The first half of 2017 comes to an end and once again Malayalam films dominated compared to the success ratio of other language films. 58 Malayalam films released in the first half of 2017 and 12 out of them proved to be hugely profitable for the makers. Mollywood had one all time blockbuster, three blockbusters, five super hits and three hits to its credit in the first half of 2017.

Here’s the list of biggest Malayalam hits of 2017 so far:

1) Baahubali 2
Director: SS Rajamouli
Cast: Prabhas, Anushka Shetty, Rana Daggubati, Ramyakrishnan, Sathyaraj, Nassar
Release date: April 28, 2017
Verdict: All Time Blockbuster (still running)

Baahubali 2, Devasena

Prabhs and Anushka Shetty in a still from Baahubali 2

Similar to other film industries, the Malayalam dubbed version of SS Rajamouli’s Baahubali: The Conclusion set the Kerala Box Office on fire upon its release. The Prabhas – Anushka Shetty starrer has shattered most of the Box Office records. Baahubali 2 emerged the biggest Malayalam film of 2017 in 10 days and also became the fastest Rs. 50 crore grosser of Malayalam cinema. Baahubali 2 is also the second Rs. 50 crore Malayalam grosser after Mohanlal’s Pulimurugan in Kerala. Though the film had already emerged the highest grosser in Bollywood, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada industry, it is still struggling to go past the Rs. 87 crore mark set by the Mohanlal blockbuster in Kerala. Baahubali 2 is still running in limited screens across the Kerala and it remains to be seen how far the film can go with its lifetime collections in Kerala.

2) Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol
Director: Jibu Jacob
Producer: Sophia Paul
Cast: Mohanlal, Meena, Anoop Menon, Srinda, Neha Saxena, Aima Rosmy Sebastian
Release date: January 20, 2017
Verdict: Blockbuster

Mohanlal in a poster of Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol

Mohanlal in a poster of Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol

Mohanlal continued his dream run with his first release of 2017, Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol directed by Jibu Jacob of Vellimoonga fame. The film was Lalettan’s fifth release in a span of 5-month months and despite the over exposure of films, Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol turned out to be the Malayalam superstar’s fifth straight blockbuster at the Box Office. The film also marked the hit ‘Mohanlal-Meena’ duo after Varnapakittu, Balettan, Natturajavu, Udhayananu Taram and Drishyam.

3) Ezra
Director: Jay K
Producers: CV Sarathi, Mukesh Mehta, and Anoop Vasan
Cast: Prithviraj, Tovino Thomas, Priya Anand
Release date: February 10
Verdict: Blockbuster

Prthiviraj Sukumaran, Ezra, Malayalm movie still

A still fro Ezra

The second film that managed to bag the blockbuster status was the Prithviraj starrer Ezra. The horror thriller marked the directorial debut of Jay K and the Malayalam debut of Tamil actress Priya Anand. Upon its release, Ezra had stiff competition from Tamil film Singam III, which had released in 50 more screens than Ezra. But the Prithviraj film outperformed Singam III thanks to positive word of mouth.  Ezra also emerged as Prithviraj’s third Rs 30 crore plus grosser after Ennu Ninte Moideen and Amar Akbar Antony.

4) The Great Father
Director: Haneef Adeni
Cast: Mammootty, Sneha, Baby Anikha, Arya, Miya George
Producers: Santhosh Shivan, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Arya and Shaji Nadesan
Release date: March 30, 2017
Verdict: Blockbuster

Mammootty in The Great Father

Mammootty in a still from The Great Father

After a string of under performers,  Malayalam superstar Mammootty came back strongly with his first release of 2017, The Great Father. The film, a mystery thriller broke the opening day/week records set by the 2016 Mohanlal starrer Pulimurugan. The Mammootty starrer also emerged as the fastest Rs. 20 crore grosser at the Kerala Box Office, which was eventually broken by Baahubali 2. The Great Father also starred Tamil actor Arya, Malavika Mohanan, Sneha, Miya George and Baby Anikha.

