The Best of Tamil Cinema in 2016

2016 was an interesting year for Tamil Cinema with a variety of topics being explored. Some big films didn’t do well, while some small films made impact. Certain stars did well,while some of them didn’t really do well. Here are the films in my opinion which stood a little apart from the rest of the pack and made an impact this year.The movies aren’t sorted in any order of merit. Sorting is done based on release dates.

 best-of-tamil-cinema-2016
Maalai Nerathu Mayakkam Poster 2Brutally honest filmmaking and an intense love story seen in Tamizh cinema after a long long time. The year did indeed start off with a bang. MMM was drenching in emotions at it’s very best! Pure, unadulterated cinema lovers are likely to devour this for a long time.

The way in which Geetanjali Selvaraghavan managed to portray the most intricate sides of an unbalanced relationship in a heart-melting demeanor went down as a cult.

Kathakali
Vishal, Catherine Tresa in Kathakali Movie Audio Release Posters

Vishal, Catherine Tresa in Kathakali Movie Audio Release Posters

Kathakali is a perfect hodgepodge of some water tight screenplay, pulsating BG score & a breakneck pace, which is indeed a welcome thriller as in TC. Even though there are a lot of elements in the first half which would prove the other way around, riveting story-telling and clever execution helped the movie’s cause big time. Given some incisiveness in the first 30-40 minutes which was rather way too distraught as mentioned above, this would’ve well been one of the finest ever movies in recent times.

Decent watch. A step ahead of “Paayum Puli” but definitely not up to “Paandiya Naadu”. As far as Pandiraj is concerned this is way better than his “Pasanga 2”.

Saala Khadoos and Irudhi Suttru 3You don’t often get to see such a delightful contest between the lead actors and the music director, trying to outscore each other in every other scene. It happened here! And the end result was nothing less than owning our gooseflesh in every possible instance!
Irudhi suttru is THE PERFECT KNOCK OUT!

Such a beautifully conceived, powerful, passionate and gritty boxing feature in Tamil cinema. Once in a blue moon happening indeed!

Visaaranai PosterVetrimaran has made something very clear. He doesn’t want any bullshit empathy from us towards the innocents who were, are and will be vandalized by heartless humans in the guise of Policemen. He dictates us something else. He has us pondering over the uncertainty & panic-striking system amidst which we are living in. Not just living but even survival is difficult when going gets tougher.
Borrowing words from Kishore’s character in the movie, “Rich men are being looked upon as villains by the other set of people. Even they themselves develop a guilt over self for having so much money”.
Same way, we live in a society where immigrants & innocents lives are taken for granted. They are the most facile sacrificial lambs so as to hide a lot of ugly truths incurred by big shots.
Vetrimaaran _/\_
Enough said.

Barring children, I’d like to see every other section of audience celebrating our own international cinema. Masterpiece is an understatement!

Miruthan

miruthan-posterMiruthan does entertain but it does in it’s own desi south Indian zombie demeanour. An audacious attempt by Shakti Soundar Rajan indeed. But nonetheless, Shakti deserves a pat on his back for bringing the zombie concept to the grassroot level and executing in a rather conventional way, instead of sticking to any particular complex execution

SethupathiFrom the word go, Sethupathi clearly establishes that it’s fulcrum is only wholesome entertainment and not brainless entertainment. One highly versatile cop movie that serves the family audience big time under the shades of a thriller. A cop movie with maximum realism and utmost grace in TC is such a rarity these days. Totally fell in love with this one!

Aarathu Sinam

Though thaarathu-sinam-posteris a remake, Aarathu Sinam comes off as an impressive thriller with no frills attached that never goes over the top, neither fails to entertain us. Hats off to director Arivazhagan and team for working so much to justify the remake tag.

Pichaikkaran

pichaikkaran-posterVijay Antony & his subtle enigma in this drama has just managed to deliver the unexpected. This Pichaikkaran has successfully managed to entertain us in a wholesome way by serving all the required emotions in right proportions. Probably one of the finest commercial movies of the year after ” Sethupathi”.

Kadhalum Kadanthu Pogum Poster 2KaKaPo, apart from other films with similar concept or subject: the film is scrutinizing life and absorbs a relevant essence. Its idea is not to be a “funny film” or a “romantic comedy”, but to tell us about men and women, about winners and losers, about dreams and reality.
While this wacky flick is not easily fitting genre labels, it rises above respective categories as a work that largely defies stereotyped thinking, and by doing so brings a lot of credibility to the table. It may not exactly be a political movie, nor an independent film; but it’s a great observer of life as it happens.

