Mohanlal Family Interview Assignment

Malayalam cinema is the Indian film industry based in the southern state of Kerala, dedicated to the production of motion pictures in the Malayalam language. It is also known by the sobriquetMollywood in various print and online media (a portmanteau of Malayalam and Hollywood).[4] It is the fourth largest film industry in India. The films produced here are known for their cinematography and story-driven realistic plots. Works such as Marana Simhasanam and Vanaprastham were screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival.[5][6]Marana Simhasanam garnered the coveted Caméra d'Or ("Golden Camera") for that year.[7][8][9]

In 1982, Elippathayam won the Sutherland Trophy at the London Film Festival, and Most Original Imaginative Film of 1982 by the British Film Institute. Rajiv Anchal's Guru (1997) and Salim Ahamed's Adaminte Makan Abu (2011) were Malayalam films sent by India as its official entries for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Academy Awards. Adoor Gopalakrishnan has won the International Film Critics Prize (FIPRESCI) for his works such as Mukhamukham (1984), Anantaram (1987), Mathilukal (1989), Vidheyan (1993), Kathapurushan (1995), and Nizhalkkuthu (2002).[10]

Other films which achieved global acclaim include Chemmeen (1965), which received a Certificate of Merit at the Chicago International Film Festival, and a Gold Medal at the Cannes Film Festival for Best Cinematography.[11]Piravi (1989) won at least 31 international honours, including the Caméra d'Or – Mention Spéciale at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival, and was screened at the Un Certain Regard.[6][12]Swaham (1994) won the Bronze Rosa Camuna at the Bergamo Film Meeting in Italy.[6][7][8][9] The first 3D film produced in India, My Dear Kuttichathan (1984), was made in Malayalam.[13] The first CinemaScope film produced in Malayalam was Thacholi Ambu (1978).[14]

During the early 1920s the Malayalam film industry was based in Trivandrum, although the film industry started to develop and flourish only by the late 1940s. Later the industry shifted to Chennai (formerly Madras), which then was the capital of the South Indian film industry. By the late 1980s, the Malayalam film industry returned and established itself in Kerala[15] with the majority of locations, studios, production and post-production facilities being located in Kochi and Trivandrum. Several media sources[16][17][18] describe Kochi as the hub of the film industry, while some other media sources[19] state Trivandrum as the centre.

History of Malayalam cinema[edit]

Active Malayalam film production did not take place until the second half of the 20th century: there were only two silent films, and three Malayalam-language films before 1947.[20][21] With support from the Kerala state government production climbed from around 6 a year in the 1950s, to 30 a year in the 1960s, 40 a year in the 1970s, to 127 films in 1980.[20]

Origins 1928[edit]

The first cinema hall in Kerala, with a manually operated film projector, was opened in Thrissur by Jose Kattookkaran in 1907. In 1913, the first permanent theatre in Kerala was established in Thrissur town by Kattookkaran and was called the Jose Electrical Bioscope, now Jos Theatre.[22][23][24]

The first film made in Malayalam was Vigathakumaran. Production started in 1928, and it was released in Trivandrum Capitol Theatre on 23 October 1930. It was produced and directed by J. C. Daniel, a businessman with no prior film experience, who is credited as the father of Malayalam cinema.[25] Daniel founded the first film studio, The Travancore National Pictures Limited, in Kerala.[25] A second film, Marthanda Varma, based on a novel by C. V. Raman Pillai, was produced by R. Sundar Raj in 1933. However, after only being shown for four days, the film prints were confiscated due to a legal battle over copyright.[25]

The first talkie in Malayalam was Balan,[26] released in 1938. It was directed by S. Nottani with a screenplay and songs written by Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai. It was produced at Chennai (then Madras) in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. Balan was followed by Gnanambika in 1940, which was directed by S. Notani. Then came Prahlada in 1941, directed by K. Subramoniam of Madras and featuring Guru Gopinath and Thankamani Gopinath.

Until 1947 Malayalam films were made by Tamil producers. Artist P. J. Cherian[27] was the first Malayali producer to venture into this field and the trend then changed. He produced Nirmala in 1948 with Joseph Cherian and Baby Joseph his son and daughter-in-law in the lead roles as hero and heroine. He also cast many other family members in other roles, breaking the taboo that noble family people do not take up acting. Thus Nirmala became the first film produced by a Malayali, setting many firsts for introducing play-back singing, cinema with a social theme where the entire family could sit together and watch it. Artist P.J. Cherian was the first cinema producer to explore the possibility of music and songs in cinema, and thus became the pioneer to introduce play-back singing in cinema. The lyrics of the film penned by the legendary Malayalam poet G. Sankara Kurup became so popular that song-dance sequences became essential ingredients of Malayalam cinema.

Vellinakshatram (1949) was the first movie to be made in Kerala and it took shape at the Udaya Studios at Alleppey.


Malayalam cinema has always taken its themes from relevant social issues and has been interwoven with material from literature, drama, and politics since its inception. One such film, Jeevitha Nouka (1951), was a musical drama which spoke about the problems in a joint family.

In 1954, the film Neelakuyil captured national interest by winning the President's silver medal.[28] It was scripted by the well-known Malayalam novelist Uroob, and directed by P. Bhaskaran and Ramu Kariat.

