9 Malayalam movies to watch on Amazon Prime, Hotstar this Onam season

Online Desk

Is your Malayali friend back home to celebrate Onam leaving you companionless to watch the upcoming Mollywood releases and top-streaming movies? Fear not, here is our guide to some of the recent Malayalam movies that are now streaming on Amazon Prime and Hotstar that you don't want to miss.

Unda (Amazon Prime)

Mammootty is back in the police uniform once again. What is different this time is that he lands no more than a single slap on the villains in the entire movie. That's right. And how many shots does he fire? Ready to get surprised again as you watch this Khalid Rahman movie. Inspired by true events, the south-Indian superstar plays Sub Inspector Mani of the Kerala police who is in the red-corridor of Bastar with a band of young policemen on election duty. Underequipped and unfit to take on the ruthless ultras, the group pin their hope on the never-arriving "undas" (bullets) to save their lives. Unda is moving due to many reasons. We see a tribal Keralite empathising with the kids of Chattisgarh as he faces humiliation from his own colleagues for having everything easy in life through "reservation". We see a middle-aged policeman, who has never fired anybody or been fired upon, sitting down hopelessly at an emergency juncture. If you loved Raj Kumar Rao's Newton, you will love this one too.

Parava (Hotstar)

Dulquer Salmaan appears in a cameo role but it doesn't make this one of his movies. Popular actor Soubin Shahir's directorial debut is impressive as it breaks the stereotyping of Muslim lives that Mollywood serves to you time after time. Ichappi (Amal Shah) and Haseeb (Govind V Pai) are crazy about the pigeon racing and dream of winning the local championship. The same pigeons are used as the link to narrate a painful past that changed the lives of so many people around the two boys, especially Shane (Shane Nigam), Irshad's elder brother. As the two boys explore their adolescent fantasies, we also come to terms with the bitter relationship between Shane and his father (Siddique) and his choice to stay detached from his friends and ladylove. Shane seeks revenge, but can it give back his normal life? This beautifully crafted movie won't disappoint you any day.

Kumbalangi Nights (Amazon Prime)

At one hand, we have a home with no women and inhabited by three hopeless and lost bothers, and in the other, there is a home of women who have got a male member after a long time. So what happens when love makes these families at two extremes of the Kerala society collide? Probably the best movie of the year, Syam Pushkaran's Kumbalangi Night rips through "toxic masculinity" as it rightly needs to be. Fahadh is once again brilliant as the thick-moustached alpha male, who demands complete servitude from the women of the house, while Soubin Shahir grows beyond expectations as a man with no self-respect and hope. The chemistry between Bobby (Shane) and Baby(Anna Ben) are one of the sweetest that we have seen in recent times, with both of them being brutally honest and delightfully cute. The movie makes an honest attempt to restore our faith in humanity as we see the good-for-nothing brothers turn job-seekers. The scenic shots of Kumbalangi adds charm to this beautifully crafted movie.

Iyobinte Pusthakam (Hotstar)

One of the finest period dramas made ever in Malayalam, this Amal Neerad movie narrates a tale of invasion and revenge in the post-colonial Kerala. Soon after the Britishers left, Iyob (Lal) takes over as the unquestionable lord of the Munnar hills, brutally dominating the tribal and peasant population. Unaware of the changing times and the proletariat political movement gaining momentum in the hills, Iyob resumes his crusade for wealth and power along with with his equally brutal sons Ivan and Dmitri. Trouble begins in the family following the return of his youngest son Aloshy (Fahadh Faasil), from the Navy who finds his family's domination over the helpless tenants unacceptable. The power struggle among the brothers intensifies, paving way for a cunning Angoor Rawther (Jayasurya) to enter Munnar. As the monopoly of the family slowly breaks down, realisations strike old Iyob one after another but he is far too gone to rectify anything. Almost everything is perfect about Iyobinte Pusthakam but its incredible cinematography deserves special mention. The movie has some of the finest one-liners that thrilled Malayali viewers in recent times. Fahad is spectacular as always and there are not many others who can bring the war-hardened but warmhearted Aloshy to life. The supporting cast including Padmapriya, Lal, Vinayakan Jinu Joseph and others also fair equally well.

Kammatipaadam (Hotstar)

Directed by Rajiv Ravi, Kammatipaadam won Vinayakan the Kerala State Award for the best actor. The story is an ode to the displaced and disrespected community upon whose sweat and blood the metro city of Ernakulam was constructed. Krishnan (Dulquer Salmaan) is forced to revisit his past that he had buried long back, after receiving a distress call from his childhood partner in crime Ganga (Vinayakan). Though he owes Ganga nothing, the unfinished conversation brings him back home where some "unfinished business" awaits him...  A bloody revenge tale on the outside Kammatipaadam remains truthful and passionate about the politics it discusses. We see a young man cursing his granddad for putting his generation in a tough spot by passing on to them nothing but "useless" agrarian lifestyle to the same guy being demoted to just a "toughie" from "partner" in an important meeting. Manikandan R Achari also puts up a strong performance in the movie that gives you a lot to think about as the credits start rolling.

Ishq (Amazon Prime)

A young couple sets out to celebrate one of their birthdays only to be harassed and blackmailed for an entire night by two men disguised as policemen. The young man's male ego is hurt when his lover remains mum to his questions about "what happened" behind the closed door with just her and the man inside. He vows revenge and sets out to track down the man's wife to give him a taste of his own medicine. Shane Nigam and Ann Sheethal play Sachi and Vasudha, while Shine Chacko is intimidating as Alvin the ambulance driver. With having avenged for the humiliation they went through, Sachi kneels before his love with the wedding ring only to be surprised yet again. Ishq's closing scene is one of the finest you are likely to see for a long time and make us rethink about our concept of love.

Varathan (Hotstar)

This one's plot is simple, yet important yet relevant. Having had enough of stalking and moral policing by some abusive locals, a "varathan" (outsider) and decides to take them on - confident that the Judiciary has got his back. The movie clearly exposes multiple social depravities that we often tend to bail out on the accounts of "rural lifestyle" and "traditions." A free adaptation of Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs (1971),  Abi's (Fahad Faasil) final transformation into the fearless tough guy is worthy of watching though not entirely convincing. Amal Neerad is once again in full command of his craft throughout the movie. Aishwarya Lekshmi is convincing as the bold heroine ho has no issues pulling a trigger or two, while Sharf u-Dheen matures into a shameless villain from his routine comical roles.

Virus (Amazon Prime)

You don't get to watch a decent medical thriller every day. Based on the 2018 Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala's Kozhikode district, this Aashiq Abu movie will give you a chill or two. The movie narrates how the government machinery functioned during one of the darkest times of modern Kerala - trying to contain the deadly outbreak as soon as possible along with managing the panicking people. However, the emotional elements attached to illness and death are not excluded in the process.

North 24 Kaatham (Hotstar)

Disclaimer1: We are not trying to make you fall in love with Fahadh Faasil. It's just that his movies are too good to overlook.Disclaimer 2: To make something happen in Kerla on a hartal day, the first thing you need to dump is logic.

Hari, a nerdy techie who is under medication for OCD (Obsessive compulsive disorder), is sent for an official meeting against his will. Thanks to his silly believes and abnormal mannerisms, he is not very popular among his colleagues or family. The young man's life is set to change as he joins an old man (Nedumudi Venu) and a social work student (Swathy Reddy) en route to the former's home on a hartal day to reunite him with his ill wife before it's too late. Debutant Anil Radhakrishnan Menon's plot is not flawless, but Fahadh's performance keeps us hooked to the screen and makes this one worth your time.