BySree Lal, writer at
Engineer by occupation. Movie geek for a lifetime....
Sree Lal

Cult (noun): a person or thing that is popular or fashionable among a particular group or section of society.

When a movie fails to find a favorable market on it's release and eventually succeeds in impressing a particular set of audience, we hail it by the name cult classic. Movies like The Big Lebowski, which was way ahead of its time, The Room, which is so bad that it is good and Evil Dead which was a low-budget wonder, falls in this category. While this definition is applicable to any movie, why should we stick with just Hollywood? Every country has it's own film industry, every language has a it's own movie. Since this challenge is to recommend relatively unknown films, let me introduce you one of my all-time favorites.

Thoovanathumbikal/Dragonflies in the spraying rain (1987)

This Malayalam language film( yup, that's my mother tongue!) is one of the best movies ever made in any Indian languages. For starters, India consists of 28 states and each of these states has it's own language and it's own film industry. Malayalam film industry has it's own identity through directors like Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Shaji N Karun (both of them are well-recognized around the Cannes community). CNN-IBN had conducted a survey to find the 100 best Indian movies on the eve of Indian cinema's 100 year celebrations, and Thoovanathumbikal found itself among them!

But, it wasn't the case on it's release...

During it's release, the movie was panned by critics and audience alike due to it's sensitive and non-conventional subject. It was a realistic take on love and lust with enough humor and beautiful songs. The bravery of its creators to work on such subjects (please have a note that it's 1980's India) was lauded by it's audience. Still, it failed to impress the majority of it's viewers.

Why it is worthy of its status?

As I've mentioned before, this film brilliantly blends drama and reality and brings out a fine romantic dramedy. Even though it's initial responses were poor, today everyone recognizes it's mastery and how evolved the concepts are. Truly a masterclass work and it deserves to be a cult classic.

Thoovanathumbikal is directed by the late Padmarajan (considered a legend around here) and it stars Mohanlal (let's say he's our answer to Tom Hanks, Al Pacino and Russel Crowe!) Sumalatha and Parvathi. For those who are willing to give it a try, have no fear. One might condemn the cultural differences and it's a hard stone to turn. Other than that I strongly recommend this film to every moviebuff around the world!

5 Day Recommendation Challenge:

  • Day 1: Recommend a 90s Comedy (TV or Movie)
  • Day 2: Recommend a Cult Movie
  • Day 3: Recommend a TV Series That Ended Before its Time
  • Day 4: Recommend a Movie That Got Critically Panned
  • Day 5: Recommend a Comic Book Movie (that isn't Marvel or DC!)

Post your recommendation as well as why and then tag 5 members of the Moviepilot community to keep the recommendations coming!


Ready to taste some Indian classic?


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