Traffic (2011 film)

Traffic is a 2011 Indian Malayalam-language road thriller film written by brothers Bobby and Sanjay and directed by Rajesh Pillai. The film features an ensemble cast consisting of Sreenivasan, Kunchacko Boban, Rahman, Anoop Menon, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Sandhya, Roma, Remya Nambeesan, Asif Ali and Namitha Pramod.[3] The film has its narrative in a hyperlink format. The film opened on 7 January 2011, to a positive reception. It is widely regarded as one of the defining movies of the Malayalam New Wave.[4] A multi-narrative thriller that intertwines multiple stories around one particular incident, Traffic is inspired from an actual event that happened in Chennai.[5][6] Owing to its critical and commercial success, Traffic was remade into Tamil as Chennaiyil Oru Naal, in Kannada as Crazy Star and is also remade in Hindi, with the same name. This was also the last film of the veteran actor Jose Prakash.[7]

Traffic (Malayalam film).jpg
Theatrical Official poster
Directed byRajesh Pillai
Written byBobby Sanjay
Produced byListin Stephen
Kunchacko Boban
Asif Ali
Anoop Menon
Vineeth Sreenivasan
Remya Nambeesan
Namitha Pramod
Narrated bySreenivasan
CinematographyShyju Khalid
Edited byMahesh Narayanan
Music byMejo Joseph
Samson Kottoor
Distributed byMagic Frames
Release date
  • 7 January 2011 (2011-01-07)
Running time
122 minutes
Budget2.75 crore (equivalent to 4.6 crore or US$640,000 in 2019)[1]
Box office15 crore (US$2.1 million)[2]


On 16 September, superstar Sidharth Shankar (Rahman) gets ready for the release of his new film. On the same day, Traffic Constable Sudevan (Sreenivasan) joins back on duty, after having been suspended from service for taking bribe as he wanted to pay the fees for his niece's admission. The day is special for Dr. Abel (Kunchako Boban) who is celebrating his first wedding anniversary. Raihan (Vineeth Sreenivasan), an aspiring television journalist, starts his first job with an interview with Siddharth Shankar the very same day.

On the same day, at a crowded traffic junction in Kochi, Raihan and Rajeev (Asif Ali), travelling in a bike are fatally hit by a speeding car at the signal. Raihan is all set to interview the superstar, Siddharth Shankar. Also at the junction, in another car, is the surgeon Dr. Abel.

Raihan goes into coma and is declared brain dead although he is kept alive using ventilator in Lakeshore Hospital Kochi. Meanwhile, Siddharth's ailing daughter Riya's (Namitha Pramod) condition becomes worse. She is admitted to Ahalya Hospital Palakkad and she urgently needs a heart transplant. At first, Raihan's parents do not agree to take their son off the ventilator and donate their son's heart but Rajeev and Raihan's girlfriend Aditi (Sandhya) persuade them into it. Now that the heart is available, the problem was with transporting it from Kochi to Palakkad. No helicopters or chartered flights are available due to bad weather and time concerns and so the heart will have to be taken by road. Someone will have to drive the 150 kilometres from Lakeshore Hospital in Kochi to Ahalya Hospital in Palakkad in under two hours during the rush traffic.

City Police Commissioner Ajmal Nazar (Anoop Menon) is asked to carry out the mission. He initially refuses considering the complexity and risk involved in the mission. But finally, he heeds to the persuasion of Dr.Simon D'souza (Jose Prakash). Sudevan, being an experienced driver who has driven as an escort for ministers, volunteers to be the driver of the Mahindra Scorpio which will transport the heart because he wanted to regain the name he lost due to the bribe incident. Accompanying him on this mission is Dr Abel and Rajeev.

Everything goes smoothly for some time. But at a point Dr. Abel threatens Sudevan that he would kill Rajeev if he didn't comply, forcing Sudevan to deviate from the highway into a forest road (Puttukad forest area) in order to save himself from the police. However, Rajeev retaliates leading to a fight. He phones his sister Miriam (Roma) and speaks that he had hit his wife Shwetha (Remya Nambeesan) with a car as he was infuriated with the fact that she was cheating on him with his best friend Jikku (Krishna) and that she has possibly died, so he wishes to save himself from the clutches of the police. Here Siddharth Shankar phones him and convinces him that he can save Abel, however, Abel is shown not to be so convinced. In the nick of time, Shruti(Lena), Siddharth Shankar's wife explains her mental traumatic condition due to the heart problem of her daughter for the last 13 years. And explains that no other problem can be bigger than this one. Abel now convinced, advises Sudevan and Rajeev to leave. However, Sudevan decides to have Abel with them in the team and in spite of the repeated suggestions from the Commissioner Nazar to get him arrested.

