With back-to-back hits Mollywood is on a roll

A remarkable resurgence has been observed in the Malayalam film industry as it has shattered its recent slump with a series of successful releases in the year 2024. Overcoming a period of box office flops in 2023, Mollywood has risen like the proverbial phoenix with five exceptional films that have captivated audiences across Kerala.

Since the commencement of the year, the industry’s offerings, namely “Abraham Ozler,” “Anweshippin Kandethum,” “Premalu,” “Bramayugam,” and “Manjummel Boys,” have become the talk of the town, amassing an impressive combined gross collection of over ₹200 crore by March 1, according to the estimates provided by the Film Exhibitors’ United Organisation of Kerala (FEUOK).

The excitement for cinema doesn’t seem to wither despite the heat wave and the traditional lull of the exam season, as moviegoers continue to throng theaters. The adrenaline rush of “Premalu,” the mystery of “Bramayugam,” and the allure of “Manjummel Boys” keep drawing enthusiastic fans.

The month of February proved to be particularly bountiful for Malayalam cinema. Four consecutive hits, “Anweshippin Kandethum,” “Premalu,” “Bramayugam,” and “Manjummel Boys,” set the box office ablaze with spectacular performances.

“The phenomenal success started with the release of ‘Abraham Ozler’ in January, which is on the verge of hitting a Kerala gross of about ₹35 crore. This was followed by ‘Anweshippin Kandethum’ with collections nearing ₹25 to ₹30 crore; ‘Premalu,’ a film expected to cross the coveted ₹100 crore mark, is currently standing at ₹70 crore as of March 1. ‘Bramayugam’ is sprinting with a gross collection between ₹35 to ₹40 crore and shows no signs of slowing down. The recent sensation, ‘Manjummel Boys,’ accumulated over ₹30 crore just in its opening week, promising to skyrocket further,” detailed Suresh Shenoy, an exhibitor and executive committee member of FEUOK. He added, “The audience response has been phenomenal, a trend we haven’t seen in quite some time.”

The success story isn’t set to conclude anytime soon with highly anticipated titles such as “Aadujeevitham,” “Aavesham,” and “Varshangalku Sesham” queued up for release. The producers are naturally overjoyed with the stellar box office openings marking the debut of 2024.

“The euphoric audience reception to these hits confirms the adage that content is indeed king. The recipe for success is complex, with elements such as pre-release buzz, the reputation of the production house, a stellar cast, and an engaging narrative significantly influencing a film’s box office destiny,” explained B. Rakesh, the secretary of the Kerala Film Producers’ Association. He emphasized the success of these recent titles as a signal to producers that investing in unique content and storytelling is the contemporary pathway to triumph.

As optimism blooms within the industry regarding this potential turning point, the shadows of rising production costs and shrinking revenues from ancillary streams like streaming rights loom large.

“Digital platforms are now basing their offers on a movie’s theatrical performance, a shift from when they readily paid attractive rates for content,” commented G. Suresh Kumar, the president of the Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce. “Another looming concern is the escalating production costs, particularly the remunerations for actors and technicians, which consume approximately 65% of a movie’s budget.”

Mollywood’s current trajectory serves as a testament to its resilience and ability to adapt and thrive amidst challenges, reestablishing its place in the hearts of cinephiles with a diverse array of films that blend compelling content with commercial viability. As the industry embraces its newfound momentum, there is hope and confidence that it will not only sustain but also expand its horizons to achieve greater artistic and financial milestones.

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