23 Best Malayalam Movies on Netflix (Feb 2024)

Netflix has proved to be a wonderful platform for Malayalam cinema. With the current facelift that this particular regional industry is going through, the online streaming service has made available for the public those films that are daring, different, and not exactly oriented for a commercial audience. Some of the films on this list, like ‘Eeda’ (2018), have largely shocking themes and interesting filmmaking styles. A picture like ‘Chaayam Poosiya Veedu’ (2015), which would probably fail to find a big market in the theatres due to its bold character portrayals, has found a reasonably high following on the internet.

Be it romance, action, humor, tragedy, or any other genre, Malayalam movies offer a very tangible portrayal of their characters and stories that do not affect our suspension of disbelief in any way. This is what makes them so special.

23. Thallumaala (2022)

In the dynamic tale of ‘Thallumaala,’ Wazim’s life unfolds as a series of confrontations, with a crescendo reached during a tumultuous wedding day brawl. This transforms Wazim into the viral sensation Manavalan Wazim. Complicating matters, his bride, Beepaathu, an even more prominent internet figure, adds a layer of complexity to his newfound fame. Police S.I. Regi Mathew, seeking redemption, envisions a return to normalcy through a decisive fistfight with Wazim. As the two contenders brace for their final clash, Wazim must not only navigate the impending brawl but also embark on the challenge of winning back the heart of his lost love and former bride, Beepaathu. You can watch the movie here.

22. One (2021)

Starring Mammootty, Murali Gopy, Joju George, and Siddique, ‘One,’ aka ‘1,’ is a political drama film directed by Santhosh Viswanath. The movie centers upon a formidable Kerala chief minister who has made a name for himself and earned public devotion for his uncompromising attitude towards corruption. However, a lot of politicians also hate him for his dictatorial decisions and desperately want him out. But when a power tussle is started by a social media post, the inflexible principles of the people’s chief minister are tested as he is pushed to fight for his name and the greater good. You can watch the movie here.

21. Padmini (2023)

A comedy-drama helmed by Senna Hegde and written by Deepu Pradeep, ‘Padmini’ follows a college lecturer named Rameshan (Kunchacko Boban) who earns the name ‘Padmini’ after his wife Smrithi (Vincy Aloshious) elopes on the first night of their marriage in a Premier Padmini car. Two years pass by, but people still mock Rameshan and call him by that name. Thankfully, after multiple failed attempts at looking for a woman he can marry, he meets a friend from college whose name is also Padmini (Madonna Sebastian), and they fall in love. However, their decision to get married won’t come to fruition until Rameshan gets a divorce from Smrithi. Thus begins the hunt for Smrithi, and problems don’t stop even after she is found. To find out whether Rameshan and Padmini ultimately get married, you have to watch the film here as you must.

20. Attention Please (2021)

‘Attention Please’ is a Jithin Issac Thomas-directed thriller that follows a jobless scriptwriter/filmmaker named Hari (Vishnu Govindhan) who tells his working friends a series of stories that have an unsettling element despite being purely verbal and underscored by sound effects. All the events take place in one location, and how the movie balances its realistic and dramatic elements is what makes this film a true-to-form thriller that is also a commentary on casteism. To tell you more would spoil it for you, so we urge you to watch. You can do so right here.

19. Maniyarayile Ashokan (2020)

‘Maniyarayile Ashokan,’ directed by Shamsu Zayba and produced by Dulquer Salmaan, is a feel-good movie designed to give hope to every man out there that they will find their dream woman someday, regardless of their flaws, and boy, will she be perfect. ‘Maniyarayile Ashokan’ tells the story of Ashokan, a middle-aged man who does not look like he stepped off a movie poster, as he experiences major FOMO because of all his friends getting married and settling into a life of blessed domesticity. Ashokan just wants to get married to a nice girl and start a family, but no luck so far. To fix his “planetary alignments” (as told by an astrologer), Ashokan goes to some unnecessary lengths. There’s not much substance to the story, but the cinematography is beautiful, along with all the actors. Watch it as a 2-hour-long pleasant escape from the harsh realities of the world here.