They are then shown to enter a road 8 km ahead of the route time table, thus making up for the time they lost in the forest. However, after some time Riya's conditions worsen, forcing the team to take an alternate route through a communally sensitive place called Bilal Colony. It is shown that police cannot enter the place due to its strong minority. Rajeev seems to know the place well and advises Siddharth Shankar to get the place cleared for the vehicle to move. Siddharth Shankar personally phones Thanzeer(Baiju Ezhuppuna) the Fans Club President who goes out of his ways and means to clear roads for the vehicle. Rajeev exits the vehicle as soon as they enter the colony to ensure the roads are clear. In midway, Abel also exits the vehicle to remove two vehicles which are blocking the route. After which Abel boards the car with Thanzeer's assistance, however, Rajeev is unable to board the car. Sudevan drives at high speeds and ensures that they reach Ahalya Hospital on time. Covering the challenging 150 km feat in a daunting 1 hour and 58 minutes.

It is shown that Shwetha is out of danger and has no complaints regarding the accident against Abel, thus freeing him. Rajeev is offered a lift to Kochi by an unnamed man (Nivin Pauly). Raihan's parents invite Aditi home as a symbol of acceptance and prepare for the last rites of Raihan. Riya opens her eyes, bringing joy to her family, Nazar feels a sense of satisfaction and phones Dr. Simon D'Souza to thank him. Sudevan en route to his home finds a few people fighting on the road regarding a minor accident, where he signals them to stop the fight. Thus the movie ends on a happy note.


  • Sreenivasan as Sudevan Nair, a head constable in Kochi City Traffic Police
  • Kunchacko Boban as Dr. Abel Thariyan, a reputed cardiac surgeon at Lakeshore Hospital, Ernakulam.
  • Vineeth Sreenivasan as Raihan Saifudeen, A journalist trainee working in Indiavision
  • Asif Ali as Rajeev Menon, Raihan's best friend
  • Anoop Menon as SP Ajmal Nazar IPS, City Police Commissioner of Kochi
  • Rahman as Siddharth Shankar, a Malayalam Cine Megastar
  • Sandhya as Aditi, Raihan's girlfriend and a divorcee
  • Roma as Miriam, Abel's sister working in Club FM
  • Lena as Shruthi, Sidharth Shankar's wife
  • Sai Kumar as Dr. Saifudeen, a surgeon and Raihan's Father.
  • Fathima Babu as Raihan's Mother
  • Remya Nambeesan as Shwetha, Abel's wife.
  • Vijayakumar as Mathew, Private Secretary to Sidharth Shankar.
  • Dr. Rony David as a Journalist
  • Namitha Pramod as Riya, Sidharth Shankar's daughter.
  • Krishna as Jicku, a common friend of Abel and Shwetha who has an affair with Shwetha.
  • Reena Basheer as Sudevan's wife
  • Nisha Sarang as Sudevan's sister
  • Prem Prakash as a doctor
  • Renjith Reghu as Deepu
  • Mahima as Aditi's friend
  • Baiju Ezhupunna as Thanzeer,[8] the Siddharth Shankar Fans Club President of Bilal Colony
  • Akhil S Prasad as Ajaz, Miriam's brother.
  • Jose Prakash as Dr.Simon D'souza (Guest appearance)
  • Nivin Pauly as a man in a car (Special Appearance)
  • Gowri Krishnan as Sudevan's Daughter (Special Appearance)


The film is directed by Rajesh Pillai.[9] Writers of the film Bobby and Sanjay, who scripted Ente Veedu Appoontem and Notebook explain: "The director wanted the film to be of a different mould altogether. Here every character is of equal importance as the story moves ahead. It was quite a challenging task but an enjoyable experience as well."[10] They add that the film is inspired by a true incident. A similar mission was successfully carried out by the Tamil Nadu police in a more complex Chennai city.[10][failed verification] Also, in a scene, the character played by Anoop Menon talks about the incident.

