Malayalam Biopics That Are Worth The Watch

Sometimes the wackiest movies are the ones that are based (or loosely based) on real-life incidents. After all, they’re sometimes a cautionary tale, motivating and almost close to reality. Today, we’re looking at Malayalam biopics that are almost similar to what happened in real life. Or, was inspired by something that materialised in actuality. Enjoy!

Kurup (2021)

The 2021 Mollywood movie Kurup tells the story of Kerala’s most wanted criminal, Sukumara Kurup. Kurup, played by Dulquer Salmaan, has been on the run since he murdered Chacko for insurance money. This incident occurred in 1984.  It still holds relevance even today because not only does it speak of one of Kerala Police’s failed attempts to capture a criminal mastermind, but also a horrifying murder that has shaken people to the core.

Mathilukal (1989)

One of the most iconic Malayalam biopics to be ever made. Mammooty received his first National award for Best Actor for playing the role of Vaikom Mohammed Basheer in Mathilukal. The film follows the story of the writer’s stint in prison and the romance he shared with a female prisoner. 

Ennu Ninte Moideen (2015)

Appraised as one of the most iconic (and tragic) love stories in Kerala, Ennu Ninte Moideen is a biographical film of Moideen and Kanchanamala. A Hindu falling in love with a Muslim sparked controversy, but the couple did not lose faith in their relationship. Despite facing many setbacks, they hold on till tragedy strikes. 

Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar (1999)

Playing the role of Dr BR Ambedkar was no mean feat, but Mammootty pulled it off. He even bagged his third National Award for this movie. Even though this isn’t a Malayalam biopic, it still holds relevance in this list owing to Mammootty settler performance. 

Thalappavu (2008)

The events in Thalappavu is based on Naxal Varghese and Police Constable P. Ramachandran Nair. The film is set against the Naxalite era of the 1970s in Kerala. Thalappavu had an ensemble cast featuring Prithviraj, Lal, Atul Kulkarni, Rohini, and Dhanya Mary Varghese.

Captain (2018)

This Malayalam biopic is based on the life of veteran Football player VP Sathyan (played by Jayasurya), a former captain of the Indian National Football team. The legendary player had brought a lot of accolades to Kerala, but his life was not flowery as it seemed to be. In the movie, you get to know the struggles, depressive episodes, and hardships he had to go through to make it big, which eventually leads to his downfall too.

Chalakkudikkaran Changathi (2018)

From an autorickshaw driver to becoming one of the finest actors in Malayalam cinema, Kalabhavan Mani had a real story to tell. His untimely death shocked the nation. Chalakkudikkaran Changathi is loosely based on the life of Kalabhavan Mani and is a tribute to the actor that he was.

Kayamkulam Kochunni (2018)

We all know the story of Kerala’s Robin Hood, Kayamkulam Kochunni. But did you know there was a movie based on him played by Nivin Pauly? The movie was a commercial success and it did give out major feels.

Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja (2009)

How can we not add Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja to this list of Malayalam biopics? In telling the story of Kerala’s iconic freedom fighter, played by Mammootty, the director struck a patriotic chord among viewers. The film single-mindedly focusses on what went behind Pazhassi Raja’s rule against the invasion of the British.

Celluloid (2013)

Prithviraj plays the role of J. C. Daniel, a well-known cinema enthusiast. It covers his life right from his struggles to make his first movie `Vigathakumaran` to P. K. Rosy’s abomination. Celluloid is the story that had to be told as it takes you to the past glory and tragedy of Malayalam cinema.

Aami (2018)

The biographical film of feminist author and poet Kamala Das received great responses when it hit the big screens. Aami takes us through the early part of Kamala’s life, how she becomes a devotee of Krishna and the struggles with her identity. While it’s a fictional take on a real-life person, it does take us through a journey of Kamala’s growth and her inner struggles.

Yugapurushan (2010)

Yet another biopic helmed by Mammootty, Yugapurushan is the story of Sree Narayan Guru, a revolutionary social worker. It chronicles his life and social movement to abolish the cast system in Kerala.

Clint (2017)

Remember the child prodigy Edmund Thomas Clint who made around 25,000 paintings? Clint is based on the child’s life, who survived only for 2522 days. The film stars Unni mukundan, Rima Kallingal, and Salim Kumar in the lead roles.

Oru Kuprasidha Payyan (2018)

The film is loosely based (or rather inspired) by Jayesh who was wrongly accused of murdering Sundariamma, a 69-year-old woman. In the eyes of Jayesh, this lady was like his mother. Oru Kuprasidha Payyan tells the same story, spoken through the acting talent of Tovino Thomas and Anu Sitara. It’s a heart-whelming story!

Vimaanam (2017)

Venkateswaran, a differently-abled man from Kerala, builds an aircraft using recycled material. What people deemed as impossible and crazy was proven right by this aeronautics enthusiast. Vimaanam tells the extraordinary tale of Venkateswaran played by Prithviraj, alongside Durga Krishna, Nedumudi Venu, Shanthikrishna and Sudheer Karamana. 

Have we missed any of your favourite Malayalam biopics? Let us know in the comments below!

Aishwarya Gopinath
A foodie at heart, an aspiring novelist, and an enthusiastic writer by nature, I love to dig deep into culture and lifestyle of the place and people around me. I hope to make people cry, laugh, smile, angry, and satisfied with my writing.


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