Malayalam Cinema and its Connection to Literature

Malayalam cinema has a long-standing tradition of adapting literature and drama into films. Many Malayalam films are adaptations of popular novels or short stories.

Though some have been successful, others have defied the trend. Next year we could potentially witness at least five movies based on Malayalam literary works. Mallu mv is a leading Malayalam cinema Review site.

Many Malayalam movies are adaptations of popular novels or short stories

Adaptations of literature have been an integral part of Malayalam cinema history, contributing to some great movies made in the language.

Many popular Malayalam movies are adaptations of popular novels or short stories, both to appeal to a wider audience and boost profitability for the film.

Malayalam cinema has produced some of the most critically and commercially successful films in its history, some even being adapted into other languages like Tamil or Telugu.

Adapting a novel for the screen necessitates considerable effort. The filmmaker must ensure their portrayal of the story accurately without inflicting undue suffering upon viewers.


Indian films often draw inspiration from literature and have close ties to it. Years before Vishal Bhardwaj’s adaptation of Othello was released, Malayalam filmmaker Jayaraaj interweaved the tale of love and jealousy into an intricate tapestry of Theyyam (fire dance) performances from Kerala.

Kaliyattam is a 1997 Malayalam tragedy film directed by Jayaraaj and written by Balram Mattannur. Starring Suresh Gopi and Lal in the lead roles of Othello and Paniyan, respectively.

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The movie Othello, set against the backdrop of a Theyyam performance, was an enormous hit when released in 1997 and earned several awards including Best Director from the National Film Award.

The film explores themes of love and jealousy through Othello, a fire dancer in Theyyam. During this intricate religious practice and ritual, the lead dancer dresses up as a deity and is believed to transcend both human and divine realms.

Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum

Every so often, a Malayalam film comes along that makes waves like nobody’s business. Last year, Maheshinte Prathikaram and Kammattipaadam shared the spotlight, but Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum truly stood out with its poignant take on human frailty and justice in Kerala.

Dileesh Pothan’s second film, Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, offers an interesting departure from Malayalam cinema’s usual formula. It doesn’t side with characters or expect us to understand them, making it much more realistic than its usual fare.

In this film, Fahadh Faasil’s performance as Joji, a selfish and self-centred killer, is captivating. As the narrative progresses, it becomes evident how his character has been molded by his environment and lack of empathy or conscience.

Suraj Venjaramoodu’s performance as Prasad is also remarkable. Both actors were able to convey their characters’ emotions with ease, making this Malayalam film one of the standouts.


Director Lijo Jose Pellissery’s latest film, Jallikattu (City of God, Nakayan, Angamaly Diaries), takes mob violence to an uncontrollable height in bloodshed. Set in a rural village in tropical Kerala in southern India where civilization crumbles under the weight of a massive buffalo’s influence on everyone involved, Jallikattu depicts this darkly symbolic tale set amid rural poverty and hardship.

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Villagers join the hunt and attempt to control the animal by presenting it with physical challenges. Unfortunately, bulls are not naturally equipped for these tests, leading them to endure unnecessary pain and suffering.

In 2014, the Supreme Court outlawed Jallikattu and nullified a 2009 act allowing it to continue. They also declared it in violation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 – an issue raised by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other welfare organizations.

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