Kollywood as usual had a roller coaster ride in 2015. Backed by the success of small budget movies in 2014, this year saw directors making some interesting experiments. Finally, I am happy that we saw a good sci-fi movie in Tamil. We had a star trying to change his ways through a classy movie but straying away to a masala at the end of the year. In fact, the success of Vedalam made me question whether I should continue reviewing movies. I am still contemplating.
We saw the rise of another bankable actress – Nayanthara. We also saw the decline of big stars. The Tamil movie audience is showing that they have to reinvent. We saw the demise of some stalwarts – Manorama Aaachi and MSV while talented editor Kishore’s sudden demise was shocking.
We also saw the much publicised Tamil actors association elections and mudslinging. Personally, it was a difficult task to watch Tamil movies this year as I was in the UK. I watched 83 movies but I wrote only 3 reviews because I saw them late on Herotalkies. It helped me to understand why Tamil cinema distribution is a tough task and the clout of international distributors like Ayngaran. In fact, Aascar Ravichandran chose to distribute ‘I’ by himself and had a wider release while other producers are restricted by the international distributors.
- The movies are in alphabetical order and not ranked. These are the best movies of 2015 according to me and not based on box office returns.
- The list of songs is from movies that were released in 2015. So don’t expect Tharai Thappattai or Maalai Nerathu Mayakkam to feature in the list.
- I haven’t added dubbed movies to the list.
- The songs/albums are listed in chronological order and not ranked.
The 10 best movies of 2015
The magnum opus that the whole country should be proud of. Although the movie had an age old story that mostly looked like a mashup of multiple ancient fables, the vision of SS Rajamouli made the movie special. The focus and dedication in creating the mise-en-scene, the amazing workmanship to bring out the best from his actors and meticulous post-production makes this movie one of the best this year. I am definitely waiting for the second part of the movie.
2. Indru Netru Naalai
A time travel comedy in Tamil is unimaginable. But it happened in 2015 and I am glad it happened. Sujatha would have finally smiled after watching a Tamil movie. A true blue sci-fi and I was going crazy at the climax and the way debutant Ravikumar.R handled the subject deserves a pat on the back. And thanks to CV Kumar for backing up such projects.
3. Kaaka Muttai
I watched Kaaka Muttai only recently. I stayed away from the movie just to wade off the hype (I do it for a lot of movies). But I should say I liked it. I think both Kaaka Muttai and Kutram Kadithal (next movie in the list) handles the same theme in two different ways. Manikandan has extracted the best out of the two kids and it makes you reflect on the society that we live in.
4. Kutram Kadithal
It will remain the best movie of the year for me. It reminded me of Thomas Vinterberg’s Jagten (The Hunt, 2012) the Danish movie about a teacher being accused of sexual harassment by a small girl. Kutram Kadithal was that good for me. It reflected how everyone wants something out of an issue that’s blown out of proportion. There is one scene where black garbage bag sticks on to Merlin’s leg just to symbolise that she is becoming bad (the use of black for evil and white for good has been used by Alfred Hitchcock extensively) shows how talented Bramma G is. Radhika Prasidha is an actress to look out for.
Kutram Kadithal had a good run in film festivals across the world and won the National Award for Best Film in Tamil. They also made a simultaneous (almost) digital release which could be a wonderful revenue option for smaller movies.
5. Moone Moonu Varthai
I still remember going gung-ho on Facebook after watching this wonderful little gem of a comedy. The last few years we are bombarded with comedy movies but most of them are repetitive while this one wasn’t. Directed by Madhumita (her last two outings weren’t that impressive). The wonderfully crafted screenplay coupled with some amazing dialogues and the excellent acting from the leads, Arjun Chidambaram and Venkatesh Harinathan makes this movie as the best comic movie for me this year. If you haven’t watched it, give it a try.
6. Purampokku Engindra Podhuvudamai
Most of the lists will not have this movie but I thought it was one of the better movies of the year. In the 1980s, we had a lot of anti-establishment movies that were revered but the thought that we are living in a better world makes these movies unwelcomed. Purampokku Engindra Podhuvudamai makes a strong case against the death penalty and its criticism on capitalistic society at large made the movie unpalatable for most people. Jananathan’s honest filmmaking with some strong performances from Vijay Sethupathy, Arya and Shaam makes this movie one of my favourites this year.
Heist movies are fun. If you see it in one way, it’s sadistic to enjoy when someone gets robbed. But it’s a movie and when it’s made well, you really enjoy it. Rajathanthiram is a taut thriller that keeps you at the edge of the seat until the end. Directed by debutant AG Amid with Veera and Regina in the lead, this little gem was a good surprise of the year. I am willing to forgive them for getting inspired by Rififi in the heist part.
