Malayalam cinema has given many reasons movie buffs to cheer in 2014. Apart from some hit movies in various genres, there were some fresh story ideas, experiments in portraying characters differently and attempts to break stereotypes that were well-received by fans.
Here is our list of "Top 10 Malayalam Movies of the Year":
"1983" marked the first hit of the year. The film, which was directed by well-known fashion photographer Abrid Shine saw a new style and energy in film making. The movie in a way was experimental in terms of its narrative style and that too in the genre of a sports drama.
"1983" saw Nivin Pauly in a different look of a cricket aspirant Ramesh, who is a big fan of cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar. The story of the movie revolved around his life and memoirs from the year 1983 when India won its first World Cup under Kapil Dev.
The film was noted for some light-hearted comedy, nostalgic moments, music and performances. The film gave Malayalam cinema a new heroine Nikki Galrani. Most of the critics rated the movie as a "must-watch."
"Om Shanthi Oshana"
"Om Shanthi Oshana" was yet another full-fledged movie from the new generation of Malayalam film makers. With this movie, Malayalam cinema got yet another film maker, Jude Anthony Joseph who experimented with the thoughts of his audience.
Though the concept of romantic comedy was not new to Malayalam cinema, it was the treatment and the narration of the movie that impressed the audience. The fresh approach of narrating a movie from the heroine's point of view in a simple way appealed to all.
Nazriya's performance as Pooja Mathew, a tomboy stole the show. Nivin Pauly's role as her dream man gave a new dimension to the character of a hero in Malayalam cinema. Ranji Panicker gave himself a new profile to his image, by playing the role of a free-thinking father of Pooja in the movie. Overall, the movie was touted a peaceful entertainer and was noted for its one liners.
"Swapanam" was predictably the most well-crafted movie of the year. Directed by the most- prolific Shaji N Karum, the film became the first Malayalam movie to use Auro 3D sound technology. The film got good response and actor Jayaram was much appreciated for his role in the movie as Unni, a "Chenda" percussionist.
The film took the audience through high emotions and versions of love , passion, jealousy, hate and spite in Unni's life and how they transformed his life.
The movie also won the National Film Award for Best Re-recordist of the final mixed track for D Yuvraj.
"How Old Are you"
"How Old are You" was probably the most-anticipated and most-talked movie of the year because it marked Manju Warrier's return to the screens after 14 years. The film did not disappoint the audience in terms of her sensational onscreen presence.
"How Old Are You", which talks about the life of a 36-year-old UD clerk Nirupama Rajeev and her struggles to find her identity, was noted for its effort to promote organic farming. The movie also focussed on the society's obsession with attaching gender and age specific-stereotypes to women.
"Bangalore Days", the most popular movie of the year was noted for all aspects. From direction, story, script, dialogue, casting, acting, art, costumes, music, cinematography and editing, the film excelled in everything.
"Bangalore Days" also became one of the highest grosser in Malayalam cinema and will be remembered as a joyful ride, taking the audience through a nostalgic feeling of home and happening lives in a city with a comic tone.
This movie was noted for its story line and performances by Jayasurya, Asif Ali, Suresh Gopi and Abhirmami.
"Apothecary" is a medical thriller in which the story revolves around the life of Dr. Vijay Nambiar, who follows a particular system of medicine in a hospital. His attitudes and perspectives about life are changed after coming across a few patients.
The film also triggered a debate when Jayasurya reduces weight to change his look for the movie as a patient to an extent where he got skin boils. The film, directed by Madhav Ramdas was much critically appreciated and received rave review.
"Munnariyuppu" is one such movie which haunted audiences for a long time even after they came out of the theatres. The movie explored the acting ability of a legend like Mammootty. His performance as CK Raghavan, an accused in a double homicide, can be described as one of his best performances, besiding shedding his image of superstar.
Movie directed by Venu was reviewed as a "must watch" for film lovers as the psychological thriller took audience to a gripping climax.
The movie was also noted for performance of other actors like Aparna Gopinath, Joy Mathew, Renji Panicker and Prithiviraj.
With "Njaan", young star Dulquer Salmaan gave a new dimension to his acting career. The movie is yet another classic directorial from Renjith, which was appreciated for its narrative style, technical aspects and performances.
The movie was noticed for its treatment of the plot which reflected an individual's culture, attitudes, emotions, values, ethics, genetics, perceptions and social space.
Yet another Mammootty movie, it deserved to find a place in the top 10 Malayalam movies. A complete family drama written and directed by Ranjith Shankar, it brought back the good old days of family movies.
The film again was appreciated for the performances, casting, music, cinematography and the directorial value. Mammootty received great critical and audience reception the whole film on his shoulders with his impeccable perfection in acting.
"Iyobinte Pusthakam" was noticed as one of the biggest movies of the year and became the best of Amal Neeradh movie. The film is a period drama and supported by a great script, revolving around rivalry, hatred, vengeance, love, comradeship and crime.
The movie was also noted for its visual presentation in terms of cinematography, art, costume, make up and the performance of the lead actors including Fahadh Faasil, Jaysurya, Lla, Padmapriya, Isha Sharvani and Lena.