Such a beautiful beautiful movie in recent times. Go and fall in love with this spectacle.

25th thozha_11x15_TamilA movie that spreads positive vibes in every frame though the story line had enough scope to make it a tragic/gut-wrenching one. Kudos! But I must concur with my fellow proponents of the movie — it was a great and very satisfying movie. It provided me with something that everyone in one or another shape or form needs — Hope. The movie showed the cruelty of life and yet managed to shed some light and insight into the beauty of love and life in general.

Theri Poster 6Atlee delivered what he promised. Untiring, well conceived and neat entertainment.

I couldn’t find any faults other than some pacing problem at the start of the second half. But there were enough number of adrenaline pumping scenes to make it up though. At the end of the day, Theri is perfect commercial outing with a potpourri of wide range of emotions at a high level, well scripted brilliantly executed and perfectly enacted.

Manithan

manithan-posterManithan though is a honest reprisal of “Jolly LLB”, couldn’t match the excellence achieved through the original without an iota of question. But at the same time, doesn’t leave any stone unturned either. We are treated with exactly the same kind of brutally straightforward truths we happened to face with the original, which takes a dig at the biased nature of Indian judicial system that never bats an eye for the poor but only for the rich in general. Well made courtroom drama with no big complaints, but at the same time could’ve been bettered too.

24 Poster 6Delivers what it just promised. An entirely new and path-breaking cinema in Tamil. More like a breath of fresh air. Specks of glitches present throughout the duration of the movie only prevents the movie from becoming Tamil Cinema’s finest fiction thriller., but does assert itself as one of the finest in the same kind.

Marudhu 

marudhu-posterYet another nonchalant and rawly entertaining rural drama from director Mutiah that seems more than just belonging to D.Imman this time from a different actor called Vishal. Yes. Marudhu has every other stereotype and cliche that any other dual flicks comprises these days. At the end of the day, Marudhu is a wholesome entertainer that might very well work with the B & C centers and still impress the A center audience too, given you’re someone who likes this kind of raw and ‘tharalocal’ rural entertainers.

Uriyadi Poster 3Vijay Kumar has done a masterstroke with the last few minutes of the film where he provides plausible justification to the disgusting violence shown on screen. With the proceedings happening in 1999, Vijay Kumar has taken the cinematic liberty to utilize fierce props to stage various gruesome murders. The film is definitely not the the faint hearted people. Stay away if you have a weak stomach.

How social stratum plays a pivotal role in deciding the influence of local politics is explained comprehensively in the film, which shines in Vijay Kumar’s bold narrative style.

Iraivi Poster 4“Iraivi” shall be Tamil cinema ‘s most coveted gem for years to come.
And this will be the finest ever movie made in Indian cinema taking a dig at the patriarchal mindset and misogynist concussion of the society we live in most poetic demeanour, with zero commercial compromise.
But at the end of the day, this languidly paced and lushly portrayed masterpiece may well not be the wind beneath everyone’s wings. Not at all surprised at the mixed response the movie fetched.
Such insane maturity and flamboyance in scripting such an insightful script within your first 3 movies? Karthik Subbaraj. You must be kidding me.

He already has affirmed a niche for himself which already is as impeccable as any other legend’s is.

Velainu Vandhuta Vellaikaaran

Nikki Galrani, Vishnu Vishal, Soori in Velainu Vandhutta Vellaikaaran Movie Release Posters

VVV though has got nothing exorbitant to offer, rides on a ‘better’ storyline to be honest. Thanks to Soori and Vishnu, first half gets going with a lot of distractions though. What actually brings down the roof is the entire second half, after the re-entry of Robo Shankar and Ravi Mariya. Absolutely hilarious stuff which will leave you gasping for breath. It was really refreshing to see such a honest comic caper after a long time that doesn’t dish out any lame entertainment but a hearty one.

VVV is carefree entertainment with no holds barred. Go, laugh your asses out.

Amma Kanakku
Yuvasri, Amala Paul in Amma Kanakku Movie Release Posters

Yuvasri, Amala Paul in Amma Kanakku Movie Release Posters

Amma Kanakku is a well crafted drama that steals your hearts and attention as well. Recommended watch even for those who’re into mainstream cinema because the director managed to convey the message even without resorting to the ‘artistic’ route.

Appa

appa-posterThe modus operandi upon which “Appa” works on, is highly sensitive, delicate and indeed appreciable. But the amateurism and overdramatic stuffs here and there pulled theovie down by miles to be honest. The ending note looked so forced that it even turned out to be preachy at the end of the day. A strict one time ready reckoner that too only if you’re totally ok with these kinda movies as explained above.

