Year-ender: 10 best Malayalam movies of 2023

From the revolutionary 'Kaathal-The Core' to the intriguing 'Iratta', many experimental films enthralled the Malayalam audience in 2023.

ByArjun Ramachandran

Published Dec 30, 2023 | 6:00 PMUpdatedDec 30, 2023 | 7:22 PM

Best Malayalam movies of 2023

While 200 Malayalam movies were released in 2023, the box office success rate has been low.

But a few good films had a decent theatrical run across Kerala.

Nevertheless, movies like Ntikkakkakkoru Premandaarnnu, Nila, Vela, and O.Baby did not have a good run in cinema halls.

Here are the top 10 Malayalam movies of 2023, which won the hearts of the audience.

Kaathal-The Core

A working still from Kaathal

A working still from ‘Kaathal-The Core’. (X)

Kaathal-The Core has a revolutionary subject. Director Jeo Baby, who helmed critically acclaimed films before, took a daring step to present a relevant issue.

The Malayalam movie also gained international recognition as media outlets like “The New York Times” wrote about it. The lead actor Mammootty’s decision to enact the role of a gay man needs to be lauded.

Kaathal-The Core also speaks about different forms of love. The theme is relevant at a time when same-sex marriage is being debated in India.

The movie has a perfect flow throughout and does not leave the viewers with an uncomfortable experience. It is a mature take on a homosexual relationship, with Omana (Jyothika) telling her husband Mathew (Mammooty) that she decided to file a divorce petition.

Kaathal-The Core boasts outstanding performances, particularly by the lead actors Mammootty and Jyothika. The two, as husband and wife, share equal screen space.

Related: ‘Kaathal-The Core’ is a quality movie on a relevant topic

B 32 Muthal 44 Vare

B 32 Muthal 44 Vare poster

A poster of the Malayalam movie ‘B 32 Muthal 44 Vare’. (X)

B 32 Muthal 44 Vare (Bust 32″ to 44″) is a daring take on the issues faced by five women and a trans man living in Kochi.

Director Shruti Sharanyam introduces these women with their bust size, a brave attempt to showcase the realities women from various walks of life face.

Ramya Nambeesan, Zarin Shihab, Ashwathy B, Anarkali Marikar, Krisha Kurup, and Raina Radhakrishnan played the women characters.

B 32 Muthal 44 Vare is a genuine and awe-inspiring take on how women are treated by their near and dear, in particular, and society, at large. It is vocal about several issues like gender discrimination, aversion towards women, and problems faced by the queer community, which are deeply rooted in our cultures and society.

The Malayalam movie has some brilliant performances by the lead actors. It bagged the Best Director Award (female) in the Women/Transgender category in the 53rd Kerala State Film Awards.

Shruthi Sharanyam, the director of B 32 Muthal 44 Vare, also won the FIPRESI Award for the Best Malayalam Debut Director at the 28th International Film Festival (IFFK).

Related: B 32 Muthal 44 Vare is a daring take on gender politics and women’s issues


A poster of Malayalam film Iratta

A poster of Malayalam film ‘Iratta’. (X)

Directed by debutant Rohit MG Krishnan, Iratta is a content-driven movie where Joju George plays twin brothers.

It revolves around ego clashes. It is a well-written movie that keeps the audience haunted even after watching it.

Iratta is not one of those movies with all the quintessential elements — comedy, peppy dance numbers, and a happy family.

It is a well-paced crime thriller with an interesting plot and an amazing performance by Joju George.

Related: Iratta review: Joju George nails it in this well-made thriller

Pachuvum Athbutha Vilakkum

A still from Pachuvum Athbutha Vilakkum

A still from ‘Pachuvum Athbutha Vilakkum’. (X)

Pachuvum Athbutha Vilakkum marks the debut movie of Akhil Sathyan, the son of ace director Sathyan Anthikad.

The Malayalam movie talks about the options that come in the form of vices and virtues that its protagonist Pachu (Fahadh Faasil) has to choose. The way Pachu deals with the situations and overcomes the obstacles makes for an interesting watch.

It is a message-oriented film that flaunts good performances by the lead actors and a strong message: the right to education for girl children.

Comic timing by Fahadh Faasil and Mukesh makes it a worthy watch.

Debutante Anjana Jayaprakash is impressive. She delivers a good performance in the movie with some emotional scenes.

Related: ‘Pachuvum Athbutha Vilakkum’ is an out-and-out entertainer with a strong message

Kadina Kadoramee Andakadaham

A poster of Kadina Kadoramee Andakadaham

A poster of ‘Kadina Kadoramee Andakadaham’. (X)

Basil Joseph’s Kadina Kadoramee Andakadaham is based on the pandemic-induced lockdowns, penalties levied for not using masks, containment zones, and COVID-19 protocols.

Directed by debutant Muhashin, the film is an emotional story set in Chamundi Valappu, a coastal town near Beypore in the Kozhikode district of Kerala.

Scriptwriter Harshad presents the story from the point of view of the common people.

Kadina Kadoramee Andakadaham highlights the plight of Keralites who could not pay their last respects to their loved ones because of COVID-19 restrictions.

It is a well-written and well-crafted film on pandemic hardships.

Related: Kadina Kadoramee Andakadaham is a well-made movie on COVID-19 lockdowns and hardships

Aayirathonnu Nunakal

Aayirathonnu Nunakal is the story of a group of friends in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia.

What makes this Malayalam movie interesting is the realistic approach towards relationships, how couples hide some truths, and the repercussions they face after those truths are revealed.

Aayirathonnu Nunakal has a well-written script by Thamar and Hashim Sulaiman.

It dwells on the lives of married couples. It makes the audience think seriously about relationships.

Related: ‘Aayirathonnu Nunakal’ is an intriguing movie made with a perfect blend of emotions and good writing


Falimy is a hilarious ride with some good performances by the lead actors. It is a full-fledged entertainer.

The script by Nithish Sahadev and Sanjo Joseph has all the elements that engage the audience.

The film does not have a moment of despair, which makes it a perfect entertainer.

Related: Falimy review: Basil Joseph leads this fun ride that guarantees entertainment

2018-Everyone is a Hero

Directed by Jude Anthany Joseph, 2018-Everyone is a Hero revolves around the harsh realities faced by Keralites during the 2018 floods.

It was India’s official entry for the Oscars 2024. But it failed to get shortlisted in the Best International Feature Film category at the Oscars 2024.

Related: ‘2018’ recreates the horrific floods and reminds us of the resilience of Keralites

Kannur Squad

Mammootty’s Kannur Squad is based on real-life incidents. It was well-appreciated by the audience for its craft and strong content.

One of the highlights of Kannur Squad is the investigation angle, which makes it a riveting watch.

Related: ‘Kannur Squad’ is both realistic and cinematic


Mohanlal’s Neru deals with a socially relevant subject — the increasing atrocities against women in our society, their trauma, and the mental state of their families.

It takes inspiration from various rape cases reported in the country.

Anaswara Rajan is the star performer of the movie directed by Jeethu Joseph.

Related: ‘Neru’ is an emotional courtroom drama backed by a powerful script that serves justice