Nostalgia was the cream that topped the first half of 2014 as the Malayali audience preferred nostalgic themes. This resulted in four out of six hits.
If 1983 was a straight hit to India’s first cricket World Cup victory, Om Shanthi Oshana set the story in a pre mobile phone era, while Bangalore Days was a clever remix of the nostalgic past.
In How Old Are You, the film’s theme took a backseat, as the majority of the viewers drew parallels with the lead actor and her life to the character.
The nostalgic return of the heroine proved crucial to the success of the film.
Drishyam, a family suspense thriller, which was released at the fag end of 2013, made a record collection in the state and abroad and played for four months.
According to industry sources its collection went above `50 crore, which is a record. The film turned to be a boon for Mohanlal, who had a series of flops in 2013.
Despite an array of criticisms, Ring Master went on to collect well at the major stations and assured the star status of Dileep.
Though much touted, London Bridge was a disaster, but Prithviraj sat pretty with Seventh Day.
However, the industry suffered a heavy loss, as a large number of films, including that of superstars, failed to stay on the screens even for a week. Nearly 80 per cent of the films belong to this list.
The number of films released, 81, is four less than that in the same period last year. Half of them carried English titles, which neither helped the films or the language.
According to industry sources the loss would be between `120-150 crore. The negative attitude of the satellite channels in buying the rights came as yet another blow to the industry which was piggy banking on them for their existence. A number of films are still awaiting buyers.
Unlike in the recent past, the audience thronged screens as three women- two actors and a director- hogged the limelight in the last six months. If the return of Manju Warrier after 14 years, an extraordinary actor who left the stage after just three active years was a news beyond the film pages, Nazriya Nazeem who outnumbered the super heroes in FB likes could carry a film on her shoulder. Then came Anjali Menon and her Banglore Days which went on to become a massive hit with the right combination and intelligent use of commercial flavours, a feat which was unattainable by a woman director in Malayalam.
Nivin, the star
Nivin Pauly continued his winning streak, with a hat trick, while Mammootty failed to recall his magic in three of his films. Nivin played a safe game by choosing good themes and teams, while not going for hero-oriented films, a trick often forgotten by many of the senior actors.
He was comfortable playing the idealist no-nonsense Giri in Om Shanti Oshana, which was a film dedicated to the chirpy Pooja Mathew, essayed by Nazriya Nazeem and Bangalore Days in the company of both Fahad and Dulquar Salmaan. Even 1983, which told the story of Rameshan essayed by Nivin, was a far cry from the conventional hero.
Film goers have deserted Jayaram, who imitated himself in all his films. All the four films of the star ,which appeared to be in different genres, vanished before the end of the first week. Kunchacko Boban who tried to experiment, came out with mixed results, as two films (Konthayum Poonoolum and ) sank without a trace. Polytechnic did average business while How Old Are You where he played second fiddle to Manju Warrier, was a hit. Dulquar had to take a break from a lucky star as two of his films (Salala Mobiles and the bilingual Samsaram Arogyathinu Hanikaram) failed to create any impact. Fahad did not make much news except for the announcement of his wedding with Nazriya.
50 Debut Directors
Abrid Shine (1983), Jude Anthony Joseph (Om Shanti Oshana) and Shyamdhar (Seventh Day) created ripples at the box office. Shibu Gangadharan (Praise the Lord) and Pramod Payyannur (Balykalasakhi) had to bite the dust despite the support of two great writers and the megastar Mammootty. Ajith Pillai received a mixed response with his Mosayile Kuthirameenukal.
Though Suresh Nair started on a positive note, the film (Medulla Oblongata) had to be withdrawn from the theatres due to legal problems related to the rights of the story. Bijoy Urmise made a decent film (Manja) but failed to get the support of the audience. Many others wasted the time of a large number of actors and crew and of course the patience of hapless viewers.
The virtual war between various camps of fans, including that of the superstars, proved costly for, at least, two films.
The much-hyped Gangster bombed at the box office, thanks to the instant reviews on the Internet. The retaliation came soon after, when Mr Fraud, mired in controversies with the exhibtors federation, was released. Negative reviews were posted within an hour after its release. The result was evident, as the film, which had a good opening, could not get the necessary momentum. Likewise, the storyline of Ring Master was widely criticised for its portrayal of the heroine in a bad light, and its similarity to a prominent actress.
However, How Old Are You which was hailed as a statement of the ‘liberation of women reeling under the institution of marriage’ by the front-line feminist activists, but they chose to shun the passing remarks made against a prominent actor.