11 must-watch Malayalam Movies 2024: From Fahadh Faasil’s Iyobinte Pusthakam, Mohanlal’s Thanmathra to Prithviraj’s Urumi

Malayalam films are on a wave this year, with iconic releases one after another, so here’s a complete list of must-watch Malayalam movies that top our list!

Updated on Apr 17, 2024  |  09:18 PM IST |  113.2K
11 Must watch Malayalam Movies 2024: From Iyobinte Pusthakam to Urumi
11 Must watch Malayalam Movies 2024: From Iyobinte Pusthakam to Urumi (PC: Pinkvilla)

Malayalam movies have been an all-time favorite for many, especially those who love watching realistic and relatable stories. The list of Malayalam films not only has heart-touching stories but also includes a wide range of entertainers.

Taking a look into the lustrous filmography in Malayalam cinema, here are some of the must-watch Malayalam movies that are made for the best viewing experience.

11 must-watch Malayalam Movies

1. Iyobinte Pusthakam (2014)


  • Cast: Fahadh Faasil, Lal, Jayasurya, Isha Sharvani, Jinu Joseph, Chemban Vinod Jose, Vinayakan, Padmapriya
  • Timeline: 2 hours and 38 minutes
  • Where to watch: Disney+ Hotstar

If a list of top Malayalam movies had to include a film from recent years, then Fahadh Faasil starrer Iyobinte Pusthakam is a sure-shot place to start. The film, directed by Amal Neerad, is a period drama thriller set in Munnar during the 20th century.

The film tells the tale of Aloshy, a former officer of the Royal Indian Navy who returns to his home to meet his family and childhood love. His father, Iyob, a well-known figure in the land, lives an extravagant life with his elder sons, Ivan and Dimitri.

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Privileged in his life, Iyob objects to Aloshy’s life and his love interest, kicking him out of the house. The plot takes a more grave turn when the youngest figures that his brothers are plotting against their father, working as the henchman for a local businessman. The film is considered a mashup of literary works like William Shakespeare's King Lear, Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, and the Biblical Book of Job.

2. Manichitrathazhu (1993)

Manichitrathazhu Poster (PC: IMDb)

  • Cast: Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi, Shobana, Nedumudi Venu, Innocent, Vinaya Prasad, KPAC Lalitha
  • Timeline: 2 hours and 49 minutes
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar

In a list of top Malayalam movies everyone must watch, then the 1993 psychological thriller Manichitrathazhu is definitely making it to the roster. The film, starring Mohanlal in the lead role, features an epic horror movie that is still a cult classic even after years of release.

The movie tells the tale of a Nakulan (played by Suresh Gopi) who comes to his native Kerala for the holidays with his wife, Ganga. The couple decides to live in his ancestral mansion, Madampalli, despite warnings from his family that the place is haunted. Unwary of their claims, they start living in the mansion, along with his family members.

As days go on, strange things start to happen inside the mansion, making them all believe his cousin is behaving uncharacteristically. This urges him to get help from his psychiatrist friend, Dr. Sunny. The film is not only a classic in Malayalam cinema but has also been remade into several languages with plot changes, including Chandramukhi in Tamil and Telugu, Apthamitra in Kannada, and Bhool Bhulaiya in Hindi.

3. Jallikattu (2019)


  • Cast: Antony Varghese, Chemban Vinod Jose, Sabumon Abdusamad, Santhy Balachandran, Jaffar Idukki, Tinu Pappachan
  • Timeline: 1 hour and 35 minutes
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

An indie action thriller film that every person should at least watch on time for its compelling storyline and thematics is the Lijo Jose Pellissery-directed movie Jallikattu.

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The film, set in a hilly remote village, focuses on the tale of a day and night when all the villagers are trying to hunt down a bull that has escaped a local slaughterhouse. The hunt for the bull and the villagers' thirst for meat that day make up the rest of the plot, showcasing how humans can even turn into primitives under extreme chaos.

The theme beautifully showcases the primal instinct of people who crave violence and how they are no different from slaughterhouse animals at their worst.

