Vanaprastham was directed by Shaji N. Karun and had Mohanlal in the lead. The story revolved around the struggles of a talented '
Kathakali' artist among a casteist society. The plot is woven around the art form of 'Kathakali' Mohanlal won a national award for his portrayal of an artist exploring love, peace and finally, the darker shades of his mind in the art. The film has been screened at the Cannes and the L.A film festivals.
Another Mohanlal-starrer, Vasthuhara was the last movie by the maestro Aravindan and told about the plight of migrants in Bengal. The story captured the uncertainty, sorrow, and desperation of the refugee families in a way never seen before in Malayalam cinema. Aravindan's portrayal of the oppression faced by the refugees was stark, touching and left an impact on the viewers. The film won the state award for Best Picture in 1990.
Director Jayaraj's version of Shakespear's 'Óthello' was set in the backdrop of 'Theyyam' an intense artform. Jayaraj exquisitely mixes the fault and the ensuing tragedy of Othello with the intensity and lethal beauty of Theyyam and what emerges is a gem of a movie. The tale of jealousy, anger and grief became one of the classics in Malayalam.
Suresh Gopi won a national award for his portrayal of Kannan Perumalayan, a sincere but insecure husband.
In Adoor Gopalakrishnan's adaptation of Zacharia's novel, 'Bhaskarapattelarum ente jeevithavum', Mammootty played the cruel, oppressive landlord and M.V Gopakumar played the scared and exploited servant. A movie which explored the slavery that existed in the hilltop plantations. It was a study of fear and how it can lead to the loss of humanity. Mammootty won a national award for his personification of a caged oppressor.
5. Daivathinte vikrithikal(1992)
Daivathinte vikrithikal was directed by
Lenin Rajendran and portrayed the story of post-colonial Mahe, a former French colony. Raghuvaran plays Alphonso, a magician who refuses to leave his hometown despite the political change and evergrowing poverty. The movie provides the realization that man always returns to his roots. The film was the first to discuss the issue of ethnicity in Malayalam.
Parinayam, starring Mohini in the lead, was directed by Hariharan and remains the best feminist movie in Malayalam. The film criticized the patriarchy in the Namboodiri Brahmin community of Kerala and discussed the issues faced by the Namboodiri women. Mohini was brilliant as a woman who is not willing to be bogged down by the age-old customs but stands up against the patriarchal society.
Bhoothakkannaadi was one of the first movie to discuss women's safety in the society. The dangers faced by young girls are portrayed through the eyes of a deranged clocksmith, played by Mammootty. In Lohithadas's debut, the director explores the intricate workings of fear, using the clocksmith as a father who couldn't come to terms with the fate of his daughter.
Fazil's finest movie, Manichitrathazhu is still being looked upon as the best psychological drama from India. Narrating the struggle between a Multiple Personality Disorder patient and an eccentric psychiatrist, the movie combined myths, horror and the dangerous power of escapist imagination. This Mohanlal-starrer won Shobhana both, the state and national awards for best actress.
Yet another Mohanlal-starrer, Kaalapani told the torturous life of prisoners in the infamous cellular jail in Port Blair aka Kaalapani. Mohanlal plays a political prisoner wrongly accused and thrown into prison. Priyadarsan's best movie yet, the film narrates the tales of protests, escapes and friendship in prison. With a stark portrayal of the atrocities of the British raj, the film won Mohanlal another state award.
One of the best political satires from India, Sandesam was written by Sreenivasan and directed by Sathyan Anthikkad. A black comedy which starred Jayaram and Sreenivasan as two siblings belonging to opposing political parties, the movie was a humorous take on the youth which blindly follows a political ideology while failing to lead a practical life in the society. With spot-on sarcasm and memorable lines, the movie attained the status of a political classic.