Mammootty reigns supreme as Malayalam cinema gets fillip

Jan 1, 2006 IANS

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 1 (IANS) Like vintage wine, Malayalam superstar Mammootty gets better and better with time. 2005 was exceptionally good for him even as the Malayalam film industry closed the year on a high note.

Of Mammootty's six releases in the last year, "Rajamanickam", which has completed 50 days, is heading to become one of the biggest grossers in the history of Malayalam cinema.

Giving him steady company at the top is his competitor Mohanlal, who had five releases, but just two mega hits.

Another feature of the last year was the return of Suresh Gopi after a three-year gap. His return was marked with the mega success of "Bharathchandran IPS" and then came "The Tiger" which is running to packed houses currently.

Another superstar who had a successful year was Dileep, whose "Chandupottu" was a smashing hit, though he had only three releases in 2005.

The Malayalam film industry is witnessing a boom with 59 new films finding their way into theatres in 2005, which is higher than the previous year's figures.

The return of old-time banners to film production also augured well for the industry.

"We have come back into the industry after a gap of six years. We decided to exit when we felt that there was lack of discipline. Now things are better and people are realising that indiscipline would sound the death knell for the industry," said Century Kochumon of Century Films.

The production house's Mohanlal starrer Christmas release "Tanmatra" is doing roaring business.

Industry sources also pointed out that 2005 was an excellent season because 14 of the 59 releases have made profits.

Among the heroines, Kavya Madhavan, Navya Nair and Bhavana had five films each with Kavya romping home as the best among the lot with films like "Annorikkal" and "Ananthabhadram".

Among the upcoming stars, Prithviraj too had a good year with five releases.

Veteran comedian Jagathy Sreekumar's stock has also been on the rise with him moving from one set to another at lightning speed.

On the flip side, 2005 was not too good a year for Jayaram, once considered the heroes' hero by the family audience. None of the four he starred in went on to be a hit, unlike his performances in 2004.

"Certainly, 2005 was an upbeat and hectic year for the industry. Several big budget films are on the floor for release early 2006. We hope the industry's growth curve would continue with the upward trend," said ace producer Suresh Kumar, whose Mohanlal starrer "Mahasamudram" is on the last leg of shooting.

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