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50 Tamil Movies to watch before you Die- 1

For those who are fond of international movies ( other than Indian movies and Hollywood), UTV World Movies is a boon. They run a series called 50 Movies to watch before you die handpicked by different directors like Anurag Basu, Kunal Das Gupta etc., A wonderful series of movies you cant miss.

I thought why not a similar list for Tamil Movies. Tamil movies had a very limited audience in the past. Globalization of movie world and the advent of Internet has given a wider audience to Tamil Movies. From Rajini fan clubs in Japan to Billa running full houses in China, Tamil movies have come of age.
Tamil movie world is called Kollywood as to hollywood and bollywood. It gets its name from Kodambakkam, a locality in Chennai, where the Cinema Studios like AVM are present. Tamil movies are a perfect blend of action, comedy, music, dances, fanfare, glamor and sentiments. The expectations of the audiences are so high that they expect the perfect blend for every movie.

I have tried to hand pick some of the unknown gems in the Tamil Movie world for the readers. All these movies are main stream movies and not documentaries from the racks of film schools. These are the movies which created histories, changed trends, broke the norms and entertained the Tamil Audiences.

1. Andha Naal (1954)

All the Tamil movies in the yester years ran for atleast 3 hours, had a minimum of 10 songs, one stage dance and few stunts. Andha Naal broke the norm being the first movie with No songs, No dance and No fight sequences. It was produced by the legendary A.V.Meyyappa Chettiar, directed by Veenai S.Balachander and the cast include Sivaji Ganesan, Pandari Bai, Javert Seetharaman ( yes, he got the name from Les Miserables character and it was his best portrayal in the Tamil adaptation) etc.,

The story revolves around the murder of Sivaji Ganesan, with each of his relatives claiming the other one as the killer. Each one gives a different version of the story and Javert Seetharaman is the CID officer, who cracks the case. Sounds similar?

As most of you think, it has resemblances with Rashomon, a Japanese Thriller by Akiro Kurosawa. But originally it was a adaptation from the British movie called Woman in Question by Anthony Asquith.

Although its an inspiration, the director had intelligently woven the national fervor with the murder coinciding with the Japanese Bombing the city of Madras on October 11, 1943. It has a vast significance in the plot of the movie.

What makes the movie so special?

The brilliant acting of the characters. Even the smallest of the roles, catch your attention. Pandari Bai as the enstranged wife, Sivaji with negative shades and the neighbourhood old man were brilliant. If they were brilliant the chemistry between Javert Seetharaman and his assistant was fantabulous. The dialogues (Javert) are crisp, sharp camera work (Maruthi Rao) and slick, flawless screen play (Javert), makes the movie so watchable.

Andha Naal 2

Although the movie didn’t make money ( which discouraged AVM to foray in to such movies), its hailed as a master piece in Tamil Cinema. I don’t think a director can become complete without analyzing the facets of this movie. A perfect study material for making a perfect screen play.

Why it makes to the list?

Just because it broke the norms and created history. It also stands as the testimony to the fact that Tamil Cinema is not about only song and dance. It tops the list of my all time favorite movies. I am yet to see a movie which can beat it.

References:

1. “Eye of the Serpent” by Randor Guy.

2.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antha_Naal

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Marketing Analyst by profession, a quizzer by passion, a blogger by choice, a poet by chance, a non-conformist by gene and a rebel by birth

14 Comments

  1. Shyam · April 16, 2009 Reply

    Yeah, A brilliant movie. If I remember right the sound track is also minimalistic mostly with original sounds.

    • Sylvian · April 17, 2009 Reply

      Yes shyam, that\\'s why none of the reviews or books speak about the music director… I am unable to find it too…Thinking about seeing the movie again.

  2. Ravi Shanker · April 16, 2009 Reply

    You've been guaranteed a visitor for the next 49 days!

    • Sylvian · April 17, 2009 Reply

      Ravi , i think i can\\'t write it daily for the next 50 days but i hope to write the series as frequent as possible..Thank you for your support. Now it gives me a responsibility to write the series well.

  3. Matti · April 17, 2009 Reply

    I have a strange feeling that you are blog is going to be a big hit as the series goes forward. Include one trivia section where you put in trivia stuff. Don't do it in 50 days flat. I would suggest one review a week or a forthnight. That would create some suspense

    • Sylvian · April 17, 2009 Reply

      I will have Trivia section from the next post …Actually i wrote the second post today and it got blown up my iPhoen wordpress app…I have to write another good one now…Anyways thanks for the comments, i am joping to do good job with the series

  4. Prunthaban · April 17, 2009 Reply

    Have you noticed that this movie and Sujath's novel 'Aryabhatta' are almost ditto copy!
    I did not expect that from Sujatha! x-(

    • Sylvian · April 17, 2009 Reply

      You are right Pruntz…But dunno why he did so?

    • prakash · June 21, 2010 Reply

      Yes, that is too bad on sujatha. The weak spot in sujathat story is Anand wife barathi is not shown as a patriot and the plot is week. Blunder from sujatha.

  5. Raji · April 18, 2009 Reply

    Not a single song in it! And the mystery /suspense maintained to the very last. Best of all, no melodrama.

  6. Yuvaraj · August 3, 2010 Reply

    where are the remaining 49 movies. i was so eager to know list. but you disappointed me.

    • Sylvian · August 3, 2010 Reply

      Hi Yuvaraj, I have written more than 13 movies so far – you can actually find it in the bottom where it will show related posts :) I am writing more – will publish one by one

  7. Raj · March 16, 2011 Reply

    Hi Sylvian

    Your take on Andha Naal is good. References to Woman in Question and Rashomon really surprised me to find a deep movie buff. Good because i am one too. But I know very little about Tamil movies. Post more with comparisons to world cinema. Cheers

    • Sylvian · March 18, 2011 Reply

      Thanks Raj. I love movies and watch a lot of world movies. In fact that becomes a bigger problem when I find the blatant plagiarisms made by the tamil directors. Will continue to post about movies my evergreen favourite subject .

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