If you don’t watch Tamil films unless the cast is full of popular actors, you’ve probably noticed that some of the recent big budget films have been average at best, receiving mixed reviews from critics. And you’ve been missing out.
If you’re tired of the stereotypical, indestructible protagonist and the predictable stories, check out my pick of five awesome Tamil films from 2012, which you may have overlooked. They’re original, they restore your faith in Tamil cinema, and they are most certainly worth a watch!
Direction: Andrew Louis
Cast: Shiv Pandit, Manasi Parekh
Music: Satish Chakravarthy
Featuring a cast of new faces, Leelai is a light-hearted fresh take on a simple love story. The plot doesn’t feature extraordinary twists and turns and yet the film charms you and draws you in. Shiv Pandit and Manasi Parekh do a great job portraying their characters, Karthik and Malar. The characters are also believable and easy to relate to. Catch this one if you’re in the mood to see a light-hearted, feel-good movie!
Vazhakku En 18/9
Direction: Balaji Sakthivel
Cast: Sri, Urmila Mahanta, Mithun Murali, Manisha Yadav
Music: R. Prasanna
Vazhakku En 18/9 is a crime thriller directed by Balaji Sakthivel, who directed the hit film Kaadhal. At first, the film seems to be a typical film about teenage romance. However this is far from what the movie actually is. The film is intense, somewhat dark and features a great female protagonist – Jothi, played by Urmila Mahanta. Unlike the stereotypical female protagonist, who is the damsel in distress, crying about her troubles, waiting for the male protagonist to save her, Jothi is determined and, literally, fights hard for what she wants. This film will take you by surprise with its story and intensity.
Direction: S.S Rajamouli
Cast: Nani, Samantha Prabhu, Sudeep
Music: M.M Keeravani
The film, simultaneously made in Telugu as “Eega”, starts off as a cute love story between Nani and Bindu. Nani is then suddenly killed by Sudeep, who loves Bindu as well. Nani is reborn as a fly, hence the title “Naan Ee”. And yes I’m talking about a regular housefly. When I first heard that this movie was about a revengeful fly, I have to admit I was a little skeptical. But I had faith in the director. S.S Rajamouli, who is a noted Telugu film director and has directed the hit films “Magadheera” (dubbed into Tamil as Maaveeran) and Vikramarkudu (original film that Siruthai was remade from). The animation in this film is amazing and sets a new standard for Indian cinema. This film has a bit of romance, comedy and action. There’s no other film like it. Take a chance with this one. It won’t disappoint you! The film was also recently dubbed and released in Hindi as “Makkhi” and Malayalam as “Eecha”.
Direction: Karthik Subbaraj
Cast: Vijay Sethupathi, Remya Nambeesan
Music: Santhosh Narayanan
This thriller deals with the supernatural. Critics are calling it one of the best Tamil films of the year. Actor Siddharth tweeted, “I don’t usually tweet after half a film, but when a whole theater applauds at interval, I just had to. ‘Pizza’ (Tamil). So far…BRILLIANT!!!!” In its review of the film, Indiaglitz wrote, “”If the success of a thriller lies in bringing the film-goer to the edge of the seat, Pizza does it. With right toppings in the form of a taut screenplay, deft camera work, eerie sound effects and nice background score, the movie manages to leave a mark”.
I’ve been dying to try this Pizza, make sure you get a slice too!
Direction: Lakshmy Ramakrishnan
Cast: Viji Chandrasekhar, Jaya Prakash, Uma Padmanabhan
Music: K (Krishna Kumar)
Award winning actress Lakshmy Ramakrishnan, who is known for her portrayal of strong supporting characters (Yuddham Sei for example), has turned director with Aarohanam. The film focuses on the topic of mental health, more specifically bipolar disorder. N Venkateswaran for the Times of India wrote, “This could easily be the best Tamil film of the year, and not just because it is timely. The bigger reason is that it tackles a very important issue — mental illness — with a sensitivity that is rare to Tamil cinema, and does so without being judgmental about the main characters and their actions.”
Sudhish Kamath also wrote, “Aarohanam, that features strong, spirited women and tackles domestic issues with unprecedented sensitivity, is easily one of the finest Tamil films in years and probably the best you will see this year. Lakshmy has subverted every cliche Tamil cinema has been infested with over the last two decades and turns it into a celebration. Mothers will weep and the film is sure to sweep you off your feet with its brand of feel good entertainment. This is a film made with so much heart.”
Are there any films which you think should be on the list? Tweet me, @itsmeshiromi!
-Feature image courtesy of The Hindu