These films have great repeat value and will ensure that you laugh every single time!

Want nariyal ka pani Films that define the Malayali brand of humour
Flix Mollywood Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 13:07

Sarcastic, emotional, slapstick, screwball, ensemble...all in one. That’s the Malayali brand of humour, perfected over almost two decades in Malayalam cinema.

Priyadarshan is, no doubt, the doyen of this brand and rightly so. Perhaps, one of the reasons Priyadarshan comedies proved so popular was their blatant anti-intellectualism. They openly mocked the perceived pretentiousness of the new wave and art-house films of the ‘Institute’ crowd and serious filmmakers.

But there were also others like Sathyan Anthikkad and Siddique-Lal who managed to intertwine emotions, human distress, satire, politics and romance with the need for humourous storytelling. And so, the brand of humour simply got more layered and eclectic.

Here’s a selection of the classics. This list is Part 1. There's more coming!

Poochakkoru Mookkuthi (1984): Priyadarshan’s big debut was this screwball comedy featuring an ensemble cast of actors; later to become a norm in all his films. Based on the Charles Dickens play The Strange Gentlemen, the film introduced the whole gamut of irreverent sitcom into the realm of our cinema.

A lot of quirky, loony and starkly ordinary characters (from Sukumari’s blinded-by-bright-city-lights Revathi to the canny housekeeper played by Jagathy) are thrown into hilarious situations and how they get stuck in or ease out of them forms the crux of the film.

With Mohanlal, Shankar, Sukumari, Kuthiravattam Pappu, Menaka, Soman and Jagathy Sreekumar at the helm, the laughs never stop coming in.

Dheem Tharikida Thom (1986): One of the most underrated comedies by Priyadarshan, DTT is about an underdog, Shivasubrahmanyam (Maniyampillai Raju), who battles a stubborn paatti, social mores and his own plummeting self-esteem to win a girl he loves.

Set against the backdrop of a ballet troupe, the film features all the usual Priyan favourites (Nedumudi Venu, Jagathy Sreekumar, Sreenivasan, Mukesh and Kuthiravattam Pappu) along with Lissy playing the female lead. Interestingly years later, some elements of the film were reprocessed effectively in Siddique-Lal’s Mannar Mathai Speaking.

Boeing Boeing (1985): A remake of the American comedy film of the same name, this Priyadarshan film is centered around a man who is dating three women simultaneously and gasps for breath to save himself from being caught by them.

A fair-weather friend ensures that he is never let off this complicated romantic merry-go-round. One of the highlights is the terrific partnership between Mohanlal and Mukesh and the superb outing by Sukumari as Dikkammayi.

Mazha Peyyunnu Maddalam Kottunnu (1986): It’s a classic in every sense, not just for the rip-roaring comic scenes but also for how it subtly mocks the hypocrisy of the Malayali.

The story (by Jagadish, who also has a cameo at the end) is thoroughly entertaining with farcical and caricature like characters. Krishna Kurup (Jagathy Sreekumar) and Koma Kurup (Kuthiravattam Pappu) are feuding cousins who are competing over property and social currency. Enter the US-return Madhavan a.k.a MA Dhavan and his one-time-classmate-now-driver Shambu and what follows is a hilarious mix up of identities (which again seems to be a Priyan trope).

Nadodikattu (1987): One of the finest social satires in Malayalam cinema that picked on the trials and tribulations of two unemployed young men. They are the biggest motifs of middle-class youth’s struggles in the state and about how they take the world head-on with their wry sense of wit.

Add a smidgen of hilarious sub-characters (the funny don Ananthan Nambiar, the grim hitman Pavanayi, Gafoor) and you get a timeless comedy.

Peruvannapurathe Visheshangal (1989): A grouchy old matriarch, a tharavadu that is steeped in archaic traditions, uncouth uneducated brothers who spend their days unproductively, and the spoilt beautiful granddaughter. In comes a lanky young man and he picks up a fight with the lady. And the story turns on its head.

Add to this a medley of naïve villagers, a studio guy who is eyeing the tea-shop owner’s daughter, a college Romeo, a karyasthan, and... wait for it - a black Mercedes driving in one of Malayalam cinema’s most clichéd cinematic representation, the “adichuthalikari’s son” - what fun!

Pattanapravesham (1990): For a generation of Malayalis, the image of unsuspecting detective duo Dasan and Vijayan in brown trench coats and hats remains one of the most memorable childhood cinematic memories.

The irrepressible duo takes off from where they left in Nadodikattu. Be it measuring the length and breadth of a dummy human to masquerading as cobblers to stabbing the poor birdwatcher with chloroform syringes, this Sathyan Anthikad film cannot be watched without falling off your chairs laughing.

Sanmanassullavarkku Samadhanam (1986): Yet another Sathyan-Sreenivasan-Mohanlal classic partnering, this film also focuses on a middle-class young man who is burdened with debt and has the task of saving his house from getting foreclosed.

The plot thickens when he has no option but to ask his tenants to vacate the town house. Mohanlal is in his most beautiful natural form where he can evoke a laugh with just a smirk. Sreenivasan is this daredevil cop who also falls head-over-heels in love with the heroine. Though it ends on an emotional note, it is rip-roaring fun.