Traffic is one of the first multi narratives made in this decade in Malayalam film. The film has Sreenivasan, Rahman, Kunchacko Boban and Asif Ali as the four lead protagonists whose stories are narrated through the sequences.[11] Vineeth Sreenivasan, who recently made his debut as a writer and director with Malarvadi Arts Club, says that it was the exciting script that attracted him to the project. "It is a particularly exciting day for my character as he is all set to join a news channel but as it turns out fate had other plans in store for him," adds the actor.[10] On the theme, Rajesh says, "I felt it was a theme that could connect with viewers regardless of their age. It's a contemporary theme that reassures us that if we approach something with honesty, even nature will come to our support."[12] The film will be the second on-screen pairing of Vineeth and Sreenivasan, after their first film Makante Achan.[9] Sandhya plays Aditi, who is in love with Raihan. "Aditi is perhaps more worldly-wise than usual for someone her age. But she has her own reasons for being so", says the Malayali actor who created quite a stir with her performance in the Tamil film. This movie was said to be better than its other remakes.


Critical responseEdit

The film opened on 7 January 2011 to positive reviews. Veeyen of gave the film 3 out of 5 stars, writing, "Rajesh Pillai's Traffic is a brutally brilliant film in which he lends color to coincidence and unveils before us cogitation on the dynamics of chance. A strikingly crafted film that is raw and genuine, it crawls right under your skin and stays there."[13] IndiaGlitz enthusiastically praised the film's "riveting plot, great performances, soulful music... and skillful direction".[14] A review at Cinefundas also praised the acting, adding that "the real hero of the film is the script".[15] called it "an overwhelming experience" and rated it as "very good."[16] The Malayalam website Movieraga called it an "excellent movie" and went on to state that the new blood of Malayalam cinema cannot be seen as second-grade any more.[17] The movie was part of the series of movies that began the New Generation Movement.[18]

Traffic was screened in the Malayalam Cinema Today section at the 16th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala in 2011.[19]

Box officeEdit

The film became both critical and commercial success.[20][21]


Soundtrack album by
Released25 December 2010 (2010-12-25)
GenreFilm soundtrack
LabelSatyam Audios
ProducerListin Stephen
Mejo Joseph chronology
Kanmazha Peyyum Munpe

All lyrics are written by S. Ramesan Nair except where noted; all music is composed by Samson Kottoor except where noted.

1."Kannerinjal" Mejo JosephVipin Warrier, Hesham Abdul Wahab 
2."Pakalin"Vayalar Sarath Chandra VarmaMejo JosephSithara 
3."Unaroo Mizhiyazhake"  Chinmayi 
4."Unaroo Mizhiyazhake"  Samson Kottoor 
5."Unaroo Mizhiyazhake" (Instrumental)  Kalyan 
6."Theme Music" (Instrumental) Samson Kottoor  


Owing to its critical and commercial success, Traffic was remade in Tamil as Chennaiyil Oru Naal (2013). In Tamil version, This movie had made Blockbuster in Box Office. Its Hindi remake, Traffic has been released in May,2016.[22][23]


Award Category Result Recipient Ref.
Best Screenplay Won Bobby-Sanjay [24]
Best Director Won Rajesh Pillai
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Won Lena
Best Film Won Listin Stephen [25]
Best Supporting Actress Won Lena Abhilash
Best Script Won Bobby-Sanjay [26]
Second Best Actor – Male Won Anoop Menon
Second Best Actor – Female Won Lena Abhilash
Lohithadas Award
Best Script Won Bobby-Sanjay [27]
Best Film Nominated Listin Stephen [28]
Best Director Nominated Rajesh Pillai
Best Screenplay Won Bobby-Sanjay
Best Supporting Actor Nominated Anoop Menon
Best Supporting Actress Nominated Remya Nambeesan
Best Character Actor Nominated Sreenivasan
Asiavision Movie Awards
Best Popular Movie Won Listin Stephen [29]
Second Best Actor Won Anoop Menon
Best Screenplay Won Bobby-Sanjay
Special Performance Award Won Rahman
Trendsetter Award Won Listin Stephen
Nana Film Awards
Best Film Won Listin Stephen [30]
Best Director Won Rajesh Pillai
Best Editor Won Mahesh Narayanan
Mathrubhumi Kalyan Silks Film Awards
Best Screenplay Won Bobby-Sanjay [31]
Best Path Breaking Film of the Year Nominated Listin Stephen
Surya Film Awards
Most Popular Director Nominated Rajesh Pillai
Best Editor Won Mahesh Narayanan
Kochi Times Awards
Best Script Won Bobby – Sanjay [32]
Amrita Film Awards 2012
Best Supporting Actor (Female) Won Lena Abhilash [33]
Best Script Won Bobby-Sanjay
Trendsetting Film Director Won Rajesh Pillai
Jaihind Film Awards 2012
Best Director Won Rajesh Pillai [citation needed]
Film Guidance Chalachitra Awards 2011
Best Supporting Actress Won Remya Nambeesan [34]
Reporter TV Film Awards 2012
Best Film Won Listin Stephen [35]
Best Director Won Rajesh Pillai
Best Script Won Bobby-Sanjay
Best Editor Won Mahesh Narayanan
Best Supporting Actress Won Lena Abhilash
Thikkurissy Awards 2011
Best Second Actress Won Sandhya


