‘Malaikottai Vaaliban’ proves yet again that hype doesn’t work in the Malayalam industry!

The Mohanlal-starrer was trolled for its slow pace and lack of mass elements, while the makers claimed they never said it was a mass film.

ByArjun Ramachandran

Published Jan 31, 2024 | 2:30 PMUpdatedJan 31, 2024 | 2:46 PM

Mohanlal promoting Malaikottai Vaaliban

Mohanlal’s Malaikottai Vaaliban was one of the most hyped Malayalam films released in recent times. The movie, which has no timeline mentioned in its plot, is truly an experimental movie crafted by director Lijo Jose Pellissery.

Upon its release, the Mohanlal-starrer was trolled for its slow pace and lack of mass elements, as assured by its makers.

However, the makers reiterated that they never claimed that Malaikottai Vaaliban was a mass film.

But, the fact that a majority of Mohanlal fans perceived it to be a mass movie was the reason for the hype around the venture and why it missed the mark.

Mohanlal’s fans not ready for experimental films!

Malaikottai Vaaliban was released on January 25

‘Malaikottai Vaaliban’ was released on 25 January. (Supplied)

The year 2024 started with the makers of Malaikottai Vaaliban alleging that online trolling took a heavy toll on the theatrical business of the movie.

“The response to the film is very shocking. It is a high-budget movie, and the first part needs to do well at the box office so we can make the second part,” filmmaker Lijo Jose Pellissery told the media, soon after the release of the film.

Shibu Baby John, one of the producers of Malaikottai Vaaliban, told a news channel that Mammootty’s fans accept him even if he did an experimental movie, which was not the case with Mohanlal fans.

“If you expect a dosa from an Idli vessel, you won’t get it. The first-day report of the movie has shattered Lijo Jose Pellissery. But I am happy that the film started getting good reports from the second day,” the producer added.

Also Read: Negative comments about ‘Malaikottai Vaaliban’ shocked me: Lijo Jose Pellissery

‘Expectations took a toll on Malaikottai Vaaliban

Malayalam director Kamal concurred with Shibu Baby John. He observed that Mohanlal was considered a mass hero for a long time, unlike Mammootty. Hence, the experimental genre of Malaikottai Vaaliban might not have gone down well with his (Mohanlal) fans.

Filmmaker-actor Anurag Kashyap, who dubbed the lines for Mohanlal in the Hindi version of Malaikottai Vaaliban, noted: “Negative criticism cannot destroy a good film. I watched the movie on the big screen, and I loved it.”

“If you walk into the cinema halls with expectations, then you won’t enjoy a film. These expectations have become a huge problem these days,” he pointed out.

Malaikottai Vaaliban review: An experimental folk tale from Lijo Jose with a power-packed Mohanlal

Good response from Malayalam industry

Meanwhile, Malayalam actor Manju Warrier praised Malaikottai Vaaliban in her Facebook post.

She felt that the movie had some exceptional frames by cinematographer Madhu Neelakandan, and the music lingered in her mind even after leaving the theatre.

The actor said Mohanlal was exceptional as Vaaliban, the warrior, and that Malaikottai Vaaliban was a movie which could be made only by Lijo Jose Pellissery.

Actor-director Madhupal opined that a movie like Malaikottai Vaaliban had not been made in Malayalam thus far.

“The film had a philosophical touch. When Lijo Jose Pellissery makes a film, I can’t say that the movie should be similar to my taste. A film should not always have fights, gunshots, and huge BGM. This movie also has similar elements but has been treated differently,” he told an online media platform.

Madhupal also appreciated Lijo Jose for making such a movie in Malayalam.

GP Ramachandran, a film critic, described Lijo Jose Pellissery as a person who changed the filmmaking style in the Malayalam industry.

In an interview with a YouTube channel, Ramachandran wondered why cannot Mohanlal fans accept Malaikottai Vaaliban when they supported masala films like Pulimurugan (2016).

Also Read: ‘Lavani’ gets a twist in ‘Malaikottai Vaaliban’, says actor Sonalee Kulkarni

Making video released

Meanwhile, the makers of Malaikottai Vaaliban released the behind-the-scenes video of the movie on Tuesday, 30 January.

In the making video, Lijo Jose can be seen explaining the scenes to the actors. He tells Manoj Moses, who appeared as Chinnapayyan in the film, to look at the eyes of the other character while performing.

The shooting of the flick was held in Rajasthan. The huge sets erected on the location were a sight to behold.


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Also Read: Mohanlal’s ‘Malaikottai Vaaliban‘ becomes a fresh target for trolls

These hyped films failed at BO

After the COVID-19 lockdowns ended, there were huge expectations about Mohanlal’s Marakkar Arabikadalinte Simham (2021). However, it received negative comments on social media on the opening day and failed to do well at the box office.

Mohanlal’s recent films Aarattu (2022), Monster (2022), and Alone (2023) too missed the mark at the box office and were trolled on social media after their theatrical release.

Dulquer Salmaan’s King of Kotha (2023), which was promoted on a large scale, was a box office dud, too, due to the targeted negative campaign.

Mammootty’s Mamangam (2019) also didn’t work in theatres.

Meanwhile, films like RDX, Kannur Squad, Romacham, Kaathal- The Core, Neru (all released last year), and Abraham Ozler (2024) became sleeper hits in Malayalam, though there were hardly any promotions.

Interestingly, Kannur Squad and King of Kotha have the same distributor — Dulquer’s Wayfarer Films.

Well, given the trend, hype doesn’t seem to work in the Malayalam film industry!

Also Read: It’s high time Malayalam filmmakers thought beyond ‘hype’!