Top 10 Best Mammootty Crime Thriller Movies

With the recent films Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam, Kaathal, and Bhramayugam, movie buffs across the globe are mesmerised by the unparalleled performances of Mammootty. His ability to choose compelling scripts and metamorph into characters with such depth, especially at this age, leaves viewers in awe. However, for Malayalis, Mammootty, or as they affectionately call him, ‘Mammookka’ has always been creating magic on screen. Growing up, they witnessed him breathe life into unforgettable roles, like ‘Achutty’ from Amaram (1991), the titular role in Ponthan Maada (1994), ‘Varunni’ in Mrugaya (1989) or ‘Nathu Narayanan’ in Kanalkattu (1991). All these performances are testimonials to Mammootty’s acting prowess and ability to portray characters across the spectrum. This time, our team at Top Tens Only has curated a few such gems from his repertoire, highlighting the Top 10 Mammootty Crime Thriller Movies. Do not miss these if you want to witness one of the greatest talents of the Malayalam movie industry in action on the silver screen.

A Masterclass in Acting: Top 10 Best Mammootty Suspense Thriller Crime Movies

Five decades on screen, three national awards under his belt, and the most number of Kerala state film awards—Mammootty defies the aging process. At 72, his dedication to a healthy and disciplined lifestyle is an exemplar for young actors. As evident in his recent performance as “Kodumon Potti” in “Bhramayugam,”  his ability to embody such diverse characters is truly astonishing. Mammootty is always determined to take the most unconventional paths, always pushing the boundaries with his bold choices of roles to prove his mettle. Ranging from the ruthless landlord in Vidheyan, the casteist paranoid in Puzhu or even the closeted gay man in Kaathal: The Core, Mammooty rewrites the unwritten rules of stardom. Let’s celebrate this acting legend with a list of Malayalam’s best crime thriller movies starring Mammootty. Sit back and enjoy!

1. CBI Series (1988, 1989, 2004, 2005, 2022)

CBI Series (1988, 1989, 2004, 2005, 2022)

In this renowned crime thriller series, Mammootty brings to life the iconic CBI officer Sethurama Iyer. The movies, written by S.N. Swamy and directed by K. Madhu, attained cult status with five gripping thrillers, where the protagonist and his abled team of CBI officers unravel crimes in the most unique ways. These movies are some of the best Mammootty crime thriller movies, where he sheds his action-hero persona to appear as a soft-spoken Tamil brahmin who relies on his brain rather than brawn to crack cases. K. Madhu crafts a distinct characterization for Sethurama Iyer with unassuming costumes, a saffron tilak, and a quirky walk. However, the signature background score by Shyam enhances his entries and exits on screen. Alongside Mammootty, other actors like Mukesh, Suresh Gopi, and Jagathy also deserve praise for their roles as Iyer’s assistants. 

The first movie, “Oru CBI Diay Kurippu,” was a well-written, scientific investigative thriller (featuring the famous Dummy experiment). However, the second installment, “Jagratha,” delved into the dirty secrets of showbiz while investigating the murder of a young female actor. While all the films dealt with human complexities and derailing moralities, ‘Sethurama Iyer CBI’ introduced a hint of romance amidst the suspenseful investigation between Iyer’s niece and one of his assistants (Vineeth). While, the later movies did not recreate the same magic, they still remain some of the best among Mammootty’s Malayalam crime investigation movies. Explore this classic thriller series to witness Mammootty’s career-defining performances as the legendary detective.

2. Ee Thanutha Veluppan Kalathu (1990)

Ee Thanutha Veluppan Kalathu (1990)

“Ee Thanutha Veluppan Kalathu” is one of the evergreen crime thriller movies in Mammootty’s filmography. Writer Padmarajan and director Joshiy offer a gripping thriller that opens with a series of murders targeting prominent figures, all executed in the same chilling manner. The killer targets middle-aged men and stuffs coconut fibre in their mouths post the crime. Mammootty steps in as SP Haridas Damodaran, who unearths clues and puts them together before the killer strikes again. The investigation takes unexpected turns, keeping viewers guessing until the shocking reveal in the climax. The movie also portrays brilliant performances by talented artists including Suresh Gopi, Nedumudi Venu, and Sumalatha.

“Ee Thanutha Veluppan Kalathu” is a fast-paced whodunit that keeps you on the edge of your seat. It’s believed to be Mollywood’s first venture into the serial killer genre, but disappointingly, this nail-biting narrative was under-appreciated, perhaps because it was ahead of its time.

