Feminism In Malayalam Cinema: 6 Films To Watch

The feminist Malayalam films are also in the stage of trial and error but they have definitely given us some worthy films in the process. 

Priya Hazra
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Feminism In Malayalam Cinema ,Powerful Female Characters
Feminism In Malayalam Cinema: Cinema has so far explored various shades of feminism, some gained praises and others faced the scrutiny. The stories we watch on the screen often raises the question— What's the right form of feminism?

However, one thing that can't be denied is a space for all kinds of feminist stories in our cinema. Much like other regional film industries, Malayalam films have also become a part of the new wave that is giving women and their stories a centre stage. The feminist Malayalam films are also in the stage of trial and error but they have definitely given us some worthy films in the process.

Here are some Malayalam films with strong female characters:

Kumbalangi Nights

The film which has an utterly simple premise, revolving around a young couple, has layered hard-hitting moments. The family drama has two contrasting household and the relationship the people share with each other.

Although, the film on a surface concentrates on the love-story between these two families, toxic masculinity is highlighted in numerous ways. A man of the house, which has all women other than him, is naturally controlled by the former. The idea of a man is explored in the story as the film progresses.



We have been narrating the tale of toxic and obsessive romance in our cinema over and over again. The 2019 release Uyare has a similar approach, however, in this tale, the woman throws away the toxicity in her life and breaks up with her possessive boyfriend, Govind. What follows is a heinous attack as ‘love’ takes no time to turn into rage.

Pallavi Raveendran, the female lead, is attacked by her former partner who throws acid on her face. The incident changes the course of Pallavi’s life who aspires to become a pilot. Although, who comes to her rescue eventually is also a man, an angle monotonously involved in films which often aim to establish powerful women characters.

How old are you

Nirupama Rajeev, a clerk in a government office, played by Manju Warrier, lives a monotonous life and desires to break those shackles. She is constantly reminded by her husband and her daughter about her incapabilities. In her mid 30’s she decides to change her life and sees her younger self as an inspiration. In the Roshan Andrews directorial, the woman is her own rescuer, who navigates through all difficulties to become an entrepreneur.


22 Female Kottayam

A revenge story, 22 Female Kottayam follows the life of Tessa, a nursing student. The woman falls in love with a man named Cyril, things go smooth until one day she is raped by the latter's boss. Initially, Tessa denies to take any action but then she is sexually abused once again.

The course of the story changes when she finds that Cyril is a pimp who has been involved in the act all along. In prison she plans her revenge with an inmate and eventually succeeds in her plan.

Zachariyayude Garbhinikal


The 2013 comedy-drama film tells the story of five women with unconventional pregnancies through the eyes of a male gynaecologist. The film synopsis reads: An 18-year-old pregnant girl does not wish to abort her child or reveal who the father is. The film with an ensemble of powerful actors explores the realities and difficulties of women during pregnancy.


The film is about a girl with a simple yet unachievable wish, to sing aloud Adhan, the Islamic summons to prayer. A social construct becomes an obstacle in the way of her dream. She feels a deep Sufi spiritual connection with God and aims to sing adhan for the very reason and not to challenge the community.

Uyare Vaanku Kumbalangi Nights Parvarthy