Newspaper Boy (1955)[29] contained elements of Italian neorealism. This film is notable as the product of a group of amateur college filmmakers. It told the story of a printing press employee and his family being stricken with extreme poverty.[30]

The music took a turn away from the trend of copying Tamil and Hindi song. The poets Tirunainaarkurichy Madhavan Nair – Thirunaiyarkurichy, P. Bhaskaran, O.N.V. Kurup, and V.R. Varma rose up in this period as film lyricists. Brother Lakshmanan, Dakshinamurthy, K. Raghavan, G. Devarajan, M.S. Baburaj, and Pukhenthey Velappan Nair started a distinct style of Malayalam music. Kamukara Purushotaman, Mehboob, Kozhikode Abdul Kader, AM Raja, P.B. Sreenivas, K. P. Udayabhanu, Santha P. Nair, P. Leela, S. Janaki, P Susheela, B. Vasantha, Renuka, and Jikki were the most prominent singers of the 50s. The drama artist and school teacher Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai lent many of his skills to cinema in this period.


Ramu Kariat, one of the directors of Neelakkuyil (along with P. Bhaskaran), went on to become a successful director in the 1960s and 1970s. P. Bhaskaran directed many acclaimed and hit films in the 1960s and 70s. The cameraman of Neelakkuyil, A. Vincent, also became a noted director of the 1960s and 1970s. Notable films of this decade include Odayil Ninnu, Bhargavi Nilayam (1964), Chemmeen (1965), Murappennu (1965) and Iruttinte Athmavu (1966).

Malayalam cinema's first colour film was Kandam Bacha Coat (1961).

Chemmeen (1965), directed by Ramu Kariat and based on a novel of the same name by Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, went on to become immensely popular, and became the first South Indian film to win the National Film Award for Best Feature Film.

Most of the films of the 60s were animated by the nationalist and socialist projects, and centred on issues relating to caste and class exploitation, the fight against obscurantist beliefs, the degeneration of the feudal class, and the break-up of the joint-family system.[31]

In the 1960s M. Krishnan Nair, Kunchacko and P. Subramaniam were the leading Malayali producers. Thikkurusi Sukumaran Nair, Prem Nazir, Sathyan, Madhu, Adoor Bhasi, Bahadur, S.P. Pillai, K.P. Ummer, Kottarakara Sreedharan Nair, Raghavan, G.K. Pillai, Muthukulam, Joseprakash, Paravur Bharatan, Muthayya, Shankaradi, Govindankutty, K.R. Vijaya, Padmini, Ragini, Sharada, Sheela, Ambika, Jayabharathi, Arumula Ponnamma, Kavyior Ponamma, Lalitha, Pankajavalli, Adoor Bhavani, Prema, Meena and Sadahna were among the more popular actors active in this period.

During the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, Kunchacko made significant contributions to Malayalam cinema, both as a producer and as director of some notable movies. He started Udaya Studios in Alleppey (Alappuzha) in 1947, reducing the travel to Madras (Chennai) for film crew and actors. This boosted Malayalam film production in Kerala.[citation needed]

Many directors sprang up in this period. P.N. Menon made Rosy and later Chemparanthi. G. Aravindan and Adoor Gopalakrishnan also started work in 1960s and became famous later.


The 70s saw the emergence of a new wave of cinema in Malayalam. The growth of the film society movement in Kerala introduced the works of the French and Italian New Wave directors to the discerning Malayali film enthusiasts. Adoor Gopalakrishnan's first film, Swayamvaram (1972), brought Malayalam cinema to the international film arena. In 1973 M. T. Vasudevan Nair, who was by then recognised as an important author in Malayalam, directed his first film, Nirmalyam, which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film. G. Aravindan followed Adoor's lead with his Uttarayanam in 1974. K. P. Kumaran's Adhithi (1974) was another film which was acclaimed by the critics. Cinematographers who won the National Award for their work on Malayalam films in the 1970s were Mankada Ravi Varma for Swayamvaram (1972), P. S. Nivas for Mohiniyattam (1977), and Shaji N. Karun for Thampu (1979). John Abraham, K. R. Mohanan, K. G. George, and G. S. Panikkar were products of the Pune Film Institute who made significant contributions.[citation needed]

During the late 1970s, some young artists started seeing Malayalam cinema as a medium of expression and thought of it as a tool to revitalise society. A noted director, Aravindan, was famous in Kerala as a cartoonist before he started making films. His important movies include Kanchana Sita (1977), Thampu (1978), Kummatty (1979), Chidambaram (1985), Oridathu (1986), and Vasthuhara (1990).

The 1970s also saw the emergence of the notable director P. G. Viswambharan with his debut film Ozhukinethire and mythical film Sathyavan Savithri, which was well accepted.

Also, commercial cinema in this period saw several worker-class themed films which mostly had M. G. Soman and Sukumaran in the lead followed by the emergence of a new genre of pure action-themed films, in a movement led by action star Jayan who is usually considered the first genuine commercial superstar of Malayalam cinema. However, this was short-lived, and almost ended with Jayan's untimely death while performing a stunt in Kolilakkam (1980).