18. Forensic (2020)

‘Forensic’ is a crime thriller that brings an investigating officer and a medico-legal advisor together (two people who have some history but thankfully not the romantic kind) as they try to catch a serial killer who especially targets young kids. This film does not delve into the details of the killer’s background too much because, as the protagonist explains early on, sometimes, the thrill of the crime is the psychopath’s motivation and nothing else. What this film also does not do is provide a romantic sub-story of any kind, which is great because, seriously, no one would be interested in a romantic track when there is a child-murdering killer on the loose. ‘Forensic’ makes for a decent crime thriller, with some power-packed performances from the main cast. Feel free to check it out here.

17. Varane Avashyamund (2020)

Anoop Sathyan’s directorial debut ‘Varane Avashyamund’ is a feel-good family movie that was meant to be the ultimate soothing comfort watch for relaxing Sundays. If only it was better scripted, with the characters having more depth, it could have been something great. But alas, the movie remains surfacy and the characters shallow. But that in no way means that it’s not a good film. It is. The story, set in a Chennai apartment building, is about the interactions between newly moved-in neighbors and runs like a sweet slice-of-life affair. Overall, it is an endearing and heartwarming film that will make you smile. You can check it out here.

16. Kappela (2020)

Muhammed Musthafa’s debut as director ‘Kappela’ is a visually stunning film that plays into the “deceptive appearances” trope. Jessie (Anna Ben) is a young girl living in a remote Kerala village who dreams of making it out of there someday (mainly because of her strict and overly controlling father). She dials the wrong number one day, only to have the person on the other end call her back regularly. This person is Vishnu (Roshan Matthew), who appears to be a genuinely nice guy living in a big town. For Jessie to fall in love with him, she doesn’t need more than the allure of town, away from her village. That he has the good looks and oodles of charm is just a bonus.

Jessie runs away to live with Vishnu. That’s when the narrative changes from “sweet, romantic slice-of-life” to “duplicitous betrayal.” Ultimately, the movie’s message is rooted in patriarchy, though subtly – that girls can only have a safe life as long as they adhere to the rules laid down by their father and mother. The ending notwithstanding, ‘Kappela’ is still a really good film, winning at cinematography, scripting, and acting. You can watch the movie here.

15. Night Drive (2022)

One thing leads to another. This isn’t a proverb, but it is perhaps the oldest one that exists and one that shines bright in ‘Night Drive’ directed by Vysakh. How a beautiful long drive can turn into a worst-case scenario is presented to you in a dish of fate garnished with corruption. The events surround Georgy (Roshan Mathew) and Riya (Anna Ben), who are childhood friends and present sweethearts. Dreams, aspirations, misunderstandings, politics, and murder. Writer Abhilash Pillai takes all of these and provides us with an apt mix to relish and enjoy; thank god for fiction. You may watch the film here.

14. Uyare (2019)

Acid attacks are becoming one of the most common crimes against women in South Asia, and the effects such an attack tends to have on the person involved is extremely shocking. The central character of this film is a woman called Pallavi, who dreams of becoming a flight attendant. However, her plans are completely ruined when her former boyfriend throws acid at her and disfigures her face permanently. Pallavi also loses some of her vision as a result of this attack. Despite her poor eyesight, Pallavi comes across a guy called Vishal, who wants to hire her as a flight attendant. However, she is advised against doing so by her father, who says that doing so might pose a threat to the security of the passengers.

However, Vishal talks about the discrimination against Pallavi in a press conference, and she gets uncomfortable at first when her story is shared with the world. But she is finally convinced by her father to give the career a shot once again. A poignant tale, ‘Uyare’ is a very relevant film in the South Asian context. Although the film resorts to cliches in its storyline, the way everything is executed brilliantly definitely deserves our appreciation. You may watch ‘Uyare’ here.

13. Vikrithi (2019)

‘Vikrithi’ means mischief. Someone commits what he thinks is only a little harmless mischief, and someone else’s whole life is ruined because of it. That’s the premise of Emcee Thomas’s ‘Vikrithi,’ which is, interestingly enough, based on a true incident. The story is that of Sameer, a man with a need to overshare on social media about anything and everything, one day taking a picture of a drunkard passed out on the Kochi metro and posting it as a meme that goes viral.

However, that person sleeping on the metro is not a drunkard at all, but a man named Eldho, who is hard of hearing and mute, returning home in utter exhaustion after spending two sleepless nights caring for his sick daughter in the hospital. But Sameer’s careless post sets the ball rolling, and events unfold that lead to a lot of grief and suffering for Eldho. This comedy-drama is one of the best Malayalam films in the last couple of years and only suffers from slightly haywire scenes in the second half. You can stream the film here.

