Malayalam Cinema’s growth in the 10s decade was exceptional and unsurprising. With one of the best actors, directors and writers, it was clear that Mollywood was going to outstrip Bollywood and other mainstream entertainment industries because of its consistently exceptional content. But, apart from critics approval, Malayalam movies have found acceptance with a wide range of audience which has resulted in steadily increasing returns at the box office. This is a combination of content, star power and people’s interest in watching something new, and has been very profitable to the industry.
These are the highest grossing Malayalam movies:
Actor Prithviraj Sukumaran‘s directorial debut was a tale of greed, politics and familial relations. It starred Mohanlal as Stephen, who is invited to take the lead position of a ruling party after his father dies. The movie grossed 50 crores within four days of its release and 150 at the 21st day of its theatrical run. It was the first Malayalam movie to cross 50 crores in the international market, and is the highest grossing Malayalam movie ever. In total, it made a hefty 200 crores at the box office. A sequel, L2: Empuraan, which will bring the key actors back on the screen is set to begin shooting at the latter half of 2020 and release the next year.
Pulimurugan was the story of Murugan (played by Mohanlal) who helps the residents of Puliyoor village by using his tools to fend off attacks by Tigers from the wilderness. Daddy (Jagapati Babu) a drug dealer, falsely implicates him in an attack. Directed by Vysakh, and boasting a critically acclaimed score by Gopi Sundar, the movie was immensely popular with the audiences. It grossed 152 crores at the box office and made a record of the highest opening weekend for an Indian movie in the UAE, by collecting 13.83 crores.
Kayamkulam Kochunni, 2018
Directed by Rosshan Andrews, Kayamkulam Kochunni was the story of the titular character, played by Nivin Pauly, who decides to steal from the rich and give the products to the poor and the lower caste that reside in the community, thus becoming a Robin Hood hero to them. The movie greatly impressed the audiences, while Nivin’s performances was lauded, resulting in a healthy 101 crores at the Box office. Mohanlal also had a cameo role in the movie.
Jeethu Joesph’s thriller about a murder, and the conscious of a family man, starring Mohanlal in the lead role was such a hit that it has been remade in Hindi, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil since its release. It made 72 crores worldwide, which was a surprising success for a Malayalam movie during that time period.
An intensely romantic musical drama that made Nivin Pauly a star, and nation’s sweetheart, was directed by Alphonse Puthren, with Sai Pallavi as the female lead. The story of a man who must find his true love connected with the audiences and resulted in a very surprising Box office haul of 63 crores, which is very rare for a romantic movie in a language not spoken by the majority of the population.
Directed by Priyadarshan, and box office attraction, Mohanlal, Kanupapa was an intense thriller in which a blind man tries to save a young girl from the clutches of a psychopathic serial killer. The movie was able to make 57 crores even with its garish premise because it held the audience’s attention throughout its duration.
Odiyan, directed by V. A. Shrikumar narrated the tale about the Odiyan clan, who reside in Kerala and have the ability to transform themselves into animals. Mohanlal as the lead confirmed it a very good Box office return, and even while being a more outré story, the movie was able to collect 56 crores.
Ennu Ninte Moideen, 2015
The real life story, based on Kanchanamala and B.P Moideen, starring Parvathy Thiruvothu and Prithviraj Sukumaran tugged at the heart of the audience and was able to make 52 crores at the Box office. B. P Moideen was a film producer and politician from Kerala, and his popularity certainly helped the movie rake in the numbers.
Njan Prakashan, 2018
Sathyan Anthikad directed this movie about a lazy man who plots a scam to find a luxurious life to live. National Award winner, Fahadh Faasil played the lead, and his charism, mixed with the light tone of the movie, made it possible for it to gross 51.8 crores.
Two Countries, 2015
This comedy, about Ullas (Dileep), a cheat who’d do anything to make money, and decides to an Indian woman who is settled in Canada, Laya (Mamta Mohandas) was a hit because of the chemistry between its leads and the witty screen-play. It made a respectable 50.0 crores, which is a lot for a small production.
Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol, 2017
Starring Mohanlal and Meena, this domestic drama was an adaptation of a Malayalam short story “Pranayopanishath” by V. J. James. It received critical acclaim for its screenplay and performances, and made 49 crores at the box office.
Bangalore Days, 2014
A tale of three cousins, directed by Anjali Menon, and starring Nazriya Nazim, Nivin Pauly, Dulquer Salmaan, Fahadh Faasil, Bangalore Days was a triumph among the critics and audiences, and strong word of mouth caused the comedy drama to make 45 crores worldwide.