Further information: List of Malayalam films of the 1970s


The Malayalam cinema of this period was characterised by detailed screenplays dealing with everyday life with a lucid narration of plot intermingling with humour and melancholy. This was aided by the cinematography and lighting. The films had warm background music.

In 1981 Fazil directed Manjil Virinja Pookal. Adoor Gopalakrishnan made Elippathayam in 1981. This movie won the British Film Institute award.[citation needed]

K. G. George released films including Yavanika and Adaminte Vaariyellu. This was the period during which script writer M. T. Vasudevan Nair started teaming up with director Hariharan to produce works like Panchagni, Nakhakshathangal, Aranyakam and Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha.

John Abraham's films such as Amma Ariyaan addressed people's issues and raised the finance directly from people.

The decade also saw a significant number of movies with female characters becoming important or even central.

The period had movies with humour from directors like Priyadarshan, Sathyan Anthikkad, Kamal and Siddique-Lal. Piravi (1989) by Shaji N. Karun was the first Malayalam film to win the Caméra d'Or-Mention at the Cannes Film Festival.[6]

It was the period during which Mohanlal and Mammootty rose up. Mohanlal went on to win 5 National Award including 2 Best Actor, 2 special jury award and an award for Best Film(producer). Mammootty won 3 National Award for Best Actor. Mohanlal has the record of having 13 nominations for The Best Actor.

Further information: List of Malayalam films of the 1980s


Some examples are Mathilukal (1990) directed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Kattu Kuthira (1990) directed by P. G. Viswambharan, Amaram (1991) directed by Bharathan, Ulladakkam (1992) directed by Kamal, Kilukkam (1991) directed by Priyadarshan, Kamaladalam (1992) by Sibi Malayil, Vidheyan (1993) by Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Devaasuram (1993) by I. V. Sasi, Manichithrathazhu (1993) by Fazil, Ponthan Mada (1993) by T. V. Chandran, Spadikam (1995) by Bhadran, Commissioner(1994) The King (1995) by Shaji Kailas, Hitler (1996) by Siddique and Desadanam (1997) by Jayaraaj.

Swaham (1994), directed by Shaji N. Karun, was the first Malayalam film entry for the competition in the Cannes International Film Festival, where it was a nominee for the Palme d'Or. Murali Nair's Marana Simhasanam later won the Caméra d'Or at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival.[5]Guru (1997), directed by Rajiv Anchal, was chosen as India's official entry to the Oscars to be considered for nomination in the Best Foreign Film category for that year, making it the first film in Malayalam to be chosen for Oscar nomination.[citation needed]

Further information: List of Malayalam films of the 1990s


The millennium started with a blockbuster hit "(Narasimham)". In 2001 came the world's first film with only one actor in the cast, The Guard. Slapstick comedy was the predominant theme of the films of this era. C.I.D. Moosa (2003) by Johny Antony, Meesa Madhavan (2002) by Lal Jose and Kunjikoonan (2002) directed by Sasi Shanker are examples. Sequels to a number of successful films were made. Some movies were examples of exemplary film making, such as Meghamalhar, Madhuranombarakaattu, Nandanam, Perumazhakkalam, and Kazhcha. In 2008, Malayalam movie artists came together in the multistar film Twenty:20 to raise funds for the AMMA.[32]

Further information: List of Malayalam films of the 2000s


After several years of quality deterioration, Malayalam films saw the signs of massive resurgence after 2010[33] with the release of several experimental films (known as New Wave or New Generation films),[34] mostly from new directors. New Wave is characterised by fresh and unusual themes and new narrative techniques.[33][35] These films differ from conventional themes of the past two decades (1990s and 2000s) and have introduced several new trends to the Malayalam industry.[36] While the new generation's formats and styles are deeply influenced by global and Indian trends, their themes are firmly rooted in Malayali life and mindscapes.[37] The new generation also helped the Malayalam film industry regain its past glory.[38]

Salim Ahamed's Adaminte Makan Abu was chosen as India's official entry to the Academy Awards to be considered for nomination in the Best Foreign Film category in 2011.

Christian Brothers (2011) was released worldwide with a total of 310 prints on 18 March; it went to 154 centres in Kerala, 90 centres outside Kerala and 80 centres overseas, making it the widest release for a Malayalam film at that time. This record was later broken by Peruchazhi (2014), which released in 500 screens worldwide on 29 August.[39]Drishyam (2013) became the first Malayalam film to cross the 500 million mark at the box office. The film was critically acclaimed and was remade in four languages.[40] Later, in 2016, Pulimurugan became the first Malayalam film to cross the 1 billion mark at the box office.

Pioneering film-making techniques[edit]

Newspaper Boy (1955), a neorealistic film, drew inspiration from Italian neorealism.[14][41]Padayottam (1982) was India's first indigenously produced 70 mm film,[42] while My Dear Kuttichathan (1984) was India's first 3D film.[13]O' Faby (1993) was India's first live-action/animation hybrid film.[43]

Amma Ariyan (1986) was the first film made in India with money collected from the public. It was produced by Odessa Collective, founded by the director John Abraham and friends. The money was raised by collecting donations and screening Charlie Chaplin's film The Kid.[44]

Moonnamathoral (2006) was the first Indian film to be shot and distributed in digital format.[45]

Jalachhayam (2010) was the world first feature film shot entirely on a cell phone camera[46] and it was also an experimental film directed by Sathish Kalathil who is the director of Veena Vaadanam, the first documentary film in India shot with the same movie capture medium.