5) Jomonte Suvisheshangal
Director: Sathyan Anthikad
Producers: Sethu Mannarkad
Cast : Dulquer Salmaan, Anupama Parameswaran, Mukesh, Aishwarya Rajesh,
Release Date: January 19, 2017
Verdict: Super Hit

Anupama Parameswaran Dulquer Salmaan Jomonte Suvisheshangal still

Anupama Parameswaran Dulquer Salmaan in a still from Jomonte Suvisheshangal

Sathyan Anthikad – Dulquer Salmaan film Jomonte Suvisheshangal is the first Malayalam film to be released after a three-week long strike between Kerala Film Producers Association and Kerala Exhibitors Association. Also, the film was the first Malayalam release of 2017 at the Kerala Box Office. Similar to Mohanlal’s Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol, Jomonte Suvisheshangal too was earlier scheduled to hit the screens on Christmas 2016. As expected, Jomonte Suvisheshangal has opened to a flying start at the Kerala Box Office. However, the release of Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol (on its next day) and Ezra and Singam III (after two weeks) affected the Box Office run of the Dulquer Salmaan starrer. Jomonte Suvisheshangal was also Dulquer Salmaan’s fifth hit in a row after 100 Days Of Love, Charlie, Kali and Kammatipaadam.

6) Godha
Director: Basil Joseph
Producers: CV Sarathi, Mukesh Mehta, and Anoop Vasan
Cast: Tovino Thomas, Renji Panicker, Wamiqa Gabbi
Release Date: May 19, 2017
Verdict: Super Hit

Godha trailer, Waqeema

A still from Godha movie

After the blockbuster success of Prithviraj’s Ezra, Basil Joseph’s second directorial Godha, turned out to be another money spinner for E4Entertainment, the joint producers CV Sarathi, Mukesh Mehta and Anoop Vasan. The film also earned actor Tovino Thomas hat-trick of hits after Ezra (supporting role) and Oru Mexican Aparatha (main lead role). Godha also marked the successful Malayalam debut of Punjabi actress Wamiqa Gabbi, who’s performance is rated as second best female performance after Parvathy’s Take Off. Though the film had tough competition with two major Malayalam films and Baahubali 2, Godha continued to do rock steady collections at the Kerala Box Office. The wrestling sports-drama has also been praised for Renji Panciker’s acting along with Shaan Rahman’s music and Vishnu Sarma’s cinematography. The film is still running in limited screens across the Kerala.

7) Oru Mexican Aparatha
Director: Tom Emmatty
Producer: Anoop Kannan
Cast: Tovino Thomas, Roopesh Peethambaran, Neeraj Madhav, Gayathri Suresh
Release Date: March 3, 2017
Verdict: Super Hit

Oru Mexican Aparatha

Stills from Oru Mexican Aparatha

If there is one film which had surprised the entire Malayalam film fraternity in 2017, then it will be Tovino Thomas starrer Oru Mexican Aparatha. Written-directed by debutant Tom Emmatty and produced by Anoop Kannan, the campus-political entertainer has opened to a bumper start at the Kerala Box Office. A good opening was always on the cards thanks to pre-release hype Oru Mexican Aparatha had generated through its teaser and promotions. The opening day emerged amongst 2017’s top Malayalam openers and also saw the acceptance of Tovino Thomas in a lead role. The film also marked the acting debut of Roopesh Peethambaran, the actor who was the child artist in Mohanlal’s 1995 blockbuster Spadikam.

8) Take Off
Director: Mahesh Narayan
Producer: Anto Joseph, Shebin Backer
Cast: Parvathy, Kunchacko Boban, Fahadh Faasil, Divya Prakash, Asif Ali
Release Date: March 24, 2017
Verdict: Super Hit

Another Malayalam film that got the ‘hats off’ response from the audience is the directorial debut of editor Mahesh Narayan, Take Off. The film was based on the real-life incidents which happened post the kidnapping of 46 Indian nurses by the Islamic State in Tikrit, Iraq in 2014. As expected, Take Off had opened to excellent reviews from the audience and critics alike. In fact, the film saw one of the best reviews for a Malayalam film since Mohanlal starrer Drishyam. The film has been praised for the performances of the entire cast, especially from the female protagonist Parvathy, who delivered a knockout performance as nurse Sameera. The positive reviews had translated into good Box office numbers as well despite the release of five big films’ within 25-days of its theatrical release, including Mamootty’s The Great Father and Puthan Panam, Dileep’s Georgettan’s Pooram and Mohanlal’s 1971 Beyond Borders.

