How 'Premalu,' 'Bramayugam' & 'Anweshippin Kandethum' rewrote Mollyood’s Rs 100 crore box office script

Film posters | Imdb

The Malayalam film industry seems to be shrugging off from crisis mode. Lack of super hit movies was dragging the revenues of the industry recently, as production costs of even low budget films skyrocketed. Such is the rise that even low budget films cost producers Rs 4 crore to Rs 7 crore. The rise in remuneration of even small stars as well as increase in wages of technical staff compounded its woes.

Though producers sought to tide over such costs via four revenue streams, this line of thought too didn’t yield the desired results. Earlier, some films which bombed in the box office managed to recoup some costs through satellite and OTT rights. But now, the situation is such that only films that perform well in theatres can hope to cash in on OTT and satellite rights.

Mammootty-starrer Bramayugam is already a blockbuster

In the recent times, many films which incurred a cost of more than Rs 6 crore, tanked. A film which had a huge star cast managed to collect just Rs 50 lakh from OTT after a six month wait. Last year saw more than 200 Malayalam film releases, of which only about ten were counted as hits. As the industry was rueing the tardy revenues of films, 2024 began with a bang.

The year started on a positive note with Anand Ekarshi’s 'Aattam' and gained momentum with Jayaram starrer 'Ozler,' which started the flow of money to the box office. Lijo Jose Pellissery's Mohan Lal starrer 'Malaikottai Vaaliban' collected Rs 5.85 crore on the first day of its release from theatres.

Reign of romance

February turned out to be good omen as far as box office collections are concerned. The first movie to hit theatres was Tovino’s crime thriller 'Anweshippin Kandethum,' which was embraced by movie buffs across the state.Then came teen romance movie 'Premalu,' which floored film lovers cutting across age groups who flocked to theatres. Mammootty starrer period drama 'Bramayugam,' a black and white work, also contributed to the riot of colours in the box office.

'Premalu' has floored film lovers cutting across age groups | Movie poster

These three movies alone has garnered Rs 100 crore from theatres alone so far. This was considered by industry experts as a phenomenon akin to ‘Barbenheimer’-- the boost given to Hollywood industry by the massive collections by blockbusters Barbie and Oppenheimer.

Like these, 'Bramayugam' and 'Premalu' were movies in two extremely different genres, but both raked in money. With 'Manjummel Boys' also set to scorch the box office, expectations are that collections would peak to Rs 200 crore or even Rs 300 crore.

String of hits

Normally, the year begins with one big hit, but it is rare to have three super hits at the start of the year. After the initial hit, in normal years, a string of flops hit the theatres, which was not the case this year. This also helped buck the trend regarding single superhits that affect the response of others films running at the same time.

In many cases, releases are postponed fearing that the super hit will drag the collections of movies. All such negative factors have gone for a toss in 2024. All these three movies are minting money not only in Kerala but all over the country and even abroad.

'Bramayugam' set in 17th century has wowed audiences mainly through mega star Mammootty’s scintillating performance despite having a black and white canvas. The film’s technical aspects and sharp frames have also contributed to its unexpected success and audiences flocked to theatres despite fears that a black and white movie may not attract new gen film buffs. All credit goes to director Rahul Sadasivan, who managed to pull off an incredible work with finesse.

Shot in the backdrop of Hyderabad, 'Premalu' is making waves in other languages including Telugu and in the lucrative overseas market. The movie managed to do the delicate balancing act of a new-generation film which did not shun the lingering old school touch of romance movies.

Director Gireesh A D has succeeded in lifting the film through this unique blend. It may not be a serious film with a profound message, but 'Premalu' has indeed kindled the flame of romance in the lay man. It also underscored the fact that you do not necessarily need twists and turns to succeed in box office. The makers have also managed to capture the not-so exploited visual charm of Hyderabad, which has surprised even Telugu film makers, experts say.

Apart from the lead pair of Nasleen and Mamata Baiju, most of the other actors of Premalu are newcomers, but it floored the audiences in two-and-a-half hours of screen time with its youthful vibes.

Though Tovino’s Anweshippin Kanethum falls in the tried and tested crime investigation genre, its unique treatment set it apart from other movies and boosted box office collections. It also experimented a different way of story telling by portraying two stories before and after the interval, with only the investigators as the common factor, creating a new cinematic experience.

These films also underscore the fact that regardless of the genre, films will succeed only if they are embraced by the audiences and return the money to investors. Without this, the purpose of the movies is not served. Many filmmakers who have insisted on dogmatic way of filmmaking have accentuated the fall of the industry with their stubborn resistance to consider audiences as key stake holders.

Such dogmatic indifference may only help to push the industry to a monetary crisis. As 'Premalu' continues its dream run even after entering the Rs 50 crore club, Bramayugam is catching up by raking in Rs 31 crore in jus four days. Tovino’s 'Anweshippin Kandethum' has also collected Rs 26 crore in a few days.

This has given Malayalam cinema industry a much needed boost vis-a-vis revenues. It may be noted that 'Premalu' cost just Rs 12.5 crore for its makers while the figure for Bramayugam is Rs 27.73 crore. Tovino’s movie was made on a budget of Rs 11 core. Netflix has bagged the streaming rights for this movie for an undisclosed huge sum, and the makers have already made profits.

Though Lijo Jose Pellisery flaunts the motto of ‘No plans to change and no plans to impress’, his 'Malaikottai Vaaliban' failed to charm the audiences. But Jayaram’s Ozler managed to bring in the audiences in droves. Jayaram’s previous movies that flopped were due to the cliche formulaic approaches. Audiences are now averse to such old-flavoured movies. The approach of Midhun Manuel Thomas while tackling different genres was one of the key reasons for Ozler’s excellent box office show. He ensures that the audiences are not let down not even in one scene and ties them to the edge of the seat. Ozler managed to get the tag of a good entertainer in its early days itself, and the unexpected presence of Mammooty in a cameo further boosted its fortunes.

Vinay Forrt’s Aattam also was a splendid cinematic experience, but it didn't gather much eyeballs probably due to a lack of star cast.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.