Villain (2017) is the first Indian film to be shot entirely in 8K resolution.[47]

Notable personalities[edit]


Malayalam cinema's directors have included J. C. Daniel, the director and producer of the first Malayalam film, Vigathakumaran (1928). Unlike other Indian films at that time, most of which were based on the puranas, he chose to base his film on a social theme.[48] Though it failed commercially, he paved the way for the Malayalam film industry and is widely considered the "father of Malayalam cinema". Until the 1950s, Malayalam film didn't see many talented film directors. The milestone film Neelakkuyil (1954), directed by Ramu Karyat and P. Bhaskaran, shed a lot of limelight over its directors.[41]Ramu Karyat went on to become a celebrated director in the 1960s and 1970s. P. Bhaskaran directed a few acclaimed films in the 1960s. The cameraman of Neelakkuyil, A. Vincent, also became a noted director of the 1960s and 1970s.[49] Another noted director of the 1950s was P. Ramadas, the director of the neorealistic film Newspaper Boy (1955).

In the 1970s, the Malayalam film industry saw the rise of film societies. It triggered a new genre of films known as "parallel cinema". The main driving forces of the movement, who gave priority to serious cinema, were Adoor Gopalakrishnan and G. Aravindan. People like John Abraham and P. A. Backer gave a new dimension to Malayalam cinema through their political themes. The late 1970s witnessed the emergence of another stream of Malayalam films, known as "middle-stream cinema", which seamlessly integrated the seriousness of the parallel cinema and the popularity of the mainstream cinema. Most of the films belonging to this stream were directed by PN Menon, I. V. Sasi, P. G. Viswambharan, K. G. George, Bharathan and Padmarajan.[50]

In the 1980s and early 1990s, a new array of directors joined the stalwarts who had already made a mark in the industry. This period saw the narrowing of the gap between the different streams of the industry.[41] Directors like K. G. George, Priyadarshan, I. V. Sasi, John Abraham, Fazil, Joshy, Bhadran, P. G. Viswambharan, Kamal, Sibi Malayil, Hariharan, Sathyan Anthikkad, K. Madhu and Siddique-Lal contributed significantly . There were also extraordinary screenwriters like M. T. Vasudevan Nair, T. Damodaran, A. K. Lohithadas and Sreenivasan, whose contributions were also commendable.[citation needed]

The 2000s saw a decline in the quality of Malayalam films. Many directors who had excelled in the Golden Age struggled as many of their films continuously failed critically and commercially. As a result, the gap between parallel cinema (now known as art cinema) and mainstream cinema (now known as commercial cinema) widened. The 2000s also saw a commercial film formula being created in line with Tamil and Bollywood films. Directors like Shaji Kailas, Rafi Mecartin and Anwar Rasheed directed blockbusters which had few artistic merits to boast of. Despite the overall decline, some directors stood apart and made quality cinema. Shaji N. Karun, Lenin Rajendran, Shyama Prasad and Jayaraj made films that won laurels. Notable directors who debuted in this time include Blessy, Lal Jose, R. Sharath, Ranjith, Roshan Andrews, Amal Neerad, Aashiq Abu, Vineeth Sreenivasan and Lijo Jose Pellissery.[citation needed]

Out of the 40 National Film Awards for Best Director given away till 2007, Malayalam directors have received 12. The directors who have won include Adoor Gopalakrishnan (1973, 1985, 1988, 1990, 2007), G. Aravindan (1978, 1979, 1987), Shaji N. Karun (1989), T. V. Chandran (1994), Jayaraj (1998) and Rajivnath (1999). There are several recipients of the Special Jury Award as well: Mankada Ravi Varma (1984), John Abraham (1987), Shaji N. Karun (1995) and Pradeep Nair (2005).[51][52]

Film music[edit]

Film music, which refers to playback singing in the context of Indian music, forms the most important canon of popular music in India. The film music of Kerala in particular is the most popular form of music in the state.[53] Before Malayalam cinema and Malayalam film music developed, the Keralites eagerly followed Tamil and Hindi film songs, and that habit has stayed with them until now. The history of Malayalam film songs begins with the 1948 film Nirmala which was produced by artist P.J. Cherian who introduced play-back singing for the first time in the film. The film's music composer was P. S. Divakar, and the songs were sung by P. Leela, T. K. Govinda Rao, Vasudeva Kurup, C. K. Raghavan, Sarojini Menon and Vimala B. Varma, who is credited as the first playback singer of Malayalam cinema.[54]