9) Angamaly Diaries
Director: Lijo Jose Pellissery
Producer: Vijay Babu
Cast: Antony Varghese, Reshma Rajan, Sarath Kumar, Ullas Jose Chemban, Sinoj Varghese
Release Date: March 3, 2017
Verdict: Super Hit

Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Angamaly Diaries was the surprise hit in the first half of 2017. The film was in news ever since the makers announced the film as it marked the acting debut of 86 fresh faces in Malayalam cinema. Angamaly Diaries was not just a big Box Office success, but also emerged as a critically acclaimed film. In fact, the widespread positive reviews have caught the national attention as well as the crime-drama was a talking topic in non-Kerala markets like Mumbai and Chennai. The film also made news when noted Hollywood reporter Deborah Young reviewed the film as ‘breakout hit in India’. Apart from the performances, Angamaly Diaries has been praised heavily for the cinematographer Girish Gangadharan, who had shot the 12-minute climax in a single take.

10) Comrade In America
Director: Amal Neerad
Producer: Amal Neerad
Cast: Dulquer Salmaan, Chandini Sreedharan, Karthika Muraleedharan, Soubin Shahir
Release Date: May 5, 2017
Verdict: Hit

Dulquer Salmaan continued his dream Box Office run with his second release of 2017, Comrade In America. The survival thriller marked the acting debut of Karthika Muraleedharan and also starred Chandini Sreedharan and Soubin Shahir. As expected, Comrade In America had opened to a terrific collection on its opening day at the Kerala Box Office. In fact, it won’t be to wrong to mention that due to the excellent opening weekend, Dulquer Salmaan managed to deliver his sixth straight hit film. Despite being labelled as a hit, Amal Neerad failed to utilize the full potential of Malayalam cinema’s Kunjikka as an actor.

Nivin Pauly

Nivin Pauly

11) Achayans
Directior: Kannan Thamarakkulam
Producer: C. K. Padma Kumar
Cast: Jayaram, Unni Mukundan, Amala Paul, Sshivada, Prakash Raj, Anu Sithara
Release Date: May 19, 2017
Verdict: Hit

Achayans movie poster new

Achayans movie poster

Another surprise Malayalam hit of 2017 at the Kerala Box Office is Kannan Thamarakkulam’s multi-starrer hit Achayans. The film, a comedy-entertainer starred an ensemble star cast including Jayaram, Unni Mukundan, Amala Paul, Sshivada, Prakash Raj, Anu Sithara, Sanju Sivaram, and anchor-turned-actor Adil Ibrahim. Though the film was not expected to fare well due to the poor promotions, surprisingly, Achayans had taken a good opening at the Box Office. The consecutive theater visits done by the film team post the film’s release has worked favorably in Achayans’ favor to do steady collections in its entire theatrical run. Achayans also emerged as the first Rs. 10 crore grosser in Jayaram and Unni Mukundan’s career.

12 ) Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu
Director: Ranjan Pramod
Producers: Alexander Mathew and Satheesh Kolam
Cast: Biju Menon, Hannah Reji Koshy, Aju Vargheese, Dileesh Perumanna, Krishna Padmakumar
Release Date: April 21, 2017
Verdict: Hit

Similar to Achayans, another film that has exceeded the audience expectation is Ranjan Pramod’s third directorial outing, Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu. The film was released one week prior to Baahubali 2’s release, but the risk taken by the makers turned out to be successful as the Biju Menon starrer has managed to get Hit status with its steady theatrical run. The film had also completed 50-theatrical days at the Box Office to become yet another success for Biju Menon.

Surprisingly, Nivin Pauly’s Sakhavu turned out to be an average grosser at the Kerala Box Office. The political drama was expected to do wonders at the Box Office, but the slow narration has worked against the film to have a dream run like previous Nivin Pauly films Jacobinte Swargarajyam, Action Hero Biju. Not to forget, upon its release, Sakhavu became the career best opener for Nivin Pauly.

Average grossers
1) Sakhavu
2) Ramante Edanthottam
3) C/O Saira Banu

Apart from under performance of Sakhavu, April 2017 was also in news thanks to the disastrous results of three Malayalam superstar films, Mohanlal starrer 1971 Beyond Borders, Dileep’s Georgettan’s Pooram and Mammootty starrer Puthan Panam. All three films released during the auspicious occasion of Vishu, but none of the film has managed to click well among the audience. However, Baahubali 2’s release at the end of the April has brought a wide smile at the Kerala Box Office.

Have a look at the failures of 2017:

Flops
1) Georgettans Pooram
2) Aby
3) Avarude Ravukal
4) Oru Cinemakkaran
5) Lakshyam
6) Adventures Of Omanakuttan

Disasters
1) Veeram
2) 1971 beyond Borders
3) Honey Bee 2
4) Sathya
5) Puthan Panam
6) Alamara
7) Careful
8) Role Models
9) Fukri
10) Kamhoji