Some of the notable films made during the early 80s were Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s “Elipathayam” (1981) and “Mukhamukham”, G.Aravindan’s “Chidambaram” (1985) and “Esthappan”, Sethumadhavan’s “Oppol”, K.G.George’s “Yavanika”, Bharathan’s “Chamaram” and “Marmaram”, Mohan’s “Vida Parayum Munpe”, Fazil’s “Manjil Virinja Pookkal”, Sreekumaran Thampi’s “Gaanam”, Padmarajan’s “Koodevide” and Balu Mahendra’s “Yathra”.
Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s “Elipathayam” won the prestigious British Film Institute Award. Aravindan’s Chidambaram won the Nation award for the Best Feature Film in 1985. Fazil’s “Manjil Virinja Pookkal” saw the emergence of the Superstar of the Malayalam Cinema Mohanlal.
Golden Age of Malayalam Cinema (1986 t0 1990):
Most critics and audiences consider the period from 1986 t0 1990 as the golden age of Malayalam cinema. The Malayalam cinema of this period was characterised by detailed screenplays dealing with everyday life with a lucid narration of plot intermingling with humour and melancholy. This was aided by brilliant cinematography and lighting as in motion pictures like Perumthachan (1990), directed by Ajayan with Santosh Sivan as the cinematographer. These films are also remembered for their warm background music by composers like Johnson, as in the motion picture Namukku parkkan munthiri thoppukal (1986) by Padmarajan.
Many of the movies released during this time narrowed the gap between art cinemas and commercial cinemas in the Malayalam film industry, as in Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha (1989). These were paralleled with movies like Kireedam (1989) directed by Sibi Malayil and written by Lohitadas, Mathilukal directed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan (1989), ‘Amaram’(1991) directed by Bharathan, Kaakothikaavile Appoopan Thadikal(1988) directed by Kamal and ‘Sargam’(1992) directed by Hariharan.
Some of the humourous movies of Malayalam were also made during this age like Siddique-Lal’s “Ramji Rao Speaking” in 1989 and “In Harihar Nagar” (1990). Some of the other popular movies of this time were “His Highness Abdullah” (1990) directed by Sibi Malayil, Bharatham, Piravi (1989) by Shaji N. Karun, and Abhayam (1991) directed by Sivan. His Highness Abdullah was a musical blockbuster which starred Mohanlal in the lead role.
Malayalam Cinema in the 90′s:
Malayalam films continued its success journey during the early years of the nineties. Some of the ever popular and award winning movies like Bharatham (1991) by Sibi Malayil, Ulladakkam(1991) directed by Kamal, Kaalapaani (1996) by Priyadarshan, the National Award winning “Manichithrathazhu” (1993) by Fazil, ‘Sphadikam’ (1995) directed by Bhadran, and “Desadanam” (1997) by Jayaraaj were made during early 1990s. Shaji N. Karun’s “Swaham”(1994) became the first Malayalam feature film to enter into the Cannes International Film Festival. “Chinthavishtayaya Shyamala” by Srinivasan (1998), and Vanaprastham (1999) directed by Shaji N Karun were two of the movies which stood out of the down trend of Malayalam cinema. Some of the famous actors of this time are the Superstars Mammooty and Mohanlal, along with Suresh Gopi and Jayaram.