The main trend in the early years was to use the tune of hit Hindi or Tamil songs in Malayalam songs. This trend changed in the early 1950s with the arrival of a number of poets and musicians to the Malayalam music scene. By the middle of 1950s, the Malayalam film music industry started finding its own identity. This reformation was led by the music directors Brother Laxmanan, G. Devarajan, V. Dakshinamurthy, M.S. Babu Raj and K. Raghavan along with the lyricists Vayalar Rama Varma, P. Bhaskaran, O. N. V. Kurup and Sreekumaran Thampi.[55] Major playback singers of that time were Kamukara Purushothaman, K. P. Udayabhanu, A. M. Raja, P. Leela, Santha P. Nair, P. Susheela, P. Madhuri and S. Janaki. Despite that, these singers got high popularity throughout Kerala and were part of the Golden age of Malayalam music (1960 to 1970). In the later years many non-Malayalis like Manna Dey, Talat Mahmood, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Hemalata and S. P. Balasubrahmanyam sang for Malayalam films. This trend was also found among composers to an extent, with film composers from other languages including Naushad Ali, Usha Khanna, M. B. Sreenivasan, Bombay Ravi, Shyam, Bappi Lahiri, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Salil Chowdhury, Ilaiyaraaja, Vishal Bhardwaj and A. R. Rahman scoring music for Malayalam films.[55] This can be attributed to the fact that film music in South India had a parallel growth pattern with many instances of cross-industry contributions.[citation needed]. The late 1950s through mid-1970s can be considered as the golden period of Malayalam film music in its own identity. Along with the leading music directors, the likes of M. B. Sreenivasan, M. K. Arjunan, Pukezhenty Vellappan Nair, M. S. Viswanathan, A. T. Ummer, R. K. Shekhar, Salil Choudhury and lyricists like Thirunainar Kurichi Madhavan Nair, Mankombu Gopalakrishnan and Bharanikkavu Sivakumar, numerous everlasting and super hit songs were delivered to the music lovers. The soft melodious music and high quality lyrics were the highlights of these songs.

K. J. Yesudas, who debuted in 1961, virtually revolutionised the Malayalam film music industry and became the most popular Malayalam singer ever along with K.S. Chitra. The trio of Vayalar, G. Devarajan and Yesudas also made unforgettable songs like the earlier trio of Kamukara, Tirunainaarkurichy and Brother Laxmanan. Yesudas became equally popular with classical music audience and people who patronised film music.[56] He along with P. Jayachandran gave a major face-lift to Malayalam playback singing in the 1960s and 1970s. K. S. Chithra debuted in 1979, and by the mid-eighties, she became the most sought after female singer in South India.

By the late 1970s, the trends in music started changing and more rhythm oriented songs with a western touch came with the dominance of music directors like Shyam, K. J. Joy, and Jerry Amaldev. The lyricists were forced to write lyrics according to the tune in these days and were often criticised for quality issues. However, from 1979 to 1980, the revolutionary music director Raveendran along with Johnson and M. G. Radhakrishnan led the second reformation of Malayalam film music by creating melodious and classical oriented music with the soul of the culture of Kerala. Lyricists like Poovachal Khader, Kavalam Narayana Panicker and Bichu Thirumala in 1980s and Kaithapram Damodaran Namboothiri, Gireesh Puthenchery in 1990s were part of this musical success. Contributions from Kannur Rajan, Bombay Ravi, S. P. Venkatesh, Mohan Sithara, Ouseppachan, Sharath, Vidyadharan, Raghukumar and Vidyasagar were also notable in this period. K. J. Yesudas and K. S. Chitra and singers like M. G. Sreekumar, G. VenugopalUnnimenon and Sujatha Mohan were also active then. A notable aspect in the later years was the extensive of classical carnatic music in many film songs of the 1980s and 1990s. Classical carnatic music was heavily used in films like Chithram (1988), His Highness Abdullah (1990), Bharatham (1991), Sargam (1992) and Sopanam (1993).[citation needed]

At present, the major players in the scene are young composers like Rahul Raj, Prashant Pillai, Shaan Rahman, Bijibal, Gopi Sundar, Alphonse,Rajesh Murugesan, lyricists Rafeeq Ahmed, Vayalar Sarath and Anil Panachooran, and singers Vineeth Sreenivasan, Vijay Yesudas, Shweta Mohan, Manjari and Jyotsna Radhakrishnan, along with stalwarts in the field.

Young composers like Rahul Raj and Prashant Pillai are not only known for their catchy tunes, but also for bringing in a lot of electronics, digital sound and a variety of genres in Malayalam film scores and songs.[57]

The National Award-winning music composers of Malayalam cinema are Johnson (1994, 1995), Bombay Ravi (1995), Ouseppachan (2008), Ilaiyaraaja (2010), Issac Thomas Kottukapally (2011),[Bijibal] (2012) and M. Jayachandran (2016). Until 2009, the 1995 National Award that Johnson received for the film score of Sukrutham (1994) was the only instance in the history of the award in which the awardee composed the film soundtrack rather than its songs. He shared that award with Bombay Ravi, who received the award for composing songs for the same film. In 2010 and 2011, the awards given to film scores were won by Malayalam films: Pazhassi Raja (2010; score: Ilaiyaraaja) and Adaminte Makan Abu (2011; score: Issak Thomas Kottakapally). Ravindran also received a Special Jury Award in 1992 for composing songs for the film Bharatham. The lyricists who have won the National Award are Vayalar Ramavarma (1973), O. N. V. Kurup (1989) and Yusuf Ali Kechery (2001). The male singers who have received the National Award are K. J. Yesudas (1973, 1974, 1988, 1992, 1994), P. Jayachandran (1986) and M. G. Sreekumar (1991, 2000). Yesudas has won two more National Awards for singing in Hindi (1977) and Telugu (1983) films, which makes him the person who has won the most National Film Awards for Best Male Playback Singer, with seven. The female singers who have won the award are S. Janaki (1981) and K. S. Chithra (1987, 1989). Chitra had also won the award for Tamil (1986, 1997, 2005) and Hindi (1998) film songs, which makes her the person with the most National Film Awards for Best Female Playback Singer, with six.[citation needed]

