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Malayalam cinema is the Indian film industry based in the southern state of Kerala, dedicated to the production of motion pictures in the Malayalam language. Although the industry’s gross box-office is smaller, when compared to larger market driven Indian industries such as Hindi cinema, Telugu cinema, and Tamil cinema, Malayalam films have gained unique recognition in world cinema for their technical finesse and craft. Malayalam films are released in India, and a handful of them being released in the United States, Australia, Germany, U. K . and the Persian Gulf. Works such as Marana Simhasanam and Vanaprastham were screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival. Marana Simhasanam had garnered the coveted Caméra d’Or (“Golden Camera”) for that year.
In 1982, Elippathayam won the Sutherland Trophy at the London Film Festival, and Most Original Imaginative Film of 1982 by the British Film Institute. Rajiv Anchal’s Guru (1997) and Salim Ahamed’s Adaminte Makan Abu (2011) are the Malayalam films to be sent by India as its official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Academy Awards. Adoor Gopalakrishnan has garnered the International Film Critics Prize (FIPRESCI) for his works such as Mukhamukham (1984), Anantaram (1987), Mathilukal (1989), Vidheyan (1993), Kathapurushan (1995), and Nizhalkkuthu (2002).
Other films which achieved global acclaim include Chemmeen (1965), which received Certificate of Merit at the Chicago International Film Festival, and Gold Medal at the Cannes Film Festival for Best Cinematography. Piravi (1989), winning at least 31 international honors, including the Caméra d’Or — Mention Spéciale at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival, and was screened at the Un Certain Regard. Swaham (1994) which bagged Bronze Rosa Camuna at the Bergamo Film Meeting in Italy. The first 3D film produced in India, My Dear Kuttichathan (1984), was made in Malayalam. The first CinemaScope film produced in Malayalam was Thacholi Ambu (1978).
During the early 1920s the Malayalam film industry was based in Trivandrum, although the film industry started to develop and flourish only by the late 1940s. Later the industry shifted to Chennai (formerly Madras), which then was the capital of the South Indian film industry. By the late 1980s, the Malayalam film industry returned and established itself in Kerala with a major chunk of locations, studios, production and post-production facilities in Kochi and Trivandrum. Several media sources describe Kochi as the hub of the film industry, while Kerala government publications state that Trivandrum is the center.