2021 - Best Malayalam Films (Critics' Choice)

by nairtejas | created - 3 months ago | updated - 3 days ago | Public

Because a lot of times we need the perspective of multiple people to come to a meaningful conclusion, I have started this new list of the top films in Mollywood that came out in 2021. You can also browse my other lists here: http://www.imdb.com/user/ur34967775/lists.

The best Malayalam films of 2021 as selected by eminent critics. This list takes into consideration the reviews and ratings by Sify.com, Nowrunning.com (K R Rejeesh and S Mullappilly), Lensmen Reviews (Aswin Bharadwaj S), Fullpicture.in (Neelima Menon), Film Companion (various reviewers), Veeyen, Silverscreen (Aswathy Gopalakrishnan), The Firstpost (Anna Vetticad), The Hindu (S R Praveen), and New Indian Express (Sajin Shrijith).

The films are updated every second week and are ranked on the basis of their aggregate score, which is a mean value of all the ratings given by the critics. Because not all films are reviewed by every critic, a title is added into this list only if it has been reviewed by five or more people/publications (including me). So, in essence, all Malayalam films releasing between January 2021 and December 2021 (both in theatres and online) will be considered by these ten critics + me.

Appreciate your constructive thoughts in the comments section below. Thank you and enjoy! For more such analyses, visit my blog - https://www.nairtejas.com/.

Last updated: 12 May 2021.

Past honourees: The Priest (#10), One (#14), Saajan Bakery (#15).


Note: Only films with at least 4 critics' ratings (out of 12) for each of them are selected.

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1. Nayattu (2021)

124 min | Thriller

Three police officers who are on a run for life, escaping the outbreak against them due to the unlawful arrest and torture of a civilian. It brings in a few shades of arrogant yet very much human police officers and their helplessness.

Director: Martin Prakkat | Stars: Kunchacko Boban, Joju George, Nimisha Sajayan, Jaffer Idukki

Votes: 1,960

I rated it a fat 8/10.

2. Drishyam 2 (2021)

152 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A gripping tale of an investigation and a family which is threatened by it. Will Georgekutty be able to protect his family this time?

Director: Jeethu Joseph | Stars: Mohanlal, Meena, Ansiba, Esther Anil

Votes: 23,815

I rated it 8/10.

3. Joji (2021)

113 min | Crime, Drama

Joji, an engineering dropout and the youngest son of a rich family lives with his aspirations of becoming super wealthy. Driven by greed and blind ambition, he decides to execute his plans following an unexpected event in the family.

Director: Dileesh Pothan | Stars: Fahadh Faasil, Dileesh Pothan, Unnimaya Prasad, Basil Joseph

Votes: 5,022

I rated it a fat 8/10.

4. The Great Indian Kitchen (2021)

100 min | Comedy, Drama

After marriage, a woman struggles to be the submissive wife that her husband and his family expect her to be. The story follows her journey, as she changes herself and, even more so, changes the household.

Director: Jeo Baby | Stars: Nimisha Sajayan, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Ajitha V.M., T. Suresh Babu

Votes: 4,458

I rated it a fat 7/10.

5. Biriyaani (2019)

95 min | Drama

The movie chronicles the life of Khadeeja, a married Muslim woman confined within the four walls of the household, forced to conceal her desires in the name of religious and societal norms.

Director: Sajin Baabu | Stars: Mini I G, Shailaja Jala, Thonakkal Jayachandran, Kani Kusruti

Votes: 407

I rated it a neutral 5/10.

6. Operation Java (2021)

146 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

The story revolves around a group of officers and a series of mysteries, events and cases reported before them in the Cyber Cell. It is also about how they plan and execute their operations.

Directors: Tharun Moorthy, Sudhi Maddison | Stars: Balu Varghese, Lukman Lukku, Irshad, Binu Pappu

Votes: 494

7. Thirike (2021)

108 min | Drama

A young crafty man kidnaps his own brother, who has Down Syndrome, from his adoptive parents in an attempt to reclaim his past.

Directors: George Kora, Sam Xavier | Stars: Anju Abraham, Ayden Abraham, Sarasa Balussery, Jinu Ben

Votes: 225

I rated it 7/10.

8. Aanum Pennum (2021)

97 min | Drama

An anthology film that takes you through three different eras in the history of Kerala with three different stories.

Directors: Aashiq Abu, Venu Isc, Jay.k, Jay K. | Stars: Asif Ali, Joju George, Roshan Mathew, Samyuktha Menon

Votes: 38

9. Kala (2021)

130 min | Thriller

A psychological thriller that revolves around Shaji who faces an intriguing conflict with the many layered shades of human behavior.

Director: Rohith V.S. | Stars: Tovino Thomas, Sumesh Moor, Lal, Divya Pillai

Votes: 653

10. Aarkkariyam (2021)

126 min | Drama

Shirley and Roy in the middle of an impending Covid lock-down and a personal financial crisis, leave their Mumbai home for Shirley's home in Pala where her father Ittyavira stays. Roy soon finds that her home is not what he thought it is.

Director: Sanu John Varughese | Stars: Biju Menon, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Sharafudheen, Saiju Kurup

Votes: 38

11. Love (IV) (2020)

92 min | Drama, Thriller

The story of a family and the various situations navigated by a husband and wife.

Director: Khalid Rahman | Stars: Shine Tom Chacko, Rajisha Vijayan, Gokulan, Sudhi Koppa

Votes: 972

I rated it a low 5/10.

12. Varthamanam (2021)

123 min | Drama

Faiza joins Delhi University as a research student. She gets acquainted with Amal and other students with a sharp political stance. However, the dynamics of campus life take new forms after the killing of her roommate's brother.

Director: Sidhartha Siva | Stars: Aurora Adya, Karuna Singh Chauhan, Dain Davis, Himanshu Dhankhar

Votes: 156

13. Chathur Mukham (2021)

138 min | Horror, Thriller

An ambitious young woman faces a supernatural force through technology. Will she be able to survive the onslaught and solve this unheard phenomenon?

Directors: Ranjeet Kamala Sankar, Salil V. | Stars: Manju Warrier, Sunny Wayne, Srikant Murali, Alencier Ley Lopez

Votes: 362

14. Vellam (I) (2021)

154 min | Biography, Drama

An alcoholic is left stranded by society, friends and family until he successfully completes his de-addiction. Will they accept him when he is clean and sober?

Director: Prajesh Sen | Stars: Samyuktha Menon, Siddique, Drishya Dinesh, Jayasurya

Votes: 1,161

I rated it an average 5/10.

15. Churuli (2021)

Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller

A few people who go in search of a man named Mayiladuparambil Joy, get trapped in a terrifying time loop in this sci-fi/horror tale of insanity, fear and 'aliens'?

Director: Lijo Jose Pellissery | Stars: Chemban Vinod Jose, Vinay Forrt, Joju George, Jaffer Idukki

Votes: 55

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