Landmark films[edit]

Kerala State Film Awards[edit]

Main article: Kerala State Film Awards

The Kerala State Film Awards[84] are given to motion pictures made in the Malayalam language. The awards have been bestowed by Kerala State Chalachitra Academy[85] since 1998 on behalf of the Department of Cultural Affairs of the Government of Kerala. The awards were started in 1969. The awardees are decided by an independent jury formed by the academy and the Department of Cultural Affairs. The jury usually consists of personalities from the film field. For the awards for literature on cinema a separate jury is formed. The academy annually invites films for the award and the jury analyses the films before deciding the winners. The awards intend to promote films with artistic values and encourage artists and technicians.

International Film Festival of Kerala[edit]

Main article: International Film Festival of Kerala

The International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) is held annually in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala. It was started in 1996 and is organised by Kerala State Chalachitra Academy on behalf of the Department of Cultural Affairs of the State Government. It is held in November/December every year and is acknowledged as one of the leading film festivals in India.[86]

Film studios[edit]

The Travancore National Pictures[87] was the first film studio in Kerala. It was established by J. C. Daniel in 1926 in Thiruvananthapuram,[88] which was then a part of Travancore. Producer-director Kunchacko and film distributor K. V. Koshy established Udaya Studios in Alappuzha in 1947.[89] The studio influenced the gradual shift of Malayalam film industry from its original base of Madras, Tamil Nadu to Kerala. In 1951, P. Subramaniam[90] established Merryland Studio in Nemom, Thiruvananthapuram. The other major studios are Sreekrishna (1952, Kulathoor), Ajantha[91] (1958, Keezhmadu – now extinct), Chithralekha[92] (1965, Aakkulam), Uma Studio[93]

Pathemari (English: Dhow) is a 2015 IndianMalayalam-language period drama film written and directed by Salim Ahamed and starring Mammootty in the lead role, with a supporting cast that includes Jewel Mary, Siddique, Sreenivasan, Salim Kumar, Shaheen Siddique, Viji Chandrasekhar, and Joy Mathew. The plot follows the life of Pallikkal Narayanan (Mammootty) who migrated to the Middle-East in the early 1960s, when the Kerala Gulf boom was just beginning.[1][2][3]

Resul Pookutty handles the sound recording, while music is composed by Bijibal and cinematography is done by Madhu Ambat. The principal photography began in October 2014.[4] The film was shot in Kerala and Middle East.[3] Distributed by Eros International, Pathemari released on 9 October 2015 received critical praise.[5][6][7]Pathemari was selected for the Indiwood Panorama Competition section at the 2nd edition of Indiwood Carnival 2016 in Hyderabad.[8]


The film begins with a young Narayanan (Mammootty) and Moideen (Sreenivasan) along with a group of men travelling by Dhow for Dubai to lead a better life. Launchi Velayudhan (Siddique) is responsible for shifting of the young men to the Gulf illegally through the sea route. In Dubai both Narayanan and Moideen work as construction labourers. They reside along with other labourers. They sacrifice their happiness and work very hard to earn money.

Narayanan visits his home regularly and gifts his family and friends with imported items. During one of his visits Narayanan informs his wife that he would not return to Dubai and would settle in Kerala & earn money by starting a business. However Narayanan realises that his family values money more than him and his wife is also conscious of losing her social image of being a "dubai man's wife". Finally Narayanan returns to Dubai.

In the meanwhile, Chandraettan 's daughter is not getting married since she has no money or property in her name. Chandraettan offers Narayanan a land of 8 cents and in turn asks him to transfer his share of the property house to Chandraettan's daughter. Chandraettan is of the opinion that since Narayanan is rich he can build a plush house for himself. Narayan happily obliges for the same. After few months Chandraettan again informs Narayanan that his son in law would like to rent the house to earn extra income. Narayanan is upset since in the same house his wife and children reside. Narayan informs that he would pay monthly rent to Chandraettan's son in law.

Years pass by and Narayanan's children are now young adults. Even his children are only interested in Narayanan's money and not concerned about him.

Finally one day Narayanan passes away and his dead body is flown to Kerala. After the last rituals are performed the family see a TV interview of Narayanan. Narayanan informs that he is the most successful person since because of him, his family is happy and not hungry. He never informed his family of the various hardships faced by him and he never felt tired working hard since he was earning for his family. He is satisfied when the people smile and if he is responsible for their happiness.Narayan's last wish is to be again be reborn as Narayanan again and have the same family and friends & make them happy.