Kabali Poster 6Yes. We were given 2.30 hours of Rajinikanth. Exactly the kind of charming Rajinikanth for which we were craving for years. But not in the exact demeanour we wanted to. Kabali is just a shadow of what it could’ve been. Ranjith lets us down. But not Rajinikanth.

Joker

joker-posterThe film is a hard hitting satire about the country, its people and the living conditions. More importantly it has exposed the Indian psyche in general. Nevertheless, Joker is worth a watch just for it’s audacious writing, bold execution and a kind of satire that our Tamil cinema just hasn’t witnessed anywhere nearby to my knowledge.

Dharmadurai

dharmadurai-poster-2Barring a few flaws, Dharmadurai deserves a watch and has to be appreciated for the kind of movie it is. A movie that insists on the nobility of medical profession, importance of relationships, beauty of friendships, impact & problems caused by dowry, etc. I loved the way Vijay Sethupathi carried the entire burden on his shoulders but still didn’t let the movie down till the end credits.

Aandavan Kattalai

aandavan-kattalai-posterAandavan Kattalai  works largely due to its script and the situational comedy in the narration. The way the story unfolds and the difficult situations the hero faces is so well brought out, without taking any cinematic liberties. But on the whole the film is another feather on Manikandan’s cap, as he has been able to change tracks successfully from art house cinema to meaningful entertainers

Devi(L)

devil-posterVijay’s Devi, thankfully, there’s not a single horror stereotype you could point out to and say, ‘hey, I’ve already watched it in some other film’. There’s no creaking of the door, or howls of the the dogs at night, but what you get is a refreshing horror-comedy featuring Prabhudheva as a hapless husband, and in a solid comeback role.

kodiKodi is a regular commercial potboiler but still managed to edge the clichéd political ones by a large margin all thanks to the freshness in execution and the little twists and turns that kept the film reel ticking without any lag. Despite the run-of-the-mill screenplay and a very average musical score, the director knew what he was doing say like there weren’t any unnecessary doses of comedy tracks, romance scenes between the lead pairs or over-the-top stunt choreography. Though the story elements had hugely delicious twists of events, the drama went never overboard nor did the political subtext overtake the actual core of the movie.
Double cheers to Senthilkumar!

Kodi flies real high thanks to some well complemented colors given to the flag by Dhanush’s screen presence, subtle doses of political antics and clever direction of Senthilkumar.

achcham-yenbadhu-madamaiyadaGVM just shows signs of being an auteur. The first hour literally dictated the kind of filmmaking genius GVM actually is. His sense of visual elegance, his aesthetics, his command over the audience pulse and his hold over the the on screen characters shall never be paralleled.
And GVM – ARR pair on screen churn out one wonder after the other 😍 Am not even kidding.
This combo just justifies the reason why Indian movies must contain songs. They just take the character arcs and story elements to the next level of celebration and conviction with their songs. What mastery _/\_
But at the end of the day, the epilogue just gave such a painful kick that made me forget every single goodness the movie managed to throw upon me. The reason why GVM gave such an ending shall remain TC’s biggest mystery ever (preceded only by the reason for which Kattappa killed Baahubali maybe)

You owe us an explanation GVM. You really do! For spoiling your own broth so damn badly!

Saithan
saithan-posterSaithan is film that will divide the Tamizh film community and critics alike. This will leave one bunch of audience bewildered at the movie and another bunch awestruck at the same. A movie that messes a lot with you and your mindset while watching it. And no one likes to be messed with. And that is exactly where it exceeds. Think I’m contradicting myself?
Yes. Saithan is such a mixed bag.

Yet, it is by far one of the most inventive, well-written, and cerebral films in recent times.

chennai-28-ii-innings-posterEasily one of the best of the year and THE BEST coming-of-age comic caper in recent times that will have a plenty of repeat audience and will be devoured by the majority for years to come. One rare movie which has comedy, love, betrayal, friendship, cricket, reunion, sentiments, spoof and pun in splendid proportions.

Chennai600028II is pucca Paisa vasool!

Dhuruvangal Padhinaaru

Dhuruvangal 16 Poster 2D16 is easily one of the best whodunit thrillers ever made in TC. The gutsy and intriguing style of execution though is completely alien to us, Director Karthick Naren still managed to present it in a very familiar and less complex execution. Truly Hollywood’ised indian thriller that we can truly take pride of.

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