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2021: The best of Tamil cinema so far

2021: The best of Tamil cinema so far


2021: The best of Tamil cinema so far

It’s already October and we have seen some of the best content-driven movies coming from Tamil film industry. From the hard-hitting Dhanush starrer Karnan to Nelson Dilipkumar’s deliciously crafted black comedy Doctor, Tamil Cinema has found space for inventiveness as well as variety. And a closer look at the hits and misses of the year would reveal that content has taken priority over star power. Here’s a list of the best Tamil films released in 2021 (till October)

1) Karnan: Amazon Prime

Loosely based on the 1995 Kodiyankulam caste violence, Karnan chronicles a Dalit community’s fight against caste oppression and police excesses. Dhanush portrays the titular character who rises up to fight for the people of his village, who have been marginalised for decades. Through Karnan, director Mari Selvaraj channelises the inner anger of an oppressed society and questions the disquieting indifference of the privileged. A notable mention for Theni Eswar who left a lasting impression through his soul-stirring visuals.

2) Aelay: Netflix

Director Halitha Shameem’s latest offering is set in the backdrop of a rural setup and explores the strained relationship between a father  and his son. Muthukutty (Samuthirakani) sells ice-cream for a living but struggles to make ends meet. There are different shades to Samuthirakani’s character. He is cunning and fond of his drink and gambling but when a situation arises he could be compassionate. Embarrassed by his dad’s activities,  Parthi(Manikandan) moves to Chennai to find work. After his dad’s demise, Parthi rushes home but seemingly remains indifferent. Whether the son gets to know about the humane side of his father forms the rest of the story. It’s a light-hearted drama peppered with humour and intrigue. If we let go of its stretched climax, Aelay would make you smile in several places.

3) Mandela: Netflix

Written and directed by Madonne Ashwin, Mandela is a political satire that examines the deep-running fault lines in our electoral process — from caste division to poll freebies. Set in the backdrop of a local body election, Mandela depicts how two half-brothers won’t stop at anything to win. Elevated by Yogi Babu’s top-notch performance, Mandela will make you sit and reflect on our rights as people and our power when we’re together.

4) Sarpatta Parambarai: Amazon Prime

A cinematic tour de force, Pa. Ranjith’s Sarpatta Parambarai is an absorbing sports drama that takes us deep inside 1970s North Madras, the epicentre of boxing in the city that was home to two warring boxing clans.  Kabilan (Arya) comes from a community that has been denied their basic opportunities and due recognition. Even well-crafted boxing sequences keep us hooked, Pa. Ranjith has beautifully chipped in social and political undertones of a community (which Kabilan comes from), which has to fight both inside and outside the ring to reclaim its rights

5) Sulthan: Hotstar Premium

If you are looking for an out and out masala caper with strong emotional beats, you can take our word for this Karthi starrer. Bakkiyaraj Kannan’s latest offering is a mishmash Mahabharata with Kursowa’s Seven Samurai. Raised by a group of hardened criminals, Sulthan loves them but despises their taste for violence. He wants to reform them and help them live as a civilised person. A hired job to protect a village presents him with the perfect opportunity.  Sulthan comes with high production values and is replete with several whistle-worthy moments.

6) Anbirkiniyal: Amazon Prime

An efficient remake of Malayalam survival drama Helen, the Keerthi Pandian-starrer’s latest outing offers us a glimpse of a chilling slice of ordinary urban life. The eponymous hero Anbirkiniyal, aka Anbu, is an ambitious nursing graduate who is all set to migrate to Canada. Following an unexpected incident, she gets trapped inside. a freezer at her workplace. What happens to Anbu forms the crux of the story. Director Gokul has left no room for fluff. He does a great job of recreating the intensity of the original

7) Nenjam Marapathillai: ZEE5

Directed by Selvaraghavan, Nenjam Marapathillai is a trippy horror tale with a classic good versus evil premise but there is more to it. The plot of the movie revolves around a young woman Mariam (Regina Cassandra)  who works as a nanny to a little kid in a huge household. The kid’s father Ramsay (SJ Suryah) lusts for Mariam and makes advances on her but to no avail. Struck by his ego, Ramsay kills Mariam who comes back to haunt him. Selvaraghavan unleashes auteur touches into this genre to create an engrossing film.

8) Maara: Amazon Prime

Adapted from 2016 Malayalam film Charlie, the R Madhavan starrer is an endearing tale of a man who wears his heart on his sleeve and a woman who is in his pursuit. Despite working on a remake, director Dhilip Kumar brings in new elements that make Maara a new experience. Maara plays around brilliantly with raw emotions with Madhavan and Shraddhan Srinath giving an understated performance.

9) Mugizh: Theatres

Despite being one of the biggest stars of Tamil Cinema, Vijay Sethupathi never shies away from exploring new territory. Directed by Karthik Swaminathan, Mugizh is the latest experimental escapade of Sethupathi exploring themes of grief, affection, and parenthood. The story is about Kavya (Sreeja Vijay Sethupathi) who is afraid of dogs. Radhika (Regina) and Vijay, both pet lovers, get a dog to help Kavya overcome her fear. Refreshingly minimalist in its tone, Mugizh is a must watch for all dog lovers.

10) Doctor: Theatres

Directed by Nelson Dilipkumar, Doctor is a deliciously crafted black comedy featuring Sivakarthikeyan in a new avatar. The Hero star has shedded his boisterous self to embrace a dark role-– of an army doctor who goes after a human trafficking gang–with minimal dialogues. The film works despite its predictable plot and twists largely due to the wickedly funny screenplay of Nelson who seems to have vastly improved from his last film Remo.

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  1. Pingback: Jaishankar encourages Israeli businesses to focus more deeply on opportunities in India

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