8. Thani Oruvan
I should admit that I was biased against M.Raja. I used to call him Xerox Raja for his meticulous remaking of movies. I was never confident that he could make a wonderfully crafted screenplay. I am ecstatic that he proved me wrong and other critics in the best way possible – writing a brilliant screenplay and creating one of the most adorable villains of all time – Siddarth Abhimanyu. It was a treat to watch Arvind Swamy on screen and even the romance portions of Nayanthara and Jayam Ravi was wonderfully crafted.
I just had one grouse, though, Siddarth lost quite easily. I wish there is a spin off with Vinayak Mahadev and Siddarth Abhimanyu – how about that?
9. Uttama Villain
I don’t think there is any actor in India who could do a satire on himself. Kamal had the guts and depth to do so. And it was indeed one of the best movies of the year for me. But I had lots of emotions running when I saw the movie and I think fellow Kamal fans felt the same. I shall not discuss those. Uttama Villain needs to be seen in a different plateau and Ghibran’s music was just brilliant to be ignored.
10. Yennai Arindhaal
Ajith has become a quintessential star who can make any movie and his fans are going to lap it up. Yennai Arindhaal is a movie in which he wanted to be an actor rather a mass star. Gautam could bring Ajith’s different shades on screen and the movie gave a much-needed break for the talented Arun Vijay. For me, the romance portions between Ajith and Trisha is the best of the year. Ajith went on to do Vedalam that became the biggest hit of the year but I wish he makes more Yennai Arindhaal(s) than Vedalam(s).
- Papanasam – I can’t forgive Jeethu Joseph for copying The Devotion of Suspect X and being so unapologetic about it
- I – Shankar’s “I” was plasticky and lacked soul but I loved the soundtrack
- O Kadhal Kanmani – In one sentence, Mani Rathnam is yet to make a comeback for me.
5 movies that you wouldn’t have watched but you should give a try
1. Tamizhukku En Ondrai Azhuthavum
Directed by debutant Ramprakash Rayappa, Tamilukku.. is a chaos theory based thriller that is based on the solar flare of 2012 that affected the communication systems in many countries. I still don’t know why this movie didn’t make it big like it should have.
2. Charles Shafiq Karthiga
A well-written thriller by Sathyamoorthy, CSK (they used that short form) is a good watch. It had some strong performances from Jai Quaheneni, Narayan and Sanjay but strayed off to predictability in the second half. You will not be bored watching it.
3. Naalu Policeum Nalla Irundha Oorum
The critics panned it, the audience didn’t receive it well but I think this movie deserves a watch just for the interesting premise. Give it a try when it runs on TV.
Directed by debutant Anucharan, Kirumi will baffle you with the way he crafted his grey-shaded characters. The first few minutes of the movie where Kathir does the sequence of things shows how good the movie is. You have to watch it to understand it.
144 is a hilarious take on how a motley crew tries to do a heist in a village that is under curfew. Even if you don’t watch it for Shiva or for the dialogues and the frivolousness but watch it for the acting of Ramdoss who just cracks the screen with his antics as a deaf and dumb man.
20 best songs/albums of 2015
1. Merasalayitten/Pookale Sattru Oyvvedungal/ Ennodu Nee Irundhaal (I)
Wish the movie was as good as the songs
2. Kaathirunthen (Touring Talkies)
I wish Ilaiyaraaja didn’t give this song to this movie
3. Danga Maari Oodhari (Anegan)
4. Unakkena Venum Sollu/ Idhayathai Yehdo Ondru (Yennai Arindhaal)
Although they sounded repetitive from Harris Jayaraj, these should be on the list just for the lyrics.
5. Anbe Anbe (Darling)
6. Mana Mana Mental Manadhil/ Malargal Kaetten/ Paranthu Sella Vaa (O Kadhal Kanmani)
7. Pachai Vanna Poove (Vai Raja Vai)
8. Uttama Villain – The entire album and the original soundtrack
9. Vaadi Raasathi (36 Vayadhinile)
10. Dandanakka Dandanakka (Romeo Juliet)
11. Kadhale Kadhale (Indru Netru Naalai)
12. Vazhum Naal (Moone moonu Varthai)
That song you should listen to when you are down and SPB 🙂
13. Maari Thara Local Song (Maari)
14. Irukkirai Illamalum Irukkirai (Idhu Enna Maayam)
15. You are my darling (Vaalu)
16. Theemaidhan Vellum (Thani Oruvan)
17. Yaar Indha Muyalkutti (Paayum Puli)
18. Naanal Poovai (Kirumi)
19. Thangame/Yenai Maatrum Kadhale (Naanum Rowdythan)
20. Aaluma Doluma (Vedalam)