”, we all felt it too.

“Thaan aranennu thaniku ariyilel…” – Thenmavin Kombathu (Kuthiravttom Pappu)

Another Kuthiravattom Pappu masterpiece right here. He just steals the scene with this monologue written by Priyadarshan himself. I amm sure we all have tried to memorise this but couldn’t because we ourselves couldn’t understand it! Then comes the legend Pappu who comes in his suave and says, “Hold my beer!”

Inspirational Speech – Mili (Amala Paul)

Although this is a speech given on stage by Amala Paul, it is a great inspiration for kids who are afraid to break their shells and explore. It is written by Mahesh Narayan for the movie Mili. Mili (Amala Paul) is an introvert suffering from depression, and her character arc is evidently shown through this monologue, where she gains the confidence to express herself.

A monologue that is quite different from the style and attitude of the previous ones

Lady Superstar Monologue – Pathram (Manju Warrier)

It is quite obvious to think that the lady superstar of Malayalam would have a mass monologue written by Renji Panicker. Well, this movie is full of it! Manju Warrier goes beyond her stardom to pull off monologues at par with Suresh Gopi in the movie. 

Devika Shekar (Manju Warrier), a bold journalist, has monologues that speak up against patriarchy and injustice throughout the movie. Most of them are through interactions with a high-ranking police officer, where she is witty, bold, and courageous. She is an absolute package in the movie!

Ashok Raj Speech – Kadha Parayumbol (Mammootty)

Well, I don’t have to talk a lot about Mammookka’s talents in voice modulation. A simple speech of reminiscing a long-lost friend, wouldn’t have been this heart-touching if not for Mammootty. This monologue, written by Sreenivasan, is delivered with subtle pauses, and the fumbling of words adds to this emotional monologue.

“Chodyam chodikuka thane cheyum…” – Queen (Salim Kumar)

Adv. Mukundan’s monologue in court is not just a monologue suitable for the context alone but serves as a commentary on the present-day scenario. Salim Kumar pulls a heroic performance coming in a cameo appearance with his monologues written by Sharis Mohammad and Jebin Joseph Antony.

Firebrand Aravind Swaminathan – Jana Gana Mana (Prithviraj Sukumaran)

It wouldn’t be wrong to doubt whether Sharis Mohammed, as a writer, is carving out his niche like his predecessor Renji Panicker. If you thought Queen had amazing monologues, Jana Gana Mana has stronger and longer monologues. 

Aravind Swaminathan’s (Prithviraj Sukumaran) monologues do not talk about a single issue alone but a variety of social issues, which makes them stand out. Sharis Mohammed has been effectively using the form of monologue, in particular, to express his thoughts and views on the social and political scenario. Jana Gana Mana delivers a commentary on the present-day through monologues. 

If you managed to read up till here, I would like to let you into a personal secret of mine. Memorizing these iconic monologues has been my guilty pleasure, even though I’ve not become very successful in it. These are some of the memorable monologues in Malayalam cinema that have stuck with me over the years. Feel free to add your favorites in the comments below!

Edited by Izza Maryam Ahsan

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