As long as they were active in the Malayalam tinsel world, Prem Nazir and Sathyan had virtually no challengers. Nevertheless, in those days, superstars were not the fulcrum on which Malayalam film industry turned.
Since 1990 commercial cinema became completely dependent on superstars. Both these stars are gifted actors as well, and most of the time they are able to produce films that satisfy the eager audience.
The latest phenomenon in Malayalam cinema is that of creating films with fresh faces in almost all aspects of film making, widely reckoned as a new generation trend.
All the directors who have entered the Malayalam film world during its golden era of the 1980s, except Padmarajan, are still making use of their creative talents to the utmost. Popular moviemakers of the present era are Shaji Kailas, Ranjith, Rosshan Andrrews, Blessy, Lal Jose, K. Madhu, Anwar Rasheed, and Johny Antony.
Directors like Murali Nair and Priyanandanan had made movies that won acclaim and attention of moviegoers. But they are not active of late after their initial success.
Though the Malayalam film industry has become superstar-dependent, lots of outstanding movies that won national acclaim were made during this period. Notable among these were Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s Kathapurushan (Man of the Story, 1995) and Nizhalkuthu (Shadow Kill, 2000), T. V. Chandran’s Ponthan Mada (1993), Ormakal Undayirikkanam (There Should be Memories, 1995), Dany (2001), and Padam Onnu Oru Vilapam (Lesson One: A Wail, 2003), Shaji N Karun’s Swaham (My Own, 1994) and Vanaprastham (Pilgrimage, 1999), Balachandra Menon’s Samantharangal (Parallelism), Jayaraj’s Kaliyattam (The Play of God, 1992) and Shantham (Calm, 2001), Lenin Rajendran’s Daivathinte Vikrithikal (The Ways of God, 1992), Blessy’s Thanmathra (Molecule, 2005), Priyadarshan’s Kilukkam (Jingle, 1991) and Kaala Paani (Black Water, 1995), Fazil’s Manichitrathazhu (The Ornate Lock, 1993), and Ranjith’s Kaiyoppu (Signature, 2007).
Malayalam movie world does not have a dearth of fresh talent. Young directors like Satish Menon, who directed Bhavam (Emotions of Being, 2002), Rajiv Vijay Raghavan who directed Maargam (The Path, 2003) and R. Sarath who directed Sayahnam (Twilight, 2000) and Sthithi (Plight, 2002) hold out a lot of promise for Malayalam cinema.