2011 that is coming to a close was by no means a great year for Tamil Cinema, but by all means it was an eventful one. The year gone by in Tamil cinema will be best remembered for Dhanush’s ‘Kolaveri di’ sensation, which not only brought the actor into limelight but also became one of the most hummed songs of 2011. ‘Why this Kolaveri Di’, a Tanglish song in Dhanush’s unpolished voice, set the virtual world on fire and introduced the actor to the entire nation.
The year also saw Tamil superstar Rajinikanth suffer a health scare, which left his millions of fans worried.
Out of the 138 films released in 2011 only 16 films took back their investment or crossed the break even as per producers council claims.
There are some really good movies released this year and Tamil film industry has proved that it can make films on par with world cinema. The big stars were humbled, the younger ones shined, experimentation was appreciated, corporates showed interest in producing movies and produces opted for more reallistic and good cinema, which the audience too yearned for. What’s heartening is that films made in small budget were touching and experimental, heralding a new period in Tamil cinema.
Here is our pick of best of Tamil cinema, 2011.
Aadukalam – Dhanush’s best
Star Cast: Dhanush, Tapsee
‘Aadukalam’, which scooped up six national awards, was easily one of Dhanush’s best works to date. His performance as Karuppu portrayed the life of someone who lives, breathes and dies rooster-fights, speaking in the Madurai dialect almost flawlessly;
Yet Dhanush’s wonderful acting (he’s excellent, especially in the throes of love and betrayal, for which he won a National Award), Tapsee’s fresh looks, the entire casts’ performance made for a very earnest film.
Mankatha – Ajith’s grand 50
Star Cast – Ajith,Trisha
Direction – Venkat Prabhu
Playing a hero is the ultimate for an actor. But here is an Ultimate Star, who dared to differ. Even while ruling the roost as a leading man, Ajith made a defiant detour and strides on the path of villainy like a colossus, in his 50th film ‘Mankatha’. Again, it was complete self-confidence that makes him showcase his salt and pepper hairstyle throughout — no other hero would attempt it, unless of course he’s playing an old man. And even then, the film was bound to have a segment that shows him in all the joie de vivre of youth.
Maniacally money-minded, this villain dictated the terms, and be it the law abider or law breaker he’d better fallen into line. This new Ajith appeals!
With admirable nonchalance, director Venkat Prabhu and hero Ajith had broken the myth about the image of a protagonist in our films. Also deviating from the norm, for probably the first time in our cinema, retributive justice had been given the go by!
Kaavalan & Velayudham – Dual hits for Vijay
Star Cast – Vijay & Asin(Kaavalan); Vijay,Genelia and Hansika(Velayudham)
Direction – Siddique(Kaavalan);Jayam Raja(Velayudham)
After a string of not-so-successful movies, Vijay had bounced back with “Kaavalan” last Pongal, that revived the dwindling fortunes of the actor. Now with “Velayudham”, a typical Vijay mass masala movie, he has regained lost ground and is back to what he does best — entertain.
The movie released without much hype. With an engaging screenplay sprinkled with comedy and action, and the one man entertainment troupe Vijay in the lead, ‘Velayudham’ was a clear winner this Deepavali that raked in the moolah.
Vijay’s coming release, ‘Nanban‘ (the remake of ‘3 Idiots’ being helmed by director Shankar) is expected to make it a hat-trick of hits.
KO – A perfect break for Jeeva
Star Cast: Jeeva,Ajmal,Karthika Nair
Direction: KV Anand.
Directed by K V Anand, ‘KO’ turned out to be 2011’s biggest hit for Jeeva, playing a photojournalist in the movie. The movie has completed a 175-day run and has bettered the collections of K V Anand’s previous hit film Ayan. And, it is still going strong. ‘Rangam‘, the Telugu dubbed version of ‘KO’ too opened in a big way winning critical reviews besides huge collections.
Emerging slowly but steadily as a maker of commercial bonanzas with credulous twists, KV Anand struck gold with Ko.
7aam Arivu – Fails to meet with high expectation
Star cast: Suriya,Shruti Haasan
Direction: AR Murugadoss
With ‘Dheena’, ‘Ramana’, ‘Ghajini’ and their versions in various languages, A R Murugadoss had a dream run. Whatever he touched turned gold, even when he did not direct them, as proved by the success of ‘Engeyum Eppodhum’ that he only produced. That Midas touch sadly seems to be missing in ‘7 Aum Arivu’.
