10 Best Malayalam Movies To Watch Online

From ‘Moothon’ to ‘Ayyappanum Koshiyum’, here’s a mix of new and not-so-new films streaming on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Zee5.
(Clockwise from L-R) Android Kunjappan Version 5.25, Kappela, Trance
(Clockwise from L-R) Android Kunjappan Version 5.25, Kappela, Trance

The Malayalam film industry may be in two minds about directly releasing movies on OTT platforms, but there are plenty of options online for movie lovers. If you missed these movies when they were in theatres, or just want to soak in the experience once more from the comfort of your home, here’s our list of the best new films to watch online (with subtitles!):

1. Varane Avashyamundu

A single mother with a grown-up daughter falls in love with her grumpy neighbour, a retired army officer. The film picks up this quintessential rom-com thread and weaves it into a fun, engaging narrative that brings together a host of characters. Directed by debutant Anoop Sathyan and produced by Dulquer Salmaan, what makes this a thoroughly entertaining watch are the actors playing the main leads—Shobana and Suresh Gopi, besides talents such as Urvashi and KPAC Lalitha pitching in with their charming bits. Dulquer plays second fiddle and Kalyani Priyadarshan is impressive as the daughter. Blame it on good old nostalgia, but just that opening montage song, which is also a love letter to Shobana, is an instant pick-me-up.

Watch it on Netflix

2. Kappela

Roshan Mathews and Anna Ben in 'Kappela'
Roshan Mathews and Anna Ben in 'Kappela'

In the picturesque backdrop of a quaint hilly town in North Kerala lives Jessy with her strict father, mother and sister. A wrongly dialled number triggers a telephonic romance with a rickshaw driver. But the narrative takes the tone of a thriller when they plan to meet. With the extremely effective Anna Ben breathing life into the naïve, starry-eyed Jessie, Roshan Mathews as her boyfriend and Sreenath Bhasi bringing in the intrigue, Kappela, the directorial debut of actor Muhammad Musthafa, is engaging and nothing quite prepares you for the twists and turns.

Watch it on Netflix

3. Trance

Touted as one of the most-awaited films of last year, Trance had a casting coup of sorts, apart from marking the return of director Anwar Rasheed. Written by Vincent Vadakkan, Fahadh Faasil headlines the narrative about a young motivational speaker who agrees to play-act as a pastor for a multinational company’s scam. It is an audacious attempt to cleave open the multi-crore swindling in the name of faith in today’s society. Fahadh’s transition from a struggling motivational speaker to the stylish megalomaniacal pastor who owns the stage with his manic energy is a breath-taking sight. There is also Sreenath Bhasi who surprises with an intense cameo, director Gautham Menon who is effective as the antagonist besides a slew of interesting supporting characters (Chemban Vinod, Vinayakan, Nazriya Nazim).

Watch it on Amazon Prime

4. Ayyappanum Koshiyum

A minor fracas between a cop and a rich planter gets out of hand, snowballing into a battle of ego and powerplay, with both men showing no signs of backing off. Directed and written by Sachy, the brilliantly-paced narrative alternatively tilts in either man’s favour, eventually putting on display the futility of the male ego. Biju Menon and Prithviraj Sukumaran ace their roles, and there is director Ranjith playing Prithviraj’s father, reprising popular feudal characters from his own films.

Watch it on Amazon Prime

5. Unda

Unda, Khalid Rahman’s second directorial venture after the rom-com Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, is about a group of Kerala cops who are assigned election duty in the Maoist belt of Chhattisgarh. They must stay in the middle of the forest in a rundown house. Headed by SI Manikandan, who is paralysed by fear when faced with a surprise attack at night, none of the cops are equipped to deal with the enormity of the situation. It does not help that they are already left defenseless without enough armory. Mammootty leads the pack with a stellar performance in this film written by Harshad and all the supporting actors get a good amount of screen time as the superstar.

Watch it on Amazon Prime

Prithviraj Sukumaran makes his debut as a director with a quintessential political action drama where Mohanlal plays the dynamic and mysterious Stephen Nedumpally. Written by actor-writer Murali Gopy, the film begins with the death of a veteran political leader, leaving the field open for his children to enter. Characters are ingeniously placed in a narrative that keeps the shroud of mystery around its main lead intact. There is a powerful villain, enough drama, action and conflict and some succinct one-liners reserved for the hero. Look out for some fine performances from Manju Warrier, Vivek Oberoi, Saikumar, Indrajith Sukumaran, Kalabhavan Shajon and Sania Iyyappan.

Watch it on Amazon Prime

7. Helen

Directed and co-written by Mathukutty Xavier, Helen tells the story of a student nurse who also works part-time at a fast-food joint. A spat with her father results in her staying longer at work, ending up getting locked inside the cold storage. The narrative follows her struggle to survive in the freezer while trying to escape. With a fantastic Anna Ben living her role as Helen and wonderfully written supporting characters (Lal plays the dad while Noble Babu Thomas is the lover), Helen keeps you at the edge of your seats, often making you feel the chills like the character.

Watch it on Amazon Prime

Geethu Mohandas’s second directorial and her first in Malayalam after the critically acclaimed Liar’s Dice opens in Lakshadweep, where a young lad Mulla is planning a visit to Mumbai in search of his elder brother. In the grimy streets of Mumbai, Mulla is devastated to discover that his brother is the dreaded small town don, Akbar. While the Mumbai portions are generic, with the characters failing to step beyond the Bollywood stereotypes associated with brothel owners, pimps, dons and sex workers of Kamathipura, what saves it from being entirely unmemorable is Akbar’s (a very reliable Nivin Pauly) backstory. His love affair with Ameer (Roshan Mathew, who is exquisite), the beautiful mute young man he meets at the island, is a piece of visual poetry. It’s not every day that we get to see gay romance depicted with such sensitivity, passion, and finesse in Indian cinema. Just for that, the film is worth a watch.

Watch it on Zee5

9. Android Kunjappan Version 2.55

A man brings a robot to take care of his elderly widowed father, resulting in an unusual bond between the man and the machine. The son soon realises the dangers of the robot replacing him in his father’s life. Directed and written by debutant Ratheesh Balakrishnan Poduval, the narrative is layered with humour, and the writing smartly draws parallels with the man’s preoccupation with machines and how it can consume his life. Suraj Venjaramoodu is spectacular as the father, absorbing not just the body language but also the psyche of an elderly man. Soubin Shahir is effective as the son and the robot is a warm sight.

Watch it on Amazon Prime

An unfortunate misunderstanding results in a battle of egos between a Superstar and his fan. The narrative wavers between the star and his fan, reasoning with both and we are strangely unable to take sides. Directed by Jean Paul Lal and written by Sachy, this film doesn’t have a dull moment and the actors (Prithviraj Sukumaran and Suraj Venjaramoodu) efficiently do their bit, ably supported by a stream of interesting supporting characters. It’s engaging, entertaining, and good enough for a rewatch.

Watch it on Amazon Prime