Chithram (1987): What could possibly go wrong when a young man is hired to pretend as if he were a woman’s husband? The film chronicles the various complicated situations he lands in, coated with loads of humour.

Mohanlal’s con act is the highpoint along with his hilarious pow-wow with Ranjini and Nedumudi Venu. There is of course Sreenivasan who plays this greedy nephew who ends up outsmarting himself. True, the climax is tragic, but till then it’s a non-stop joyride.

Mukundetta Sumitra Vilikkunnu (1988): Adapted from a Marathi play Sasa Ani Kasav (The Hare and the Tortoise), the film is a sardonic take on good v/s evil.

On one side is a young man, naïve and honest, who gets taken for a ride by the world around him. On the other side is his friend, a street-smart swindler who manipulates everyone who trusts him. Into this simple scenario, Priyadarshan brings his usual suspects with their idiosyncrasies.

Look out for those scenes where he bluntly laughs at the hypocrisy and double-standards of society—an enraged Jagathy holds-up the entire colony when he gets hold of a love letter, which he assumes is for his wife. Or the scene after that where Mohanlal is ridiculously cute where he is trying to save himself from being caught.

Panchavadi Paalam (1984): Directed and written by K.G. George, based on a short story of the same name by humorist Veloor Krishnankutty, it features an ensemble cast. The satire mocks the socio-political scenario in the state in the guise of hilarious caricatures and a farcical storyline.

A film ahead of its times exactly predicted the recurring disorder in Indian politics — corruption. Set in an imaginary Airavathakuzhi panchayat, the movie is a hilarious ride on how warring political groups rally together to construct a new bridge with the support of corrupt officials and contractors.

Sandesham (1991): What happens when two brothers belonging to two different political parties live under the same roof? Absolute comical chaos! Sreenivasan brilliantly takes on the existing socio-political scene in the state and places it in the backdrop of a middle-class family and empties truckloads of satire into every single scene.

Be it the Communist v/s Congress wiles, or mocking the pretentious “idealism” that constitutes these political parties, Sandesham is a classic and continues to be a reference point for scriptwriters and meme writers in our state.

Gandhinagar 2nd Street (1988): When it comes to ripping apart the Malayalee sense of false ego, superiority, and hypocrisy, nobody does it better than Sreenivasan. He pulls it off here with hilarious side-effects in this simple tale of a young man who dons the role of a Nepali Gorkha in a middle-class residential colony to make ends meet. Not only are they impressed by his lame attempt at bad Hindi, they also make full use of his situation to their advantage.

Note the ridiculously realistic characters who walk in between—the busy pulp fiction writer, the headstrong secretary, the gossipy housewife, and a Romeo who never gives up his quest to woo girls. And what performances!

Kilukkam (1991): Inspired by The Roman Holiday, Priyadarshan sets out to make the desi version with a lot of madcap characters and makes sure there isn’t a single dull moment in the film. Placed in Ootty, a local tourist guide’s routine life gets a jolt with the arrival of a rich heiress.

It doesn’t take much time for him to realise that he has indeed been duped royally by the lady. And then he finds himself chaperoning her. The superb chemistry of Mohanlal and Jagathy Sreekumar, Thilakan’s mild comic timing, and Innocent at his irrepressible best—clearly nothing can go wrong with these actors around.

Ramji Rao Speaking (1989): What was till then the stronghold of Priyadarshan and Sathyan Anthikad got a refreshing diversion with the arrival of Siddique-Lal, who brought a new brand of irreverent comedy into Malayalam cinema. They weave a tale around middle-class woes and unemployment, layering the issues with generous doses of humour. Fine actors, super comic lines, and the beauty of the middle-class all came together nicely in this film.

It also nudged a bunch of mimicry artists out of anonymity into the world of cinema.

Godfather (1991): It’s a classic mega serial story—two warring families headed by a patriarch and matriarch nurturing a generation of hatred. A romance breaks out and all hell breaks loose. In fact, this could be fodder for any mass Telugu or Tamil film starring a top actor.

But then it’s Siddique-Lal at the helm and they make a rollicking comedy amidst this humdrum. Look out for the assembly line of characters and their names—the grim Anjooran, the cunning Anappara Achamma, the goofy Mayankutty, the hapless Swaminathan. When it comes to situational comedy, no one does it better—look out for the little nuggets of comic gems dropped at the most unsuspecting scenes. Epic!

In Harihar Nagar (1990): The one liner is simple—four jobless young men who begin and end their day by wooing women find themselves in a dangerous mess, thanks to their own foolishness. Again, it’s how they sneak in comedy at the most improbable scenes makes In Harihar Nagar such a riot.

Also, the goofy characters—each one with their own brand of silliness, played with aplomb by Mukesh, Jagadeesh, Asokan and Siddique. With a lot of help from the queen of comedy, Philomena.

Punjabi House (1998): A young man decides to drown to save himself from debtors. He gets rescued by a pair of nutty fishermen and finds himself having to work in a Punjabi household to pay off one of their debts. Quite the silly tale, isn’t it?

And then Rafi-Mecartin further up the silliness by bringing in a load of featherbrained characters and you get probably the most iconic comedy film of the 90s. Harishree Asokan’s Remanan is already a legend amongst trolls.

This article was originally published on The News Minute has syndicated the article. You can read the original article here.

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