The year 2017 was very fruitful for Mollywood — the Malyalam-language film industry — with the release of a bunch of well-crafted movies made a mark even in the international markets.
Over 120 Malayalam movies have been released in 2017 as of December first week, and interestingly many directors carved a niche for themselves in the industry with their first project itself.
While some ventured into the profession after assisting hitmakers, others direct films independently even without any godfather to support them — just out of their passion for cinema.
And of course, their first movie will always be special, considering the struggles they faced in the making of these films — the result of their hard work of years.
Here's a compilation of top Mollywood directors who made brilliant debut movies in 2017:
A good filmmaker is said to have the ability to visualise all the scenes in his or her film well before its making. Though it is something that is learnt through experience, the Malayalam movie Take Off doesn't look like the work of a debutant.
That's the kind of perfection director-editor Mahesh Narayanan brought to the film, making it an engaging thriller from start to end.
Read Take Off Review
There isn't a single scene that could have been chopped from it, clearly showing how well the filmmaker visualised the entire movie — of course, the advantage of an editor becoming a filmmaker.
Take Off narrated the real-life story of 19 nurses held captive by ISIS in a war zone in Iraq. Outstanding performances by Parvathy, Kunchacko Boban, Fahadh Faasil and others make it one of the best realistic movies released in Malayalam.
It also took the Malayalam industry to a whole new level by bagging the Special Jury Award and actress Parvathy winning the Silver Peacock for the Best Actress at the International Film Festival of India.
After assisting many directors, Soubin Shahir became a household name with his impressive performances in movies. The actor even ventured into independent filmmaking and didn't disappoint fans with the well-crafted debut movie that was Parava.
Set in Mattancherry, the movie revolves around the lives of two teenagers who prepare for the pigeon (parava) race that is popular in the area.
The minute detailing in the storyline along with beautiful visuals by Littil Swayamp make Parava a spectacular movie that will be remembered for years.
Read Parava review
Parava also turned out to be a box office hit as young star Dulquer Salmaan appeared in an extended cameo in it.
When Nivin Pauly announced the movie Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela with Premam-fame Althaf Salim, people were wondering who the director was. Soon, it was revealed that he was the schoolboy better known as Mary's (Anupama Parameshwaran) friend in Premam and Nivin's friend in Sakhavu movie.
And the question on how that "young boy" could really direct a movie popped up. The young filmmaker proved looks don't matter at all when the multi-starrer hit the theatres.
Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela has an ensemble cast including Santhi Krishna, Lal, Nivin, Aishwarya Rajesh, Ahaana Krishna, Siju Wilson, Srinda and Krishna Sankar.
The family entertainer deals with a serious situation faced by all the members of a family, and garnered positive response from the audience.
After assisting many filmmakers, the five-year-long hard work put in by Arun Gopy hit a major roadblock when a section of the audience decided to boycott the film Ramaleela in the wake of actor Dileep's arrest in connection with the sensational actress assault case.
The filmmaker was devastated. The movie performed tremendously well from day one at the box office when it eventually hit the screens, thanks to the strong support of many celebs who campaigned to support Ramaleela.
Here's Ramalaeela audience review
The political thriller, scripted by Sachy, revolves around the life of advocate Ramanunni (Dileep), who joins a rival group after being expelled from the political party he was part of.
The controversies that follow and how he gets out of them form the gist of the thriller, which also has Kalabhavan Shajohn, Prayaga Martin, Mukesh, Radhika Sarathkumar and Siddique in main roles.
Lady superstar Manju Warrier's family entertainer Udaharanam Sujatha also doesn't look like the movie of a debutant director. Though it was a remake, Phantom Praveen made it a watchable flick for even those who had watched Amala Paul's Amma Kanakku.
Manju impressed viewers portraying the role of a struggling mother, who does many odd jobs daily to raise her daughter. Anaswara Rajan also garnered positive response from the audience for the character Athira in it.
Antony Sony Sebastian
Antony Sony Sebastian's journey from a short film director to directing the movie C/O Saira Banu was remarkable. The movie starring Manju Warrier, Amala Akkineni and Shane Nigam in the lead roles garnered positive response from the audience upon its release.
Both Amala and Manju gave matured performances in the movie that has an interesting plot as well. Despite having a few downs here and there, C/o Saira Banu is one of the best movies of Manju after her comeback.