4. Rajamanikyam (2005)

Rajamanikyam Poster (PC: IMDb)

  • Cast: Mammootty, Rahman, Manoj K Jayan, Cochin Haneefa, Ranjith, Salim Kumar
  • Timeline: 2 hours and 6 minutes
  • Where to watch: Disney+ Hotstar, Eros NOW

If you love action-comedy entertainers, a must-watch Malayalam movie is the Mammootty starrer Rajamanikyam. The film, directed by Anwar Rasheed in his debut venture, features the tale of Bellary Raja, an illiterate businessman from Bellary in Karnataka.

After the demise of his stepfather, a prominent and successful businessman in a South Indian village, Raja is declared the controller of his wealth and properties. This makes the former’s biological children frustrated and frantic, urging them to take any measures to eradicate Raja from their lives. The film, released in 2005, is a classic cult commercial entertainer, and it has even been remade in Kannada as Bellary Naga starring Vishnuvardhan.

5. Premam (2015)


  • Cast: Nivin Pauly, Sai Pallavi, Madonna Sebastian, Anupama Parameswaran, Shabareesh Varma, Krishna Sankar, Siju Wilson
  • Timeline: 2 hours and 36 minutes
  • Where to watch: Disney+ Hotstar

When it comes to must-watch movies and cult classics in Malayalam cinema, the 2015 Alphonse Puthren film Premam is making the list. This simple and beautifully crafted coming-of-age romance flick features the story of George and the romantic endeavors that take place throughout various stages of his life.

The protagonist suffers from various romantic heartbreaks and disappointments from his teenage years to adulthood. The film's plot focuses on how his romantic relationships take place and how he tackles them, developing his own character in life. The movie presents Nivin Pauly in the lead role, with Sai Pallavi, Madonna Sebastian, and Anupama Parameswaran playing key roles.

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6. Thanmathra (2005)

Thanmathra Poster (PC: IMDb)

  • Cast: Mohanlal, Meera Vasudevan, Arjun Lal, Nedumudi Venu, Jagathy Sreekumar, Innocent
  • Timeline: 2 hours and 40 minutes
  • Where to watch: Disney+ Hotstar

Back in 2005, the director of Aadujeevitham gave a classic Mohanlal film that will be celebrated for ages. It is not only a must-watch movie but is also hard to rewatch a second time. The film Thanmathra, directed by Blessy, features the story of Ramesan Nair, a government employee who leads a happy life with his wife and kids.

Taking things for a challenging turn, Ramehsan starts behaving strangely at home and in the office. Soon, he is diagnosed with Familial Alzheimer's disease, which causes a gradual loss of memory and cognitive abilities. The rest of the film focuses on how his family adjusts to the new circumstances, with Mohanlal putting forth one of the most celebrated and memorable performances.

7. Kumbalangi Nights (2019)


  • Cast: Soubin Shahir, Shane Nigam, Sreenath Bhasi, Fahadh Faasil, Mathew Thomas, Anna Ben, Grace Antony
  • Timeline: 2 hours and 15 minutes
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

If you love and crave feel-good drama movies, the 2019 flick Kumbalangi Nights is a must-watch. The film is about a dysfunctional family of four brothers who live on the outskirts of the village of Kumbalangi. After their father’s death and their mother abandoning them, the siblings share a love-hate relationship with being considered below society's standards.

After several simultaneous events take place in their lives, the brothers keep aside their animosity and tackle challenges together to lead a better life. For anyone who wonders what surprise holds in the film, indeed look out for a stellar performance by Fahadh Faasil as Shammi.

8. Premalu (2024)


  • Cast: Naslen, Mamitha Baiju, Sangeeth Prathap, Shyam Mohan, Akhila Bhargavan
  • Timeline: 2 hours and 36 minutes
  • Where to watch: Disney+ Hotstar

The latest Malayalam movie that is bound to make you chuckle and laugh out loud is the Naslen and Mamitha Baiju-led film Premalu. The rom-com flick, directed by Girish AD, tells the tale of Sachi, a recent engineering graduate who is bound to leave his native place and travel to the United Kingdom.