12. Sudani From Nigeria (2018)

A beautiful story of friendship set in a small village in the Indian state of Kerala, ‘Sudani From Nigeria’ is a film people of all ages can enjoy. The story begins with a local soccer manager, Majeed, who manages to bring success to his team by hiring three Nigerian players. One of these players, Samuel, gets injured badly and needs time to recuperate. Majeed realizes that Samuel cannot afford the hospital charges and thus proposes that Samuel should stay with him and his mother. Samuel starts living with Majeed, and soon, the two of them develop a warm friendship.

Since Majeed’s townsfolk have never seen a foreigner before, Samuel also becomes quite popular in the village. This draws the police’s attention, and they soon come enquiring about Samuel’s passport. While telling a beautiful story, this film also shows us how suffering is one common element in the human experience. This a feel-good movie that will remain with you long after you watch it. Every aspect of this film is of superlative quality. You can stream it here.

11. Angamaly Diaries (2017)

To present a film in a style never before carried out in Malayalam cinema, with a cast of 86 fresh faces, is a big risk to take. Director Lijo Jose Pelliserry tells his tale of a bunch of outlaws in the streets of Angamaly with a brash, raw, unforgiving execution, making for a zany, almost insane realization of events in a film that is rather well-acted and well-written. A cinematographic achievement, the 11-minute long shot that climaxes the film is truly one of the greatest achievements of Indian celluloid.

There isn’t much to say about the plot of this film, which might be its biggest flaw, but in its defense, ‘Angamaly Diaries’ had advertised itself as a ‘local’ film, one that refused to care about conventional filmmaking methods, thereby not catering to the expectations of average filmgoers, giving them an experience totally out of the blue. Thankfully, this was one they could take home, making it one of Pelliserry’s many effective experimental endeavors. You can stream it here.

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10. Thottappan (2019)

Shanavas K Bavakkutty’s second directorial venture ‘Thottappan’ deviates quite a lot from the book that it is adapted from – Francis Noronha’s “Thottapan.” But that deviation from the original story is not necessarily bad. Apart from a little bit of unnecessary flab, the movie is almost perfect and authentic in its portrayal of life in the remote villages of India, far removed from city life. The story follows Itthak, who is the Thottappan (which means godfather) of Sarah, his late partner and best friend’s daughter. After his friend died, Itthak gave everything else up to care for Sarah and bring her up as his own. The film deals with themes of parenthood, brotherhood, family, community, trust, and betrayal. It is a very raw, real, and riveting watch, made special by superb performances by its actors. You can watch the movie here.

9. Kilometers and Kilometers (2020)

‘Kilometers and Kilometers’ is a comedy-drama that brings together Josemon, a handyman from Kerala, India, and Cathy, an American woman who has come to India on a trip. The latter is looking for a tour guide who can give her the tour, to which the former agrees because he needs the money and perhaps a potential chance at love. The events that follow keep us intrigued while taking us through the gorgeous Indian landscapes. A feel-good movie in every way, ‘Kilometers and Kilometers’ offers a great binge-watch that you can enjoy with your family here.

8. Vaashi (2022)

Two advocates, Ebin (Tovino Thomas) and Madhavi (Keerthy Suresh), who are in love, find themselves facing each other in a court of law. In ‘Vaashi,’ directed by Vishnu G. Raghav, we get to see two conflicted individuals who can neither give up on their love nor their professions, and this makes sense. But what happens as a result is what the story reveals. The film poses the question of what comes first, love or profession, and answering it can get a lot tough at times. And whatever decision the two leads take will come at a cost. Can they afford it? The answer lies in ‘Vaashi.’ Feel free to check out the movie here.

7. Jana Gana Mana (2022)

The events of ‘Jana Gana Mana,’ directed by Dijo Jose Antony, occur after a college professor is murdered. A college protest is suppressed, but public outrage calls for an investigation by the state government. Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Sajjan Kumar (Suraj Venjaramoodu) is brought in, and his actions put him in court, where he faces a prosecution led by Advocate Aravind Swaminathan (Prithviraj Sukumaran). What follows is the shocking revelation of a string of truths that connect the police officer and the advocate. You might want to listen carefully to avoid missing even a single word. This is a hearing you wouldn’t want to miss. You can watch it here.