In November 2013, Salim Ahamed announced that he will be directing a film that deals with the Gulf and various aspects of it.[9] And it will star Mammootty in the lead, in his second collaboration with Ahmed after Kunjananthante Kada (2013). Madhu Ambat was reported to handle the cinematography with the sound recording done by Resul Pookutty.[10] It was in 2013 that Ahamed narrated the story before Mammootty. He expressed the interest, and the total screenplay was finished in a homework of span one year.[11]

In September 2014, Jewel Mary a television anchor was cast as heroine, in her feature film debut as Nalini, while Mammootty's character was revealed to be named Pallickal Narayanan. Sreenivasan was also confirmed to play the role of Moidheen, while Siddique, Salim Kumar, Joy Mathew and Yavanika Gopalakrishnan were signed for other prominent roles.[12] Actress Viji Chandrasekhar was confirmed to play protagonist's mother.[13] Shaheen Siddique was selected to play Mammootty's son.[14] Salim Ahamed had earlier denied the rumours that Suresh Gopi and Manju Warrier would be part of the cast.[15]

Filming and post-production[edit]

Principal photography of the film commenced in October 2014[4] and was completed by April 2015, in three schedules in and around Khorfakhan, Fujaira, Dubai, Chettuva, Nattika, Thriprayar and Bepur.[3][16] In March third week, Mammootty joined with the crew for a five-day schedule of filming in UAE, which was mainly held in Bur Dubai, Jumeirah and Rola Square in Sharjah.[17] Jothish Shankar designed the art for the film, collaborating with the director third time. The ninenty percent of the scenes in Pathemari are sets, according to Jyothish. The set for Mumbai Airport of 1980 was erected at the parking area of Greater Cochin Development Authority Building in Marine Drive, Kochi. Every scenes taking place abroad except the outdoors were shot in Eranakulam. The Khader Hotel where the expatriates were used to lend food was also erected at a studio in Kochi. The house was erected at Thriprayar. The scenes in the sloop were shot adopting a water-craft from Beypore.[18] It was during the shoot of Kunjananthante Kada that Resul Pookutty, the Academy Award winning sound designer, was roped in the project by Salim Ahamed. For the film, sounds of air conditioners, traffic and its changing over the time in the Gulf were used by Resul in order to portray the development and transformation of the surroundings there. He says that he did the sound design in such a way same as that of the images are arranged in the film, that "the past is represented colourfully and the present is monochromatic." It was real sounds that used for the scene in which the protagonist’s first voyage aboard a sloop is featured. Resul used the 'gurgling sound of water' on the background for the scene, which, he says, the director had said "was spot on as it conveyed the loneliness and entrapment of the voyagers beautifully." It was only three changes that the director needed to suggest to Resul in the final track of the sounds designed for the film.[19]


The production team released a making video of the film which features the creation of the 'storm' that appeared in a prominent scene in the film, where a group of youngsters are migrating illegally to Middle East by crossing the sea on a sloop and are facing severe difficulties. The video, also featuring the VFX used for the scene, was uploaded by Mammootty on his official Facebook page on 27 October, which IB Times said "has gone viral, with more than 51,000 social media users watching it at the time of reporting."[20][21] In an event organised by World Malayali Council, some emigrants who have gone to Gulf during the 1960s period aboard the dhows were honoured by the makers of the film.[22]


Bijibal composed the score and tracks for the film with lyrics written by Rafeeq Ahamed. The songs were sung by Hariharan, Shahabaz Aman and Jyotsna Radhakrishnan. The music was released by Eros Music on 14 September 2015.[23][24] On 18 September, the first video song "Padiyirangunnu" was released.[25]The Hindu included the song "Padiyirangunnu" in their weekend top-five and commented: "Bijibal makes the phenomenally appropriate decision to rope in Hariharan to sing this incredibly soulful melody. It seems — given it evokes strong memories of Karnan’s ‘Ullathil Nalla Ullam’ — to be set to Chakravakam raga. The result is sheer magic, since the mellow tune goes really well with Hariharan’s deep, sonorous voice."[26]

For the audio launch, 15 Gulf expatriates from Kerala during the Gulf boom were specially invited.[27]


After several postponments, on 9 October 2015, the film was released in 64 centers in Kerala.[28][29] The distribution rights were acquired by Eros International, marking their second venture in Malayalam after Life of Josutty.[5] The film's premiere in Qatar was held at an event organised by Qubis Events in Doha, during which Malayali emigrants who have been in Qatar for decades were honoured.[30] As part of the 100 days celebration, "Pathemari" was re-released in more than 10 theatres in Kerala on 8 January.[31]

Plagiarism allegations[edit]

