Malayalam movies

The Rising Success of Malayalam Films Set Outside Kerala!

Premalu, Manjummel Boys, Aadujeevitham, Aavesham; apart from the fact that these movies crossed 100 cr, there’s one more relation between all these Malayalam movies and that is – that they are all based outside of Kerala.

Premalu is a romcom set in the beautiful city of Hyderabad. Manjummel Boys is a tale of friendship and survival set in Kodaikanal. Aadujeevitham, another survival drama is set in Saudi Arabia, and the latest blockbuster and the only movie I saw twice in the theatres Aavesham is based in the good old Bangalore. It is natural to wonder whether this location placement could be a reason for the movies’ success.

Naslen and Mamitha in Premalu

‘Evide Poyalm Malayali’ (there’s a Malayali everywhere) might be an inside joke, but it’s true. Once we are of a certain age, we want to pack our bags and go to better places for better opportunities, financial stability, sometimes leisure, and above all to find a sense of freedom. And this can vary based on age group. And all the recent blockbuster Malayalam movies have somewhere resonated with this inherent Malayali trait, making it relatable to certain a degree.

How these locations evoked familiarity

All these places shown in the movies are closer to Kerala either in proximity or based on a sense of belonging. Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Chennai are the obvious job hubs for us, Kodaikanal is an easy and common tourist spot. And about Middle Eastern countries- it is another Kerala as such. This has to be another factor why we felt a sense of connection with these movies.

manjummel boys 200 cr
Manjummel Boys

Premalu for example took a not-so-explored location of Hyderabad, where the main characters come to the city for jobs and education, for a better future. Of all the hit Malayalam movies, Premalu in that sense was the most relatable of course.

Aavesham might have used Bangalore, a city quite well used in Malayalam cinema. But nothing of this sort. When the Bangalore Malayalis, including me, hear the familiar places being mentioned it feels close and evokes an emotion.

Aadujeevitham tells the Middle Eastern dream of a certain Malayali gone wrong. Middle Eastern countries were where Malayalis flew in the hope of better jobs and money decades ago and hence there was a certain sense of relatable emotion attached to Aadujeevitham.

aavesham 100 cr
Fahad Fasil in Aavesham

And Manjummel Boys is a good old story of a friends trip gone wrong, and the location in focus – Kodai, again a place very close to our hearts, and most of us would have gone there either with our families or friends.

Now another movie, which has not joined the 100 cr club this year, but yet was a great watch, Varshangalku Shesham also bases its story outside of Kerala- Kodambakkam, once the cinema hub for all movie dreamers. The movie shows us a place we have heard of but never seen in its heyday.

How important is the location placement in these movies?

Would Premalu have worked if it was set in Infosys in Kochi or even in Mumbai? Would we have loved Ranganna if he was a Malayali gunda?

I highly doubt it.

The selection of placement has refined the whole storyline. It has made the movie not just relatable but also gives a very refreshing take. And this way it has successfully appealed to the younger generation.

But is this the formula for a successful Malayalam movie? Absolutely not. It’s just a trend. Like reusing old songs in new Malayalam movies has become a trend. There were movies in the past that have crossed 100 cr while basing their story in Kerala. So ultimately it boils down to just one thing – quality content

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