10 Films of Legendary Directors That Didn’t Rise Upto Expectations

10 Films of Legendary Directors That Didn’t Rise Upto Expectations

6 Feb 16 @ 2:36 PM
Many Malayalam directors accumulated multiple awards and made incredible reputation as master film makers and delighted audiences with their work. Nevertheless, some of them directed at least one flop movie, which is always available for the audience to re-watch and ponder over the reasons behind their failures or outright condemn those films. For some of the directors, these flops represent an outlier amidst their career graph, a rare mistake amidst a stream of commercial and critical success. Some of them took these failures as a hurdle and came back with some of their brilliant works later; others took a toll from the debacle and never regained form. Here are the big failures of ten famous Malayalam directors:
  • 'Devadoothan' (2000) - Sibi Malayil

    This 2000 released Malayalam film was the pet project of ace director, Sibi Malayil. The film boasted of a huge star cast and crew including Mohanlal, Jayapradha, Jagathy Sreekumar, Vineeth Kumar, Murali and Lena. Cinematography for the film was done by Santhosh Thundiyil and Vidyasagar scored the music for which he won the Kerala state award. Despite the technical quality and novelty in narration and brilliant acting by the cast, the film bombed at the box office. Sibi Malayil had delivered the colossal hit, ‘Ustaad’ the previous year. The failure of ‘Devadoothan’ was a setback for the producers as well as the director.
  • 'Njan Gandharvan' (1991) - Padmarajan

    Padmarajan is one of the most remembered directors of Malayalam cinema. He was a prolific writer and a winner of the Kerala Sahitya Academy award for his first novel, ‘Nakshatrangale Kaval’. He turned to filmmaking by writing the screenplay for Bharathan’s debut feature film, ‘Prayaanam’ (1975). ‘Njan Gandharvan’ was the last film done by Padmarajan. This fantasy film starred Bollywood actor Nitish Bharadwaj and Suparna Anand in lead roles. It was loosely based on the lines of the German classic, ‘Wings of Desire’, but ‘Njan Gandharvan’ released in 1991 to a cold box office response. The high budget of the movie made it an even bigger failure. It took a toll on Padmarajan and the director died a week later after its release. Ironically, the film went on to attain cult status through the home video circuit. Today, the film is one of the most loved Malayalam films of all time.
  • 'Devaraagam' (1996) - Bharathan

    Bharathan made ‘Devaraagam’ simultaneously in Tamil and Malayalam. The film had two of the biggest stars of that time, Arvind Swamy and Sridevi. It was also the only time Arvind Swamy and Sridevi acted together. Music for the film was composed by Telugu music composer MM Keeravani with lyrics by MD Rajendran. The music instantly became a hit but it couldn’t save the film. ‘Devaraagam’ turned out to be a huge disaster upon its release.
  • 'Kaiyethum Doorath' (2002) - Fazil

    Fazil, who had given classics like ‘Manichithrathazhu’, ‘Nokkathadoorathu Kannum Nattu’, ‘Aniyathipravu’ tasted failure through ‘Kaiyethum Doorath’. The director wanted to launch his son, Fahadh Faasil through the film. Fahadh, who was only 20 years old was introduced as ‘Shaanu’ (his nickname). The film starred Fahadh and Nikita in main roles, with Megastar Mammootty playing a cameo. The film was made in the same format of Fazil’s own ‘Aniyathipravu’ (1997). ‘Kaiyethum Doorathu’ was not just a failure for Fazil but it also made Fahadh to take a seven year hiatus from the industry.
  • 'Kalapani' (1996) - Priyadarshan

    ‘Kalapani’ was the biggest film in Priyadarsan’s career until then. The film had the best technicians and actors of that time. The film was written by T Damodaran and Priyadarsan. Mohanlal, Prabhu, Tabu, Annu Kapoor, Amrish Puri, Sreenivasan and Nedumudi Venu played main roles in this epic film set in 1915 - Andaman Nicobar islands. ‘Kaalapani’ had Ilaiyaraja scoring the music, Santhosh Sivan cranking the camera, N Gopalakrishnan handling editing and Mohanlal producing it. The film was distributed by ABCL (Amitabh Bachchan Corporation), releasing in 450 theatres worldwide, a record at that time. The film though became a box-office failure, Priyan later remarked that the film had become a hit if he had cut down the commercial elements a bit.
  • 'Praja' (2001) - Joshiy

