It’s that time of the year again! Just like last year, I am leaving it to all the other bloggers, trackers, reviewers and fans of Tamil cinema to come up with the usual list of best films of this year. I am certain that most of us would’ve seen almost all these films. If you ask me for my top 10, here they are (in the order they were released)
- To Let
- Super Deluxe
- Oththa Seruppu Size 7
Apart from these films, I also liked Petta, Viswasam, Nerkonda Paarvai, Namma Veetu Pillai, Irandam Ulagaporin Kadaisi Gundu, Raatchasi, Vellai Pookal, Mehandi Circus and Kolaigaran.
Apart from these films, there were some which also made its way to the big screens this year but didn’t get the recognition it deserved. So here’s my post where I list the most underrated Tamil films of 2019.
PS: Kindly note that these films are in the order in which they released this year. Unlike other listicles which would contain films the writer had watched, I wasn’t able to catch all the films I’m mentioning here. So the following is actually a list of films that were compiled by me along with a couple of my fellow film fanatics. For films which have made their way to OTT platforms, I have also given the links. Some of the choices might even be shocking to you, but hey, my blog, my choice :P!
Dhilluku Dhuddu 2
I am one of many people who miss Santhanam the comedian and I was disappointed when he turned hero and gave some fiascos such as Sakka Podu Podu Raja. But that changed this year when he gave two of the best comedies in recent times. While you will find A1 later in this list, let’s first start with Dhilluku Dhuddu 2 which released in February. Yes, it’s once again a horror-comedy – a genre that has been exploited in recent times, but with some brilliant sketches and hilarious performances by Santhanam, Urvashi, Rajendran and a few more, this film easily surpasses its predecessor thereby making it one of Tamil cinema’s very few sequels that are better than the first film.
When a director and the lead actors are in a phase of their careers where they finally know what kind of films are necessary to make their filmography look better, a film like Kanne Kalaimaane happens. Seenu Ramasamy is a filmmaker who specialises in films about relationships and emotions sketched on a rural backdrop and Kanne Kalaimaane is yet another product from his stable that talks about how relationships across different members of family work. With both Udhayanidhi Stalin and Tamannaah giving one of their best performances, this film is a feel-good emotional overdose.
Sathru, starring Kathir, is one of those films which cannot be brushed under the carpet as yet another cop flick. Though it’s not a perfect film, Sathru’s antagonist – played by Laguparan, the way the film takes a course and thankfully, not having even a single song, help make it an intriguing watch. Heavily inspired by Suriya’s Kaakha Kaakha, Sathru has its share of issues, but it’s definitely a film you wouldn’t mind watching once.
If a film can hold the attention of its audience despite telling a story that’s not particularly new, then it’s an entertaining film. Nedunalvaadai, directed by Selvakannan does exactly that. It is a simple film with quite a tried and tested plot, but what makes it interesting is how beautifully some enjoyable elements can elevate even the simplest of scenes. With a completely new cast that does not feel like amateurs, who play progressive characters and a screenplay that brushes upon topics such as caste without getting preachy, Nedunalvaadai is a film that’s sure to give you a breezy glimpse of the rural side.
Watch Nedunalvaadai here (Works only outside India I guess)
With the last couple of years giving us a lot of sequels that are mostly not even half as good as the original films, I was sceptical when I walked into Uriyadi 2. Of course, the sequel is not as good as the original. The first part was more grounded and relatable while the sequel is based on the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. But what director Vijay Kumar did successfully was to retain the essence of what makes the franchise something we still talk about even today. The grittiness and the darkness are very much intact and that itself is a battle half won for a Uriyadi film. The sequel, despite having a wafer-thin plot, manages to keep us hooked and resorts to realism and practicality even when there was space for dramatic sequences. If you loved the first part, you will definitely won’t mind the sequel.
With way too many genres to try, it’s been a while since we saw a heartwarming love story. Apart from Mehandi Circus, If I have to name a feel-good romance drama this year, I can only think of Igloo. With perfect casting (the film stars Amzath Khan and Anju Kurian) and a director (Bharath Mohan) who, thankfully, knows how modern relationships work, Igloo is a simple yet effective take on a relationship that makes its viewer feel like they are actually a vital part of that liaison itself. Zee5, in the name of consistency, is coming up with at least one local content every month. While, as an avid viewer of what they have to offer, I can confirm that most of their original series are subpar. That makes Igloo a surprise package and I hope the OTT platform concentrates more on making such quality content.
