Top 10 Best Murder Mystery Movies In Malayalam

top 10 best murder mystery movies in malayalam

Malayalam movies stand out from the rest with their complex characters, excellent stories, and natural settings. One cannot forget the contributions of maestros like Bharathan, Padmarajan, and K.G. George, who weaved complex stories from the daily lives of Malayalees and created what we know today as the ‘Golden Age’ of Malayalam movies, starting from the late 1980’s to the early 1990’s. While Malayalam movies got wider recognition only after the release of ‘new-gen’ movies like Premam, Bangalore Days, Neram, etc., the legacy runs deep down the history of movie culture in Kerala, rooted in the complexities of human lives and societies. This time, our team at Top 10s Only brought together a list of the Top 10 Best Murder Mystery Movies in Malayalam, some of them including some forgotten classics from the golden era of Mollywood.

Ten Malayalam Murder Mysteries That Will Keep You Guessing Till The End!

Mollywood serves a blend of cinematic feasts with comedy, melancholy, political drama, and social satires on its menu. Among these various genres, murder mysteries and crime thrillers stand out not only for their suspense and plot twists but also for the seamless integration of sentiments, comedy, and drama into these films—a rare quality compared to other languages. On our quest to curate for you some Malayalam murder mystery movies to watch with family and friends, we stumbled upon a few old classic suspense thrillers alongside the contemporary run-of-the-mill whodunnits. So grab a cup of coffee and join us as we explore the rich history of the mystery genre in Malayalam cinema.

1. Yavanika (1982)

Top 10 Best Murder Mystery Movies In Malayalam
Yavanika (1982)

Yavanika is an award-winning mystery thriller movie, written and directed by K.G. George, starring the legendary actors Bharat Gopi, Mammootty, Venu Nagavally, and Nedumudi Venu, among others. The movie revolves around a drama troupe whose lead tablist, Ayyappan (Bharat Gopi), disappears mysteriously the night before a play. The investigating officer, CI Jacob Eeraly, inquires about the case and unearths various clues, but none of them leads to a conclusion until Ayyappan’s dead body is found in a stranded paddy field.  After a series of twists, the movie’s climax is uniquely staged during the on-screen climax of the drama, where the killer dramatically reveals the truth in front of a live audience.

Yavanika is one of the first Malayalam movies to experiment with the Rashomon effect, portraying the same incident from different perspectives through its characters. This movie was dubbed a masterpiece of Malayalam cinema by critics and deserves a place in your list of must-watch Malayalam murder mystery movies. 

2. Kaanathaya Penkutty (1985)

Top 10 Best Murder Mystery Movies In Malayalam
Kaanathaya Penkutty (1985)

Next in line on our list of the top 10 best mystery movies in Malayalam is yet another classic from the 1980s, directed by K.N. Sasidharan. The movie initially seems to follow the usual mystery-thriller formula. A young girl is reported to be missing, and her dead body is found later on the railway tracks. The investigation that follows reveals a lot of suspects throughout the narrative. However, the movie transforms into a spine-chilling murder mystery when the most unexpected character turns out to be the real murderer. 

Boasting an ensemble cast featuring stalwarts like Bharath Gopi, Mammootty, and Jayabharathi, Kaanathaya Penkutty becomes even more compelling as it draws inspiration from a true incident reported in the Thrissur district of Kerala. The stellar performance of the cast and freshness in its treatment of the script make the movie one of the highest-rated true crime movies in Malayalam.

3. Ee Thanutha Veluppan Kalathu (1990)

Top 10 Best Murder Mystery Movies In Malayalam
Ee Thanutha Veluppan Kalathu (1990)

Written by Padmarajan and directed by Joshiy, Ee Thanutha Veluppan Kalathu is a masterpiece crafted by the legends of Mollywood. With Mammootty and Suresh Gopi in the lead roles, the movie takes the audience through a riveting investigative journey of a serial killing where the killer adopts an unusual modus operandi of inserting coir into his victims’ mouths after murdering them. While looking for connections between the victims, SP Haridas Damodaran (Mammootty) discovers that all of them were classmates and were involved in a crime together in the past. Initially, the circumstantial evidence leads suspicions to Christy (Suresh Gopi), the son of one of the victims. However, the climax reveals unexpected plot twists, unveiling the real murderer.  

