The Best Tamil Films of 2010
The year 2010 has been a surprising one in Tamil cinema.
Lttle known actors and off beat scripts have managed to make it to the top and stay there, stubbornly resisting the lure of glittering mass masala flicks.
Here then are the films that won over both the classes and the masses:
Film: Angadi Theru
Director: G Vasanthabalan
Cast: Mahesh, Anjali, A Venkatesh, Pandi, Sneha (in a cameo)
When Vasanthabalan's film about the plight of employees in Chennai's super-stores first opened, no one had an inkling of how serious the movie would turn out to be, and how many debates it would spark.
With little touches of dark humour, melodious musics and intricate characterisations that brought a lump to one's throat, Angadi Theru managed to skate the fine line between art-house cinema and mainstream fare, successfully garnering the attention it deserved.
Writer Jeyamohan's dialogues were universally appreciated, while the cast and crew, especially Richard M Nathan's camera which captured Ranganathan Street realistically, drew unanimous praise for turning in a completely natural performance.The film's leads -- Anjali and Mahesh -- received accolades for their realistic portrayals.
Image: A scene from Angadi Theru
Cast: Mysskin, Snigdha Akolkar, Aswath Ram
Like many well finished scripts that take an inordinate time to reach the public, Nandhalala languished in the cans for months.
And yet, this story of a mentally challenged man and a schoolboy, setting off together to find their mothers, won almost universal acclaim among audiences in the festival circuit and back home.
The screenplay, though inspired from the Japanese classic Kikujiro, successfully transformed itself to the local milieu adding native flavour with its dialogues characters and beautifully etched humour.
As an actor too Mysshkin as well as Aswath Ram who plays the young boy came in for a good deal of praise.
Mahesh Muthuswamy's camera-work too was lauded. Music maestro Ilaiyaraja's music, which is almost another character in the movie, was one of the chief reasons the film worked.
Image: A scene from Nandhalala
Director: Gautam Vasudev Menon
Cast: Silambarasan, Trisha
In many ways, Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya traversed the tried and tested route.
It was the eternal story of love between a young man and woman from different religions, identifying obstacles and working towards a common end. It was a refreshingly realistic take the lives of today's youngsters.
Jessie and Karthik's contemporary romance was captured in a way it never has been before.
Manoj Paramahamsa's skillful camera work, not to mention A R Rahman's neat compositions were widely appreciated.
Simbhu and Trisha surprised audiences with their completely natural performances.
The movie is being remade in Hindi as well.
Image: Trisha in Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya
Director: Prabhu Solomon
Cast: Vidhaarth, Amala Paul, Sethu, Thambi Ramaiyya
Director Prabhu Solomon chose the lush hills of Theni which are filled with the refuse of human habitation to set his movie.
It stars Vidhaarth and Amala Paul, two characters who have grown up with each other, and naturally, fell in love. Very soon though, problems crop up in paradise.
What sets Mynaa apart from all the other love stories is the film's music, a story shot liberally with humour, its quirky characters, the local dialect and the gut-wrenching climax.
No wonder it struck a chord with the audience.
Image: A scene from Mynaa
Cast: Rajnikanth, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Danny Denzongpa
The year's biggest blockbuster had everything going for it -- Rajnikanth and Aishwarya Rai in the lead roles, A R Rahman's musical extravaganza, lavish sets, outstanding camera-work and animation done by the Stan Winston Studios.
But most of all, it was Shankar's creativity and the science fiction theme that made Endhiran a must-watch.
The story of an android that longs to be human might be an old one in Hollywood, but it was handled with a dose of nativity, which triumphed the scientific jargon and made it a very entertaining indeed.
Image: A scene from Endhiran