There were revenue-spinners, neat entertainers and little gems. But, in a sense, 2016 belonged to Mohanlal, the superstar who hit the high-octave with back-to-back blockbusters. Though ‘Oppam’ and ‘Pulimurugan’ posed no huge challenge to the actor he is, they aroused quite an uproar holding the BO on an incredible high.
The best thing about 2016 was the way two exceptional films were received. ‘Maheshinte Prathikaram’ and ‘Kammattipadam’ were shot with such inescapable freshness that it’s almost impossible to find any superfluous sequence. Another surprise was to watch Rajeev Ravi slowly pushing a star to the sidelines, making space for two brilliant performers - Manikandan and Vinayakan who stole all the thunder from Dulquer Salman. Lijomol and Rajisha Vijayan, who starred in ‘Kattapanayile Hrithik Roshan’ and ‘Anuraga Karikkin Vellam,’ are other finds of the year who brought talent back on screen.
The feel-good formula seems still working as films like ‘Jacobinte Swargarajyam’ and ‘Oru Muthassi Gada’ and ‘Kochavva Paulo Aiyyappa Coelho’ could woo the audience. There were also films that banked on subtle and unadulterated humour like ‘Anuraga Karikkin Vellam’ and ‘Ann Maria Kalippilanu.’ ‘Kismath’ and ‘Guppy’ were noted for their unique subject and treatment while Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s ‘Pinneyum’ failed to make the expected impact.
‘Action Hero Biju,’ Nivin Pauly’s over-hyped outing, was supposed to go on a record-breaking spree. But, despite being a decent attempt, the glaring mismatch in style failed to garner expected mass appeal. 2016 also saw ‘Ozhivu Divasathe Kali,’ Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s award-winning film, opening to full houses.
The year sprang another surprise when a volley of starless outings like ‘Kattappanayile Hrithik Roshan,’ ‘Happy Wedding,’ ‘Ananadam’ and ‘Oru Muthassi Gada’ struck gold. While it was not a radiant year for Mammootty, Prithviraj and Dileep also kept a low profile compared to 2015.
Dearth of divas in Mollywood
Though year 2016 saw an increase in number of hits, compared to previous year, the presence of heroines was not felt in most of the films. However, some of the heroines who have appeared in the hit movies can be handpicked as the notable candidates for the Mollywood queens’ list. Prayaga Martin who debuted through ‘Oru Murai Vanthu Parthaya’ also appeared in Pa.Va, Ore Mukham and Kattappanayile Rithik Roshan (KRR). KRR became a hit, paving way for Prayaga to get a handful of movies in 2017.
Rajisha Vijayan, who debuted through ‘Anuraga Karikkin Vellam’ was noted for her strong performance. She will be seen as Dileep’s heroine in 2017 in Georgettan’s Pooram. Aparna Balamurali who debuted through ‘Maheshinte Prathikaram’ made her presence felt through ‘Oru Muthassi Gadha.’ Anu Sithara who has excelled in hit movie ‘Happy Weddings’ had also some major projects in her kitty to greet the New Year.
Star of the year - Mohanlal
Proving his box-office might once again, Mohanlal delivered two back to back blockbusters in the second half of 2016. When his Onam release ‘Oppam’ turned out to be a mega hit, the movie ‘Pulimurugan’ which was released in October broke all the existing collection records in Malayalam cinema history. Undoubtedly he is the star of the year.
2017: A suspense pack
An array of blockbuster films are already on the release calendar for 2017. Starting right from some movies in the kitty of our superstars, the movie lovers are also eagerly waiting to see the debut of star kid Pranav Mohanlal in 2017 through the movie directed by Jeethu Joseph. Mohanlal had already started the work on two big movies which will hit screens next year- 1971- Beyond Borders and the untitled with director B Unnikrishnan. Mammootty fans are pinning their hopes on ‘The Great Father’ while Nivin Pauly’s ‘Sakhavu’ and ‘Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela’ are also lined up for 2017 release. Kalidas Jayaram’s ‘Poomaram,’ also tops the wish list of many because of the song “Njanum Njanumentalum” which is already a chart buster. Dileep will have ‘Georgettan’s Pooram,’ ‘Ramaleela,’ ‘Kammara Sambhavam’ and ‘Prof:Dinkan’ as his major releases.
No super hits in kitty
The wait of Mammootty fans to get a big hit is continuing as the star ended up the year with three average hits. Though his movie ‘Kasaba’ got heavy initial collection, it failed to maintain the tempo later and ended up as an average fare at the box-office. His movies ‘Puthiya Niyamam’ and ‘Thoppil Joppan,’ however survived in box office while another movie ‘white’ flopped.
Lead roles in two movies and a guest appearance in one. The ‘Premam’ guy shone at the box office in 2016 too. His movies ‘Action Hero Biju’ and ‘Jacobinte Swargarajyam’ were superhits while ‘Anandam,’ in which he played a cameo too ended up as a hit.
He was roped in for nearly 15 Malayalam movies in 2016 and Gopi Sunder is continuing to be the busiest musician in Malayalam film industry. Out of the movies that he had committed in 2016, six films were released. He rendered background score for ‘Paavada’ and ‘Puthiya Niyamam.’ As a composer, his movies include ‘Pulimurugan,’ ‘Shajahanum Pareekkuttyum,’ ‘James and Alice’ and ‘Kali.’