  1. ^ "2011 was troublesome for Malayalam films". CNN-News18. 4 January 2012.
  2. ^ Manoj Nair (21 May 2011). "Malayalam movies: Non-linear narratives are making the box-office ring louder". India Times. Economic Times.
  3. ^ Coming up: A complex Traffic – Movies
  4. ^ Sathyendran, Nita (3 July 2013). "Shot at direction". The Hindu. Chennai, India.
  5. ^ "Hithendran Incident".
  6. ^ "Traffic Movie Review".
  7. ^ "Veteran Malayalam actor Jose Prakash passes away". The Times of India. 24 March 2012. Archived from the original on 11 January 2014.
  8. ^ Traffic (2011) - IMDb, retrieved 12 May 2019
  9. ^ a b "Vineeth and Sreenivasan in 'Traffic'". Indiaglitz. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
  10. ^ a b c Vijay George (30 September 2010). "It happened one day..." The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 30 September 2010.
  11. ^ "'Traffic' to start this July". Indiaglitz. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  12. ^ Vijay George (13 January 2011). "Traffic gets green signal". The Hindu. Chennai, India.
  13. ^ "Rajesh Pillai's Traffic is a brutally brilliant film!". Nowrunning. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
  14. ^ "Traffic – This is a 'Traffic' of change". IndiaGlitz. 8 January 2011.
  15. ^ "Traffic – Malayalam Movie Review". Archived 11 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine 7 January 2011.
  16. ^ Movie Review:Traffic review
  17. ^ Review: Traffic | MOVIERAGA
  18. ^ "When script trumps superstars: How Malayalam cinema has changed in the last decade". The News Minute. 31 December 2019. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  19. ^ "A slice of Kerala". The New Indian Express.
  20. ^ "Kaavalan to Meendum Oru Kadhal Kadhai: 5 Malayalam remakes that shouldn't have been made". India Today. 28 August 2016.
  21. ^ "2011: Malayalam filmdom failed to script success". CNN-News18. 21 December 2011.
  22. ^ "Malayalam 'Traffic' to Be Remade in Tamil?". Top 10 Cinema. 1 February 2011. Archived from the original on 4 February 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  23. ^ "ട്രാഫിക് ഹിന്ദിയിലും". (in Malayalam) Kerala Kaumudi. 11 April 2011. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
  24. ^ "Kerala State Film Awards".
  25. ^ "Filmfare Awards South 2012".
  26. ^ "Kerala Film Critics Awards 2012". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 18 May 2012.
  27. ^ "ലോഹിതദാസ് പുരസ്‌കാരം ബോബിക്കും സഞ്ജയിനും". Mathrubhumi. Archived from the original on 28 June 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
  28. ^ "Asianet Film Awards 2011".
  29. ^ "Asiavision Movie Awards". Archived from the original on 25 January 2012.
  30. ^ "Nana Film Awards 2011". Archived from the original on 10 July 2012.
  31. ^ "Mathrubhumi Film Awards 2011". Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  32. ^ "Kochi Times Film Awards 2011". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013.
  33. ^ "Amrita Film Awards 2012". Archived from the original on 14 October 2013.
  34. ^ "Film Guidance Chalachitra Award 2011".
  35. ^ "Reporter TV Film Awards 2012".

External linksEdit

Further readingEdit