A UAE based NRI Moidutty filed a complaint in the Additional Sessions Court, Eranakulam against the release of the film, stating that the director Salim Ahmed plagiarised his story titled 'Swapnageham'.[32][33] In July 2015, the release of the film was stayed by the Ernakulam Additional Sessions Court.[32]Salim Ahamed reacted to the allegation saying "It is said to be that about three people have come up with similar claims, one from Irikkur, Kannur and another one who has conducted a press conference about it in Muscat." The director also pointed out that his debut film Adaminte Makan Abu had also faced similar allegations, but it died down when the movie was released. "Pathemari will be felt for each NRI malayalis as their own story, but it is not about a single individual. We will try to solve the plagiarism issue legally," said Salim.[32] Later in an interview Salim Ahamed furthermore clarified the issue said: "Upon reading the story for clarification, I could see that the accuser's own work is a plagiarized tale based on the story titled Swapnangalil Ninnu Swapnangalilekku Oru Kabir, written by T V Kochubava, decades ago. As we pointed it out, the court happened to check it and the observation was included in the final verdict, which was in our favour. We are continuing with the case as false allegations were made." [34]


The distribution rights of Pathemari were brought by Surya TV.[35]


The film received positive reviews.[6] It was reported that the film was among the five films shortlisted for India's submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, by the jury headed by Amol Palekar. Citing film director and jury member K. Madhu, Malayala Manorama reported that the film missed the submission to the Marathi filmCourt in the final round.[36] However, Salim Ahamed talked about the news in an interview with The Times of India that, "I am a filmmaker who makes movies for the Malayali audience and tell stories of their lives, and those outside its realm aren't my focus group. Being considered for Oscars is good enough." [34]

On 12 October, it was reported that the film has been selected to be screened under the category of 'Malayalam Cinema Today' at the 20th edition of International Film Festival of Kerala, which is held at Thiruvananthapuram in December 2015.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

Sujatha S of Mathrubhumi called the film "An ode to Gulf Malayali" and appreciated the cinematography, editing and sound mixing by Resul Pookutty, she said "The dialogues on many occasions in the first half sound dramatic, though there were gems of dialogues too".[37] Rating 4 out of 5, Anu James of International Business Times called the performance of Mammootty as one of his career-best and wrote: "As it is a familiar story for many of us, there is no suspense element in it, but we still sit firmly on our seats just to see what happens next."[38] S.R. Praveen of The Hindu wrote "A familiar story, a familiar setting and even actors in predictable roles – on paper, there is nothing really going for Pathemari . But still much can be achieved with a script that shines light on previously unseen details."[39] Rejath RG of Kerala Kaumudi also said, "Salim Ahmed excels as the writer and director in Pathemari and considering the fact that it was such a memorable experience."[40]Behindwoods rated 3/5 and stated, "As far as the narration goes, the film takes you through familiar territory, like what we have seen in films like Arabikkatha, but let's just say that Pathemari is highly laced with empathy. At the end of the film, you can't help feel empathetic about the suffering and chronic homesickness that every Gulf Malayali or any expatriate would be going through for that matter." [41] Paresh C Palicha writing for gave 5/5 and wrote, "The director tries to infuse new life to the dated theme by employing flashbacks and flash forwards, bringing in a larger social perspective rather than restricting it to one person."[42] Rating 3/5, Indiaglitz described the technical aspects as "pretty okay" saying "A more realistic dialogues and novelty factor would have lifted the movie to a new level" and concluded, "The way the movie ends is also quite nice and this adds to the overall good."[43] Praising performances, cinematography and music, G. Ragesh of Malayala Manorama rated the film 3.25/5 and said, "Through episodes that the viewers can easily associate with, Salim tells the tale of the Malayali migrant life in a less dramatic but compelling narrative. The film doesn't have the flavours for a commercial flick. Nor does it compromise anywhere to satiate the tastes of the so-called critics. In short, it's a film made for all."[44]

Box office[edit]

The film collected ₹50 lakh (US$77,000) on its opening day.[45] In 15 days, the film collected approximately ₹7.10 crore (US$1.1 million),[20] and in 28 days it collected ₹8.6 crore (US$1.3 million) from India.[46]The film completed 125 days in theatres across Kerala,[47][48][49][50] it crossed four weeks in 60 screens in the United Arab Emirates,[51] and completed five weekends in the United States of America by grossing ₹18.04 lakhs in its final run.[52] As of October 2015, the film was the second highest-grossing Malayalam film of 2015, after Ennu Ninte Moidheen.[53]


National Film Awards[54]

Asiavision Awards[55]

  • Best Movie on Social Welfare
  • Best Critically Acclaimed Movie
  • Best New Face – Jewel Mary
  • Best Music Director – Bijibal

Ramu Kariat Film Awards[56]

  • Best Film
  • Best Direction – Salim Ahamed
  • Best Screenplay – Salim Ahamed
  • Best Actor – Mammootty
  • Best Sound Design – Resul Pookutty
  • Best Cinematography – Madhu Ambat
  • Best Supporting Actor – Siddique
  • Best New Face (male) -Shaheen Siddique
  • Best New Face (female) – Jewel Mary
  • Best Film Editor – Vijay Shankar
  • Best Art Director – Jyothish Shankar
  • Best Costume Design – Sameera Saneesh
  • Best Makeup – Pattanam Rasheed

Flowers Indian Film Awards[57]


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  3. ^ abcSadiq Kavil (3 April 2015). "Mammootty, Salim Ahmed to tell the tale of Malayali diaspora". Malayala Manorama. 
  4. ^ abNR (20 October 2015). "Pathemaari started rolling". Now Running. 
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