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However, due to financial troubles, his visa is rejected, prompting him to stay away from his hometown. He decides to go with his school friend to Hyderabad. In his aimless life, he meets Reenu, a new joinee in a software firm with whom he falls in love. The rest of the film showcases how Sachin woos Reenu and whether she will ever love him back.

Though the film offers a simple narrative, the making, music, and performance of every character make the film as special as it comes. With every film sequence, most guys below 25 will relate to Sachin and his life.

9. CID Moosa (2003)

CID Moosa Poster (PC: IMDb)

  • Cast: Dileep, Bhavana, Ashish Vidyarthi, Murali, Harisree Ashokan, Cochin Haneefa, Jagathy Sreekumar, Captain Raju
  • Timeline: 2 hours and 40 minutes
  • Where to watch: Sun NXT

For every Malayali kid who grew up in the late 90s and early 2000s, the film CID Moosa holds a special place. It is a must-watch movie and timelessly rewatchable. The film, starring Dileep in the lead role, is an action comedy featuring the tale of Moolamkuzhiyil Sahadevan.

A wannabe police officer who has made his life’s ambition of attaining his goal falls short when his enemies intentionally fail him in his test. In search of fulfilling his dreams, he becomes the protege of his uncle and enlists as a private detective called CID Moosa (an abbreviation of his name). In the turn of events, he saves the life of Kerala CM several times, making him a target of his assassin as well.

The film, directed by Johny Antony, was not only a massive success but also a prime example of brilliant writing in terms of using comedic devices like slapstick, wit, and sarcasm. Over the years, the film has developed a huge fan following and a massive cult.

10. Vanaprastham (1999)

Vanaprastham Poster (PC: IMDb)

  • Cast: Mohanlal, Suhasini Maniratnam, Mattannur Sankarankutty Marar, Kukku Parameswaran, Venmani Haridas
  • Timeline: 1 hour and 54 minutes
  • Where to watch: Disney+ Hotstar

The 1999 film Vanaprastham: The Last Dance is a classical musical drama that every cinephile and acting enthusiast should place on their must-watch list. The Indo-French Malayalam film, directed by Shaji N Karun, showcases the story of Kunjikuttan, a Kathakali dancer who is the illegitimate son of an upper-caste man.

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His father not accepting him as his own and facing the tribulations of being a lower caste woman’s son out of wedlock, his life is already in dire shambles. Despite all this, he manages to learn the art of Kathakali and falls into an affair with an educated and married upper-caste woman called Subhadra. Despite the affair, her attraction was to the avatar played by Kunjikuttan and not him, estranging him from his own son.

Denied seeing his son and rejected by his father, Kunjikuttan departs from the role of heroes in his art form and accepts demonic figures, making the film a must-watch psychological drama. Mohanlal's performance makes it clear why he is called the undeniable thespian of acting.

11. Urumi (2011)

Urumi Poster (PC: IMDb)

  • Cast: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Prabhu Deva, Genelia Deshmukh, Nithya Menen, Arya, Tabu, Vidya Balan, Jagathy Sreekumar
  • Timeline: 2 hours and 40 minutes
  • Where to watch: Sun NXT

If you’re someone who enjoys period masterpieces, then surely watch a personal favorite Prithviraj Sukumaran starrer called Urumi. The film, set during the 16th century of the Portuguese invasion of India, follows the tale of Murikkancheri Kelu, who seeks to avenge his father, who was vanquished by the colonizers.

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As his aide in the revenge mission, Kelu is accompanied by Vavvali of Nagapattinam, Princess Ayesha of Arackel, and many more. The film not only boasts a beautifully woven historical drama with exceptional acting performances but also has a list of beautiful musical tracks and action set pieces, making it a once-in-a-lifetime watch.

All the Malayalam movies listed above are some of the many amazing films the film industry has to offer, making them a must-watch for every cinephile and movie lover.

ALSO READ: 9 Best Kannada Horror Movies 2024: From Priyamani starrer Chaarulatha to Vishnuvardhan's Aptharakshaka

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About The Author

Goutham S is a native of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. A writer for a few years now, particularly following Indian

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Credits: Pinkvilla/IMDb
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