The film was released with high expectations following Mammootty’s portrayal of his most popular character, ‘Sethurama Iyer CBI’ in ‘Oru CBI Diary Kurup’ released just two years earlier. One of the most unforgettable performances in the movie was by Nedumudi Venu, contributing to its addition to the best suspense thriller movies in Malayalam

4. No. 20 Madras Mail (1990)

Top 10 Best Murder Mystery Movies In Malayalam
No. 20 Madras Mail (1990)

Directed by Joshiy and penned by Dennis Joseph, No. 20 Madras Mail adopted a unique technique of blending comedy into the thriller genre, making it one of the best Malayalam murder mystery movies ever released. The movie saw the biggest all-time superstars of Malayalam cinema- Mammootty (playing himself) and Mohanlal (as Tony Kurishingal)—in the lead. The storyline revolves around the murder of Devi, the daughter of an influential businessman, in the toilet of a first-class coach on a train to Madras (now Chennai). Tony and his friends travelling on the same train find themselves trapped in suspicion of the murder. They find no other way to prove their innocence other than with the help of actor Mammootty, whom they befriended during the train journey.

The movie was celebrated by the audience and critics equally, and it was a huge commercial success. Its impact was so profound that the Trivandrum-Chennai Mail came to be popularly known as “No. 20 Madras Mail’ after the movie. This movie is also one of the old Malayalam murder mystery movies, with a significant portion shot inside a running train.

5. Mukham (1990)

Top 10 Best Murder Mystery Movies In Malayalam
Mukham (1990)

Mukham, featuring Mohanlal, Nasser, and Ranjini in the lead roles, may not be a success at the box office but can be unquestionably called one of Mohanlal’s best suspense thriller movies in Malayalam. The movie unfolds the story of a serial killer with a specific target: women who, according to him, have deviated from high grounds of morality. The narrative is intricately designed, with a backstory associated with each of the victims woven together in the climax.  Nasser’s performance in the movie is noteworthy as one of the most scary villains seen to date in Malayalam cinema. He maintains an eerie calm amidst all the tension, yet manages to run a chill down your spine. Mukham’s unique story-telling, which does not confine itself to just mystery but explores the nuances of human relationships and calls out patriarchy, gives it its place as a standout in the Malayalam movie realm.

6. Sethurama Iyer CBI (2004)

Top 10 Best Murder Mystery Movies In Malayalam
Sethurama Iyer CBI (2004)

This film is the third installment in the CBI Film series, featuring Mammooty in the titular role Mukesh, and Jagathy Sreekumar. Considered Mammootty’s best suspense film featuring a murder mystery, Sethurama Iyer CBI was directed by K. Madhu and written by S.N. Swamy- the duo known for creating classics in the genre of mystery thrillers. This time, Sethurama Iyer is not appointed by the CBI on an investigation; instead, a serial killer, Easow Alex (played by Kalabhavan Mani), awaiting execution, requests that he find out the real killer behind one of the seven murders he was convicted of. Against all odds and at the risk of defaming the CBI, Iyer sets out to reveal the truth and find the culprit roaming freely at the expense of Easow.

The movie is loosely based on the Aluva Massacre in 2001, in which six members of a family were hacked to death during a burglary attempt. One of the must-watch Malayalam true crime movies, Sethurama Iyer CBI, also has Sai Kumar in a surprising role.

7. Masters (2012)

Top 10 Best Murder Mystery Movies In Malayalam
Masters (2012)

Masters is our next recommendation among the superhit Malayalam mystery films on OTT and is directed by Johny Antony, with Prithviraj and Sasikumar in the lead roles. The story unfolds with a series of murders orchestrated by a suicide squad. However, what makes the incidents bizarre is that none of the killers seem to have any prior connections with the victims to provide a motive for the crime. ASP Sreeramakrishnan (Prithviraj) is assigned the investigation of the peculiar cases, but he finds himself in a moral dilemma when he discovers his best friend Milan (Sasikumar) has some involvement in the crimes. 

Beyond the thriller elements, Masters is an emotional tale of justice, friendship, and grey shades of human minds with intricate sub-plots justifying each murder. The perfect blend of drama and suspense makes Masters one of the best murder mystery movies to watch online.

8. Grandmaster (2012)

Top 10 Best Murder Mystery Movies In Malayalam
Grandmaster (2012)

Grandmaster marks the debut of the renowned Bollywood production company UTV Motion Pictures in Malayalam. Written and directed by B. Unnikrishnan, the movie is an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel ‘The A.B.C. Murders’. Mohanlal portrays the protagonist, IG Chandrashekhar, who investigates a series of mysterious murders that follow a strange alphabetical pattern. The investigation takes a personal turn when Chandrashekhar painfully realises that the next target is his ex-wife, Advocate Deepthi (Priyamani). As revealed by the title, the movie incorporates significant chess metaphors, setting the stage for an intellectual dual between the killer and Chandrashekhar. Grandmaster, one of the top investigation murder mystery thriller movies in Malayalam, was also the first Malayalam movie to be released on Netflix.