6. Kurup (2021)

Written by Jithin K. Jose, K. S. Aravind, and Daniel Sayooj Nair, ‘Kurup’ is an Indian Malayalam-language crime thriller film directed by Srinath Rajendran. The Dulquer Salmaan and Indrajith Sukumaran starrer follows the titular protagonist as he embarks on a quest to find a man with a similar appearance to him. Once he has found the right man, the consummate criminal plans to use him as a tool for self-advancement by falsifying his death and making quick money by cheating the system, but will he be able to pull off his ambitious goal? You can watch ‘Kurup’ here and find out for yourself.

5. Kuttavum Shikshayum (2022)

It is high time that we admit that the heroism that we associate with cops in movies needs to come not from how they look in their uniforms but from the pain they undertake in finding the criminals. Looks cannot kill, and this Rajeev Ravi directorial makes the fact clear with utmost clarity while pulling you into its plot. Based on a true incident, the story brings five police officers from Kerala (extreme south of India) to Uttar Pradesh (north-central India) to nab the culprits who robbed a jewelry store. Yes, it may not sound that dangerous as we do not mention any murder, but as they say, be careful what you wish for. The way the plot builds the tension and makes its way to the climax is nothing short of pulsating. You have to watch it to experience it. You can do so here.

4. Nayattu (2021)

Director Martin Prakkat makes clear the twisted game of politics and how cops are subjected to the power of politicians in this thriller drama. When three police officers, namely Maniyan (Joju George), Praveen (Kunchako Boban), and Sunitha (Nimisha Sajayan), get into a scuffle with a goon/party worker and put him in jail, orders from above make them release him. This is followed by an accident wherein the same three officers become suspects and are forced into hiding until they figure out a way to prove that they are innocent. There are no words to mince here. Corruption runs supreme, and ‘Nayattu’ is strong evidence that stresses this truth. You may watch the film here.

3. Minnal Murali (2021)

Starring Tovino Thomas, Guru Somasundaram, Femina George, and Aju Varghese, ‘Minnal Murali’ is an Indian Malayalam-language superhero film. This Basil Joseph directorial follows an ordinary tailor named Jaison, who accidentally gets struck by lightning and, to everyone’s surprise, escapes unharmed. A few days following the violent incident, he realizes that he has somehow gained superhero abilities. Sadly, before he can use them for the greater good, Jaison is suspected of an unsolved crime by the law enforcement authorities. When his villagers turn against him, he realizes that he must fight for himself. You can stream the film here.

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2. Njan Prakashan (2018)

A wonderfully made satire, this 2018 film tells the story of a man called Prakashan who loathes his job as a nurse and believes this profession is only suited for women. Prakashan plans to marry a girl who has a foreign nationality so that he can acquire a visa for that country without much hassle and then start a better life there. Prakashan gets to know that his former girlfriend Salomi is going to Germany, where she will be working as a nurse since the pay there is significantly higher than what she gets in Kerala, India.

Prakashan goes about collecting money, sometimes in rather shady ways, to buy tickets for himself and Salomi, but his endeavor reaches a crushing failure when he finally realizes that it was Salomi who has been making a fool of him for the money all along. How will Prakashan react to this situation? Will he be able to shape up his life after this big blow? If you want to know this, you’ve got to watch ‘Njan Prakashan.’ The film is brilliantly written, has some amazing characters, and is a very entertaining watch overall. The way the director handles the fine balance between the comedic and the darker moments in the film is truly appreciable. You can stream ‘Njan Prakashan’ here.

1. Iratta (2023)

Written and directed by Rohit M. G. Krishnan, ‘Iratta’ (‘Twin’) is a murder mystery film that tops our list of Malayalam movies on Netflix. Following the death of his twin brother ASI Vinod, DySP Pramod begins looking into the case. The initial three suspects all had motives to kill Vinod, but as the investigation progresses, they appear to have alibis. Vinod and Pramod had a troubled childhood because of their abusive father. When their parents divorced, while Pramod got the chance to be raised by their loving mother, their father forcefully took Vinod away, and the abuse continued for him for years, making him resentful toward his twin and mother as they got the chance to escape the hellhole when he didn’t. In the present day, Pramod’s investigation leads him to the discovery of certain horrifying truths that are bound to get you shocked and flabbergasted, for lack of a better phrase. To have an experience worth remembering, you can stream the movie here.

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