This year, a number of major releases awaits the Malayalam film audience. Among the films lining up to hit the screens in the first two months are Nine-9, directed by Jenuse Mohammad and produced by Prithviraj Sukumaran, Haneef Adeni’s Mikhael where Nivin Pauly plays the lead role, and Arun Gopi’s Irupathiyonnam Noottandu which features Pranav Mohanlal. Director Jis Joy’s Vijay Superum Pournamiyum, a remake of the Telugu superhit Pellichoopulu, will hit the screens in the second week of January. The film, a romantic-comedy, has Aishwarya Lekshmi and Asif Ali playing the lead roles.
June, a romantic drama starring Rejisha Vijayan in the lead role and directed by debutante Ahamed Kabeer, will release in the second week of February. Prana, a one-actor horror-drama starring Nitya Menon and directed by VK Prakash, will release in January in four languages – Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil and Kannada. The film has veteran cinematographer PC Sreeram and Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookkutty in its crew.
Nine-9 marks actor Prithviraj’s debut as an independent director and Sony pictures International’s foray into Malayalam film industry as a distributor. The film, a sci-fi thriller shot extensively in Himalayan region, features Prithviraj, Mamta Mohandas and Prakash Raj in lead roles. Prithviraj’s directorial debut, Lucifer, will also release in theaters this year. The shooting of the film has been wrapped up, and a brief teaser was released recently on internet. The film has Mohanlal playing the titular protagonist, a grey-shaded don. Manju Warrior plays a pivotal role in this film, and yesteryear filmmaker Fazil will make his acting debut.
Tovino Thomas plays the lead role in And The Oscar Goes To, directed by Salim Ahamed who has to his credit award-winning films such as Adaminte Makan Abu, Kunjanathante Kada and Pathemari. The first poster of the film was released on January 1. The first poster of Kumbalangi Nights, which evokes Beatles’ Abbey Road, also landed on internet on the same day. The film, jointly produced by actor-director Dileesh Pothan, actor Nazriya Nazim and screenwriter Syam Pushkaran, and directed by Madhu Narayanan will hit the screens on February 7. The ensemble cast includes Soubin Shahir, Sreenath Bhasi, Shane Nigam and Fahadh Faasil – who will be portraying a negative role after a long time – and has Sushin Shyam composing the scores.
Midhun Manuel Joseph’s Argentina Fans Kattoorkadavu, is a comedy drama starring Kalidas Jayaram and Aishwarya Lekshmi in the lead roles. The plot, according to the director, unfolds over three football tournaments from 2010 to 2018. The film is based on a short story by writer Ashokan Charuvil.
The shooting of Jallikkattu, directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery, and filmmaker-cinematographer Santhosh Sivan’s Jack and Jill, starring Manju Warrier, Kalidas Jayaram and Esther Anil, are underway. The latter marks Sivan’s return to Malayalam cinema after seven years, since Urumi.
Also in the pipeline is Kunjali Marakkar, a big-budget period-drama directed by Priyadarshan and starring Mohanlal. The film narrates the story of Kunjali Marakkar IV, the valiant naval chief of Malabar’s Zamorin (ruler). Marakkar rebelled against the oppressive king who had joined hands with the Portuguese and fought the former. Eventually, Marakkar was captured and executed by the Portuguese.
It is known that cinematographer-filmmaker Rajeev Ravi will soon embark on a new project titled Thuramukham, with Nivin Pauly playing the lead role. Incidentally, Pauly is the protagonist in Moothon, the sophomore feature film of actor-filmmaker Geetu Mohandas, Ravi’s spouse.
She had won the Global Filmmaking Award at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival for the script of Moothon. The film has an ensemble cast that includes Anurag Kashyap, Dileesh Pothan and Shashank Arora. The film, which has been in the making for a long time now, might hit the screens this year.