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2015 in retrospect: Tamil films with unique storylines, formats

Mainstream Tamil cinema may be star-obsessed but the year also saw much creative content. Take a look.

regional movies Updated: Dec 31, 2015 17:34 IST
(Left to right) Uttama Villain, OK Kanmani and Kaaka Muttai were among the many films that pushed the frontiers of creative content in Tamil cinema.
(Left to right) Uttama Villain, OK Kanmani and Kaaka Muttai were among the many films that pushed the frontiers of creative content in Tamil cinema.(Facebook)

If mainstream Tamil cinema has the dubious distinction of hero-worshipping its stars, the industry has time and again proven that it is also capable of genuine creative content. Of the over 200 Tamil films released this year, there were a few that may not have necessarily created an impact at the box office but they appealed to a mixed audience with their unique storylines, talent and formats.

Here’s a list of 10 such movies that stood out in 2015:

Kaaka Muttai

Kaaka Muttai review: A small film with a big heart

A poster of Dhanush-produced Kaaka Muttai, directed by Manikandan. (KakkaMuttai/Facebook)

M Manikandan’s debut feature Kaaka Muttai is not a children’s film. It’s a movie for adults and relates to children oblivious to the growing social divide, capitalism and elitism. It’s also a film you can watch with your children without a doubt, and be assured that they will enjoy it.

Rajathandiram

Rajathandiram has been dubbed as the best heist film of Tamil cinema in 2015. (Rajathandhiram/Facebook)

AG Amid’s Rajathandiram, hands down, is the best heist film to have come from Tamil cinema. Made exclusively for the kind of audience that appreciates original content and doesn’t like to be spoon-fed, it’s hard to believe it’s the work of a newcomer. An extremely well written, edge-of-the-seat thriller, this is a small film with all the potential that big films lack.

Uttama Villain

Lot of buzz, but will Kamal Haasan’s Uttama Villain be a dud?

Kamal Haasan’s Uttama Villain is a look at stardom and mortality. (Uttama-Villain/Facebook)

Kamal Haasan’s semi-autobiographical take on stardom and mortality could easily be the most underrated, star-studded film of the year. While the film may have turned out to be a dud at the ticket windows, Haasan proved once again why he’s one of the best writers we have in the country.

Kuttram Kadithal

Kuttram Kadithal is counted among the best docu-dramas coming out of Tamil cinema in 2015. (KuttramKadithal/Facebook)

This was perhaps this year’s dark horse. Revolving around events that take place in a school in a single day, this extremely well-written docu-drama encompasses multiple themes ranging from motherhood to religion and humanity.

Naanum Rowdydhaan

Produced by Dhanush, the film stars Vijay Sethupati and Nayantara. (NRDMovie/Facebook)

A story about a wannabe rowdy and a woman he wants to help avenge the death of her father, this is the most entertaining Tamil film of the year. It also brought back two highly talented actors -- Vijay Sethupathi and Parthepan -- to glorious form.

Trisha Illana Nayantara

Trisha Illana Nayanthara review: A half-baked sex comedy

This A-rated sex comedy stars GV Prakash Kumar, Anandhi, Manisha Yadav and Simran. (TINTheFilm/Facebook)

An A-rated sex comedy that may have not done full justice to the genre, but introduced us to a young filmmaker, Adhik Ravichandran, who isn’t afraid to go against the tide. With an ‘adults only’ certificate, the makers had the licence to go all guns blazing, and one wishes they didn’t restrict themselves.

Thani Oruvan

Arvind Swamy, the nice guy in Mani Ratnam’s Bombay, turns evil with this film and impresses. (ThaniOruvanOfficial/Facebook)

A film that made its audience roots for a villain! How many times does that happen in Indian cinema, given the kind of villains our films produce? In a comeback role, Arvind Swamy was terrific in this extremely stylish thriller that made us take notice of its underestimated director Mohan Raja.

O Kadhal Kanmani

OK Kanmani marked Mani Ratnam’s return to romance genre. (OK Kanmani/Mani Ratnam)

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Mani Ratnam fan or not, his O Kadhal Kanmani will leave you with an everlasting smile on your face. The movie, which marked the auteur’s comeback to the romance genre after a decade, was a refreshing take on contemporary romance and relationship.

CSK: Charles Shafiq Karthiga

A low-budget thriller which rests entirely on its female protagonists. (CharlesShafiqKarthiga/Facebook)

A low-budget thriller that unfolds in a single night in a shopping mall, the entire story of the movie rests on its female protagonist, and that’s not something you see often in Tamil filmdom. While the film attempts something offbeat but doesn’t quite succeed, it still manages to keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

Kallappadam

Kallappadam is about how first-timers try to make a film based on folk art Koothu and supposedly walks the tightrope between satire and tribute. (Kallappadam/Facebook)

Closely following in the footsteps of meta-films such as Jigarthanda and Kathai Thiraikkathai Vasanam Iyakkam, debut filmmaker J Vadivel’s Kallappadam is another honest and brave attempt to shine a spotlight on the trials and tribulations of struggling first-timers in filmdom by walking a tightrope between satire and tribute. What we get to see may not be exceptional, but something far offbeat than the mainstream garbage.

Other notable mentions include Indru Netru Naalai and Yennai Arindhaal.