3. Adayalam (1991)

Adayalam (1991)

Adayalam is one of the Mammootty old thriller Malayalam movies that masterfully blends suspense with humour. The movie is yet another work of perfection by the CBI series fame writer-director duo S.N. Swamy and K. Madhu. The narrative unfolds with Latha (played by Rekha), the daughter of a rich businessman, seeking help from a private detective agency run by Captain Hariharan (Mammootty), when she is blackmailed for her father’s deadly secrets. Hariharan, though initially sceptical about taking the case, decides to give it a go and sets out to reveal the truth. However, the plot takes a chilling turn when the blackmailer is found to be dead and now the detective has one more task in hand- to unearth the mystery of the murder.

The movie also showcases some promising performances by the talented cast, including Shobhana, Murali, and Lalu Alex. Though the film received positive responses from critics, it did not attain the expected financial gains. 

4. Oru Abhibhashakante Case Diary (1995)

Oru Abhibhashakante Case Diary (1995)

The next pick for Malayalam’s best crime thriller with Mammukka in the lead is the legal crime drama Oru Abhibhashakante Case Diary. This is yet another Mammootty suspense thriller crafted by the expert duo of this genre- S.N. Swamy and K. Madhu. Mammootty portrays the role of Aniyan Kuruvila, an invincible public prosecutor known for his allegiance to the truth. However, his integrity is put to the test when he has to appear as a public prosecutor against Unni Thampuran, a naive young man falsely framed by the police for the rape and murder of a servant. Will Kuruvila fulfil his legal duties by supporting the government or switching sides as a criminal lawyer to fight for justice?

Jagathy Sreekumar delivers another striking performance in the movie as the lovable character Mani Kunju, who is Aniyan Kuruvila’s elder brother. This parallel track explores the affection and compassion of the Kuruvila brothers towards each other as well as others in need. Nevertheless, this uniquely crafted crime drama is a must-watch for ardent fans of the genre.

5. Rakshasa Rajavu (2001)

Rakshasa Rajavu (2001)

Any Mammootty movie list would be incomplete without the crime thriller Rakshasa Rajavu, featuring Mammootty as city police commissioner Ramanathan IPS. Vinayan directed this action flick with a protagonist reminiscent of the lovable thief Robinhood, who steals from the rich to help the poor. Ramanathan, disappointed with the system after his wife’s murder, unapologetically bends the rules to serve justice to the common man. He takes bribes from powerful, corrupt politicians and rich businessmen, using the money to fund an orphanage for differently-abled children. However, his vigilante acts are sidelined when Ramanathan’s sidekick Appu (Dileep) gets framed for burglary and murder of his girlfriend’s (Kavya Madhavan) wealthy family. How Ramanathan exposes the truth and proves Appu’s innocence forms the crux of the plot.

The movie was a huge success at the box office and for the same reason, it was dubbed in Tamil and Telugu. Add this suspenseful thriller with plot twists and thrilling action sequences to your watch list for an adventurous cinematic experience.

6. August 15 (2011)

August 15 (2011)

August 15, directed by Shaji Kailas and written by S.N. Swamy, is a sequel to the 1988 film August 1. Mammootty reprises his role as Crime Branch DySP Perumal in this crime thriller. August 15, one of the best Mammootty detective movies, also features Meghna Raj, Nedumudi Venu, and Siddique in the supporting roles. The plot follows the assassination attempt of Kerala Chief Minister V.G. Sadashivan (Nedumudi Venu), a situation similar to the prequel August 1. Departing from the traditional crime thriller formula, the assassin’s identity is revealed early on, during the first half. The heart-pounding element then becomes the relentless cat-and-mouse chase between Perumal and the notorious professional killer Abraham (Siddique). The movie also weaves into the plot complex themes like Kerala’s political landscape, the lottery mafia, and land grabs. Though the movie was not as well received by the audience as its predecessor, it was certainly a treat for the actor’s fans, showcasing Mammootty’s return as the stylish cop. This is what makes August 15 a worthy addition to the list of Mammootty’s action thriller crime movies.

7. Masterpiece (2017)

Masterpiece (2017)

Masterpiece is one of Mammukka’s best Malayalam suspense thrillers, directed by Ajai Vasudev (of Malikappuram fame). Other actors portraying important roles in the movie are Unni Mukundan, Varalxmi Sarathkumar, and Gokul Suresh. The movie has an engaging plot involving two rival gangs of young college students, the Real Fighters and the Royal Warriors. The situation takes a chilling turn when a member of the Real Fighters, Unnikrishnan (Gokul Suresh), is framed by the police for the murder of Vedhika (Mahima Nambiar), his girlfriend. Soon, Unnikrishnan is also found murdered while in police custody, leading to a violent clash between the college students and police officials. This is when newly hired English professor Edward Livingston arrives as a saviour and reveals the true identity of the criminals. He also unites the two gangs and motivates them to stand together against injustice.

