History of Malayalam Cinema
Movies / Cinema:
The first Malayalam film, a silent film, titled Vigathakumaran, was released in 1928. It was produced and directed by J. C. Daniel, a businessman with no prior film experience. The second film, Marthanda Varma, based on a novel by C. V. Raman Pillai, was produced in 1933. However, its release was limited due to legal disputes surrounding use of Pillai's material.
Balan, released in 1938, was the first "talkie" in Malayalam. It was directed by S. Nottani with the screenplay and songs by Muthukulam Raghavan Pillai. It was produced at Chennai (then Madras) in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. Malayalam films continued to be made mainly by Tamil producers till 1947, when the first major film studio, Udaya, was established in Kerala.
Malayalam Cinema has always taken its themes from very relevant social issues and has been interwoven with material from literature, drama, and politics its inception. One such film, Jeevithanauka, (1951) was a musical drama which spoke about the problems in a joint family. This movie very popular and is probably the first "Super Hit" of Malayalam Cinema.
In 1954, the film Neelakkuyil captured national interest by winning the President's silver medal. Scripted by the well-known Malayalam novelist, Uroob, and directed by P. Bhaskaran and Ramu Kariat. Another notable production was Newspaper Boy (1955). It told the story of a printing press employee and his family being stricken with extreme poverty.
Noted actors Sathyan , Madhu and Prem Nazir completely made the Malayalam cinema mass appeal.
Ramu Karyat, the director of Neelakkuyil went on to become a celebrated director in the 1960s and 1970s. P. Bhaskaran also directed a few acclaimed films in the 1960s. The cameraman of Neelakkuyil, A. Vincent also became a noted director of the 1960s and 1970s. Notable films of this decade include Odeyil Ninnu, Bhargavi Nilayam (1964), Chemmeen (1965), Murappennu (1965) and Iruttinte Atmavu (1966). The era of colour films came to Malayalam cinema with its first colour film Kandam Bacha Coat (1961). Chemmeen (1965), directed by Ramu Kariat and based on a story by Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, went on to become immensely popular, and became the first Malayalam film to win the National Film Award for Best Film.
Adoor Gopalakrishnan's first film Swayamvaram (1972) brought Malayalam cinema to the international film arena. In 1973 M. T. Vasudevan Nair who was by then recognized as an important author in Malayalam, directed his first film Nirmalyam, which won the President's Gold Medal for the best film. G. Aravindan followed Adoor's lead with his Uttarayanam in 1974. K. P. Kumaran's 'Adhithi' (1974) was another film which was acclaimed by the critics. John Abraham, K. R. Mohanan, K. G. George, and G. S. Panikkar were products of the Pune Film Institute who made significant contributions.
A noted director, Aravindan was famous in Kerala as a cartoonist before he started making films. His important movies include Kanchana Seeta (1977), Thampu (1978), Kummatty (1979), Chidambaram (1985), Oridathu (1986), and Vasthuhara (1990).
Adoor Gopalakrishnan made Elipathayam in 1981. This movie was widely acclaimed and won the British Film Institute award. His other movies include Mukhamukham (1984), Anantharam (1987) Mathilukal (1989), Vidheyan (1994), Kathapurushan (1995), and Nizhalkkuthu (2003). Padmarajan made his early works in this period including the movie Koodevide? (1983)
P. A. Backer and Bharathan are other names worth mentioning.
Golden age of Malayalm Cinema starts from 80's
Mohanlal and Mammootty carved a niche for them in the Malayalam film industry during the Golden Age and they have now become the most sought after actors in the industry
Many of the movies released during this time narrowed the gap between art cinemas and commercial cinemas in the Malayalam film industry, as in Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha (1989). These were paralleled with movies like Kireedam (1989) directed by Sibi Malayil and written by Lohitadas, Mathilukal directed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan (1989), 'Amaram'(1991) directed by Bharathan, Kaakothikaavile Appoopan Thadikal(1988) directed by Kamal and 'Sargam'(1992) directed by Hariharan.
The period had an abundance of movies rich in creative humour from directors like Priyadarshan, Sathyan Anthikkad and Kamal. The era also saw well crafted comedy by the Duo Siddique-Lal, (Ramji Rao speaking (1989) and In Harihar Nagar (1990). The internationally acclaimed Piravi (1989) by Shaji N. Karun was the first Malayalam film to win the at the Cannes Film Festival. Other notable contributions of this period include His Highness Abdullah (1990) directed by Sibi Malayil, and highest box office hit like New Delhi ,Rajavinte makan, Ekalaviyan Oru CBI diary kurup etc.director Joshi had given the half of hit in malayalam film
Malayalam movies have seen a real comeback in 2005. New directors such as Lal Jose, Roshan Andrews, Blessy and Anwar Rasheed brought back original scripts to Malayalam movie. Notable movies of this era are Udayananu Tharam, Note Book, Classmates, Kazhcha, Keerthi Chakra, Vinoda Yatra, Rajamanikyam, Arabi Kadha, Kadha Paryumbol, and about 50 percentage of Malayalam movies are remade into other languages. This era has seen new promising actors like Dileep Prithviraj, Narain, Jayasurya, Indrajith, along with stalwarts Mammooty , Mohanlal, Sureshgopi and Jayarm
The first 3D film produced in India, My Dear Kuttichathan (1984), was made in Malayalam.The first Cinemascope film produced in South India was Thacholi Ambu (1978).
( Reference: Wikipedia)