    Joshiy, was riding in the success of films like ‘Lelam’ and ‘Pathram’ (1999) and ‘Vazhunnor’ when ‘Praja’ and ‘Dubai’ happened. Among the two ‘Praja’ was a bigger film and the bigger flop. ‘Praja’ was high on the commercial element and had Mohanlal blasting away lengthy dialogues in long takes. The story of the film was overfilled with melodrama. After the debacle of ‘Praja’, Joshiy took a break from filmmaking.
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  • 'Azhakiya Ravanan' (1997) - Kamal

    ‘Azhagiya Ravanan’ was the story of Shankar Das (Mammootty) an underdog who went on to become a big business man and subsequently gets drunk on his success. The story of a businessman coming back to his roots with false purpose of ‘producing a film didn’t go well with the audience. One more thing which was attributed to its failure was its non-conventional climax. Kamal’s ‘Mazhayethum Munpe’ released the previous year had been a big hit, commercially and critically. The failure of ‘Azhagiya Ravanan’ was a blow to his career. But Kamal didn’t take the failure that seriously and came up with the hit ‘E Puzhayum Kadannu’ in the same year. Azhagiya Ravanan, though is one of the most watched movies in TV today.
  • 'Balram Vs Thardas' (2006) - IV Sasi

    ‘Balram Vs Tharadas’ was a crime thriller starring Mammootty in a double role. The film had the unique characteristic of having the hero and villain from two different iconic films. Mammootty reprised both these roles from the orginals. The negative role was from ‘Athirathram’ (1984) and the protagonist character was from the classic 1991 ‘Inspector Balram’. IV Sasi and T Damodaran wrote the script together, the duo was one of the most successful writer-director collaborations ever. Bollywood actress Katrina Kaif made her Malayalam debut through this movie. Sasi’s previous movies like ‘Ee Nadu Innale Vare’ and ‘Symphony’ had tanked without a trace and he badly needed a hit. ‘Balram Vs Tharadas’ was planned as Sasi’s comeback to the major league. Unfortunately the film proved out to be a box office bomb at release. The production suffered losses and IV Sasi hasn’t done a major movie (apart from the low budget flick, ‘Vellathooval’) since then.
  • 'Randam Bhavam' (2001) - Lal Jose

    'Randam Bhavam' is an action- thriller directed by Lal Jose. Lal Jose had just tasted success with the sleeper hit, ‘Chandran Udikkunna Dikkil’ starring Dileep and Kavya Madhavan. This made the director to plan an action thriller with a wider canvas. His next movie was ‘Randaam Bhaavam’ starring Suresh Gopi in a double role. The movie was shot in Kerala and Mumbai. The movie also had a big supporting cast including Poornima as Akhila, Thilakan as the mafia don – Govindji, Biju Menon as Jeevan, a cop and Narendra Prasad as Ananthu/Kichu’s (Suresh Gopi) father. The film was high on technical quotient including brilliant action sequences, S Kumar’s cinematography, Vidyasagar’s music and Ranjan Abraham’s editing. Still, the film bombed at the box-office with Lal Jose never getting over the film’s failure. Later on just like many other films in the list, ‘Randam Bhavam’ went on to become a classic in the Malayalam action genre.
  • 'Thandavam' (2002) - Shaji Kailas

    Shaji Kailas was one of the most successful directors in Malayalam. With terrific hits like Narasimham (2000) and Valiettan (2000), Shaji Kailas broke records with every film of his. His winning streak diminished after his Tamil film, ‘Vanchinathan’ turned out to be an average fair at the B-O. His next was ‘Thandavam’, starring Mohanlal. The film saw one of the biggest initial pulls in Malayalam, but still flopping at the box office. The film was such a disastrous flop that Shaji Kailas took a break from the film industry only to comeback in 2004 with ‘Natturajavu’.