The plot is packed with suspenseful twists at every juncture and leaves the audience guessing till the end. The movie was a huge box office success, which made it the first Malayalam movie to be remade in Russian.

8. The Great Father (2017)

The Great Father (2017)

No Mammootty crime thriller movie list is complete without “The Great Father,” featuring the superstar alongside Tamil actor Arya. This directorial debut by Haneef Adeni follows David Nainan, a successful businessman, whose world crashes after a horrific attack on his daughter. He embarks on a vengeful journey to identify the elusive serial killer known as “Joker.” During this quest, he forms an unlikely alliance with CID officer Andrews Eapen (Arya), who aids him in hunting down the perpetrator.

“The Great Father” may unfold at a deliberate pace, but the stylish action sequences and heartwarming father-daughter moments featured in the movie are specifically crafted to please Mammootty’s fans. This visual treat is packed with stellar performances and exceptional camerawork and talks about the serious, disturbing theme of child abuse in the garb of an entertainer. The film also shines a light on Santosh Keezhattoor’s chilling portrayal of the main antagonist, “Joker.”

9. Christopher (2023)

Christopher (2023)

Christopher is one of Mamootty’s latest crime thriller movies, where he appeared alongside Tamil superstar Sarathkumar. B. Unnikrishnan is the director and producer of this suspenseful flick that revolves around a vigilante police officer, ADGP Christopher Antony. Owing to his troubled past, he is seen taking extreme measures to punish the criminals, which makes his character controversial. The first half of the movie is devoted to Christopher’s character-building and justification for his deeds. As the plot progresses, he gets connected to a series of heinous rapes and vows to punish the perpetrators, even if he has to go out of the judicial system. 

The movie is not just a visual feast with Mammootty’s stylish avatar, but it also discusses socially relevant themes like crimes against women and the ethical issues of police encounters. It also marks the comeback of Tamil star Sneha into the Malayalam movie industry in an important role, contributing to the addition of Christopher to the list of the best Mammootty hit crime movies.

10. Kannur Squad (2023)

Kannur Squad (2023)

Mammootty takes center stage as ASI George Martin in “Kannur Squad,” a must-watch addition to our list of Mammootty action thriller movies. This 2023 release marks the directorial debut of Roby Varghese Raj, who masterfully blends technical brilliance with a keen eye for detail. Mammootty leads an ensemble cast, including Rony David, Azeez Nedumangad, and Shabareesh Varma, who deliver stellar performances as the other three CPO members of the squad. The film’s intensity is undeniable, keeping you glued to the screen as you follow the squad’s cross-country pursuit of ruthless criminals responsible for a brutal robbery and murder in Kasaragod. 

“Kannur Squad” draws inspiration from the real-life exploits of a special crime investigation unit known as the “Kannur Squad.” Former Kannur SP, S. Sreejith, IPS, established the squad initially. Active for over a decade, this unit famously apprehended the perpetrators of industrialist Abdul Salam Haji’s murder, who had fled over 6,000 kilometres away. This case cemented the squad’s legendary status. The movie cinematically recreates these events, celebrating the unit’s achievements and solidifying its place among the best Mammootty police movies.

Unveiling Mammootty’s Powerhouse Performances In Malayalam Crime Thrillers

So, there you have it—our top picks for top-ranked Mammootty thriller movies! We hope this list inspires you to explore the captivating magic of Mollywood and witness the brilliance of this legendary actor. Mammootty’s dedication to his craft and his ability to portray complex characters with such depth solidify his position as a true icon of Indian cinema. He will always be the personal pride in the hearts of every Indian.

 Binge watch these classics this week with your loved ones to experience Malayalam cinema at its best.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which are the best crime thriller movies by Mammootty?

Mammootty has starred in numerous acclaimed crime thrillers throughout his career. Some of the classics and recent hits to get you started are Ee Thanutha Veluppankalathu, The CBI Series, Oru Abhibhashakante Case Diary, Masterpiece, and Kannur Squad.

Is Kannur Squad a true story?

Yes, “Kannur Squad” is based on the real-life events surrounding a special crime investigation unit called the “Kannur Squad,” known for their successful investigations, including apprehending the perpetrators of a high-profile murder case. The film celebrates their achievements and offers a glimpse into their relentless pursuit of justice and for the same reason, it is  included in our top ten true crime Malayalam films list.

 Why are Malayalam crime thriller films popular? 

Malayalam crime thrillers have gained popularity owing to their intricate plots, grounded realities, and high technical prowess. Another factor contributing to their appeal are the stellar performances by actors like Mammootty, who bring immense experience and charisma to these stories, captivating audiences.

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