If Dhilluku Dhuddu 2 was a fun sequel, Santhanam’s A1 was an extremely simple yet effective comedy. Despite a storyline that’s predictable and run of the mill, the comic sequences headlined by Santhanam and co are so brilliant that they make up to the scenes that defy logic. What worked for me was the fact that the comedian turned actor has realised his strengths and has restricted himself from trying to become a hero. In A1, right from the beginning, he is just another character stuck in a series of events along with his friends and that has worked in favour of the film. Throw in a lovely album and background score by Santhosh Narayanan, A1 is a film that definitely warrants a watch if you love the genre.
The fact that a film like Susienthiran’s Kennedy Club didn’t get the recognition it deserved while a film like Bigil minted money at the box office worries me. Both are about women in sports, both stars the lead player as a coach who had earlier been a player himself and both the films talk about corruption and players from the difficult backgrounds. But trust me when I say this – Kennedy Club did a better job in making its audience root for the underdogs and had better sports sequences. Starring Sasikumar and Bharathiraaja, the film also starred some real kabbadi players. The film has a few dull moments but the game sequences and lovely performances (especially by the veteran director), makes Kennedy Club a nice sports flick. After all, who else can come up with a good sports film in Tamil cinema if not for Susienthiran?
Recent films on animals, or to be specific, against the killing of animals, such as Saivam and Bakrid, have turned out to be heart-warming flicks. The innocence that comes with these films are extremely beautiful to watch and that innocence itself gives enough scope for a story to be weaved around it. Though director Jagadeesan Subu’s first film Sigai didn’t impress me a lot, his second film, Bakrid, starring Vikranth and Vasundra got me talking so much about it that I made my parents watch it the first day it landed on an OTT platform. Be it the way he showed the dynamics of a family from a particular backdrop, the greed and innocence of people and how it influences their life and how much a person can actually love an animal, Bakrid proved to be a contender for one of the best films of this year and thereby making one wish it got more accolades and attention than what it got.
KD (a) Karuppu Durai
Movies that bank on realism are rarely non-preachy and I am glad that films like KD (a) Karuppu Durai prove that it’s possible. While I don’t believe that films should have a message as a requisite in the first place, I am glad when these messages aren’t being shouted at me but instead whispered in an organic fashion, with the film’s flow. That makes KD an important film of this year and why the film and its director Madhumitha should be praised. It’s not often we see a film on the practice of Thalaikoothal (a practice of mercy killing the elderly and bedridden). But despite touching upon such a serious topic, the film is surprisingly fun and humourous and is a reflection of how life can be beautiful. A must watch!
Ah, finally a film starring Sundar C that can be recommended. The last time I said that was for his first film in a lead role, Thalai Nagaram. That was my first reaction when a friend said that Iruttu was surprisingly good. But I suppose the credit must be given to its director VZ Dhorai. Despite his last film Yemaali being a disaster, as a man who had directed films such as 6 Candles, Nepali and Thotti Jaya, I always found him to be quite underrated. Iruttu, true to its title, is extremely dark in a satisfactory manner if you’re a fan of the horror genre which has been diluted with silly horror comedies in the last couple of years. Despite having its set of flaws, Iruttu, with a strong story in its core, packs a punch with some brilliant scares. High time the horror genre got its respect back, eh?
Bharath desperately needed a good film and if his Simba, with which he started this account this year, got some decent reviews, his last film of the year, Kaalidas ended up being a pleasant surprise. A cop thriller is anything but new to Tamil cinema, but still, Kaalidas, with a neatly written story and well-casted characters, makes us walk out of the theatre with a satisfactory smile on our faces. Just like almost all the films in this list, Kaalidas also has its own set of faults, but an intriguing screenplay overshadows these blemishes to give us a thriller that would have been perfect if it had had a shorter run time.
Sillu Karupatti hit the screens on Friday and has been getting overwhelmingly positive reviews. I have not been able to catch it yet but I do know that the film has gotten unanimous thumbs up from those who have seen it which is unprecedented for an anthology in Tamil. I am wrapping up this post hoping that this Halitha Shameem directorial gets the due recognition it deserves.