“7aum Arivu”, the much-hyped Surya-Murgadoss-Harris combo with the likes of Shruthi Haasan making a debut in Kollywood, did not live up to the reputation of characters it portrayed. Sometimes it is better for the movie to do the talking.
The movie had a story par excellence and one of the film’s great strengths is the beautifully shot and wonderfully evocative prologue. The first 20 minute sequence is astonishingly beautiful and heartfelt. However the screenplay is on a topsy-turvy ride, which was done to increase its commercial value. Despite his intention to open up Tamil cinema to new international audiences, Murugadoss becomes so bogged down in masala conventions that it can become hard to appreciate the special things about this film.
This film may do reasonably well at the box office, but still be considered a failure due to a large budget.
Mayakkam Enna – Yer another milestone in Dhanush’s carrier
Star Cast: Dhanush, Richa Gangophadyay
After a brilliant performance earlier this year in ‘Aadukalam’, Dhanush had no roles worth a mention. But with ‘Mayakkam Enna’ he proves why he is one of the best actors around. After a hiatus, the brothers Selvaragavan and Dhanush have created an electrifying movie that captures the attention of the youth. This film was a story about an ordinary man who aspires to be successful in his career.
Dhanush lived the character of karthik swaminathan and has moved to next level of acting.Selvaraghavan’s presentation of the story was brilliant and many scenes will remain in the hearts of viewers for quite some time.
Wish Dhanush takes up only those roles that constantly challenge him as an actor.
Kanchana -Surprise Success of the year
Star Cast – Raghava Lawrence,Lakshmi Rai
Direction – Raghava Lawrence
Raghava Lawrence’s Kanchana can be called the 2011 surprise hit. The movie saw Raghava touching upon the theme of witches, eunuchs and a lot of faky bloodshed along with some nicely pinched humor to create a unique concoction being absorbed with a shocking curiosity. It emerged this year’s most successful Tamil film based on ROI (return on investment).
Made on a budget of 8.5 crores, including publicity cost of 1.5 Crore, while its Telugu dubbing rights were sold to Bellamkonde Suresh for 4 crores, the film is expected to gross 15 to 20 Crore in Tamil Nadu only at the end of its run.
Engeyum Eppodhum – Novel attempt by the debutant director
Star Cast – Jai,Anjali,Sharvanand,Ananya
Direction – Saravanan
In an industry that thinks mega-budget movies, with their mightily overpriced stars, foreign locales and special effects, guarantee instant success and box-office nirvana, it is satisfying to see that movies like ‘Engeyum Eppodhum’ are also made. And all praise goes to director A R Murugadoss – for believing in the project and backing a first-time director, M Saravanan, to give life to his dream.
‘Engeyum Eppodhum’ is the perfect example of a movie relying solely on its screenplay and performances to strike it rich at the box office. Let there be more of its ilk.
Good films failed to click at the box office
Not often films with good scripts turn out to be successful ones at the box-office; Despite positive criticism from the critics and the print and television media, few films have hit a stumbling block at the box-office. Worth mentioning such movies are Vaagai Sooda Vaa, Mouna Guru and Azhagar Saamiyin Kudhirai.
Vaagai Sooda Vaa – The film directed by Sargunam and starring Vimal and Iniya in the lead, had an amazing script and a socially relevant message and was shot very well to match the script which was set in the seventies. However this movie did not do well in BO. It is not surprising the Tamil audience used to punch dialogue hero and high BP villains (like Prakash Raj) could not take this movie well.
“Mouna Guru” was one of the little masterpieces that have come out in recent times but went unrecognised without much positive word-of-mouth. Arulnithi had given an incredible performance and stole the show with his underplayed performance. This movie was a welcome relief from the countless crass commercial entertainers.
Suseendhiran’s Azhagar Saamiyin Kudhirai was a simple and unpretentious film contrasting sharply with the modern-day Tamil cinema. Appu Kutty, till then a comedian’s sidekick in cinema, was its protagonist! Though realistic and commendable, Azhagarsamiyin Kudhirai didn’t exactly set the box office on fire.
Others that did steal the hearts of masses were “Karthi’s Siruthai, Sasikumar’s Poraali, Simbu’s Vaanam, Bala’s Avan Ivan, Cheran’s Yuddham Sei,”.