9. Mumbai Police (2013)

Top 10 Best Murder Mystery Movies In Malayalam
Mumbai Police (2013)

Mumbai Police, starring Prithviraj and Jayasurya, dives deep into bold, rarely explored themes, solidifying its place as one of the best murder mystery movies the Malayalam film industry has ever produced. Director Rosshan Andrrews and the acclaimed duo Bobby-Sanjay spin a captivating yarn of a murder investigation that stands out from the usual thrillers we have seen. Aryan John Jacob (Jayasurya) is brutally murdered, leaving his best friend, Antony Moses (Prithviraj), to uncover the truth. But as Antony identifies the killer and is ready to put him behind bars, he suffers from partial amnesia in the aftermath of an accident. He grapples in the dark, desperately trying to put together the missing pieces of the puzzle, only to reveal a shocking truth about his own identity.

Mumbai Police is a Malayalam murder mystery movie to binge-watch online that masterfully weaves suspense, mystery, and raw emotions, exploring the darkest corners of the psyche. The brilliantly crafted script keeps you guessing until the very end, making this a must-watch for anyone seeking a truly gripping crime experience.

10. 12th Man (2022)

Top 10 Best Murder Mystery Movies In Malayalam
12th Man (2022)

Inspired by the Italian thriller “Perfect Strangers,” this film marks yet another collaboration between superstar Mohanlal and master director Jeethu Joseph, the duo behind the “Drishyam” franchise.

The movie narrates a fateful night that takes a deadly turn when among the Eleven friends who gather for a bachelor party, one is found dead. With each friend harboring a hidden motive, the investigating officer, DySP Chandrashekhar, suspects each of them to finally reveal the killer. Jeethu Joseph masterfully weaves a web of secrets and lies, where every seemingly insignificant detail holds a clue.

Affairs, betrayals, and simmering rivalries come to the surface as Chandrashekhar dissects the relationships between these friends. He skillfully uses flashbacks and shifting perspectives to keep you on the edge of your seat, constantly questioning who you can trust.

“12th Man” is a free-to-watch superhit Malayalam mystery film on OTT that is a testament to Joseph’s talent for crafting intricate narratives and Mohanlal’s captivating screen presence.

The Ultimate Guide To Your Malayalam Murder Mystery Watchlist!

As we come to the end of our top picks of fun family mystery movies in Malayalam, we assure you that each of these thrillers will linger in your minds long after the end credits roll. These films go beyond entertainment and challenge the audience to think, feel, and question the line between good and evil. So invite your friends over, grab some popcorn, and embark on a journey through the murder mystery marathon filled with suspense and emotions.

We know you’ll enjoy watching these awesome Malayalam films. And, once you’ve finished binge-watching these films, check out the top Malayalam crime movies that have been featured in another article of ours!

Frequently Asked Questions About Top 10 Best Murder Mystery Movies In Malayalam

1. Which are the top Malayalam murder mystery films that are worth watching?

Yavanika (1982), Kaanathaya Penkutty (1985), Ee Thanutha Veluppan Kalathu (1990), No. 20 Madras Mail (1990), Mukham (1990), Sethurama Iyer CBI (2004), Masters (2012), Grandmaster (2012), Mumbai Police (2013), and 12th Man (2022) are some of the top Malayalam murder mystery films that are worth watching.

2. Are there any Mammootty-Mohanlal combo murder mystery films?

No. 20 Madras Mail (1990) is a popular Mammootty-Mohanlal combo murder mystery film.

3. Which Malayalam murder mystery movies are must-watch investigative crime thrillers?

Sethurama Iyer CBI (2004), Masters (2012), Grandmaster (2012), Mumbai Police (2013), and 12th Man (2022) are some of the murder mystery movies that are must-watch investigative crime thrillers in Malayalam.

4. Which Malayalam murder mystery movie has Superstar Mammootty as a police officer?

Yavanika (1982), Ee Thanutha Veluppankalathu (1990), and Sethurama Iyer CBI (2004) are Malayalam murder mystery movies with Superstar Mammootty as a police officer.

5. Which are the Malayalam murder mystery movies that have Superstar Mohanlal as a police officer?

Mukham (1990), Grandmaster (2012), and 12th Man have Superstar Mohanlal as a police officer.

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