India has a rich history of movies. For decades, the country has produced amazing films, with beautiful actors bringing it to life.
Though, not all of them get equal credit, notably at a global level.
Indian cinema always equals Bollywood for most people, and sadly thousands of regional movies go unrecognized.
I am not against Bollywood, but as I grew up watching the wonderful films different regional languages offer, it bothers me to see the abrasion towards those regional language movies.
So today, I present to you the list of all-time best Tamil movies, though there are more than these 15 you should try to appreciate these films by giving it a watch.
1) Thillu Mullu(1981)
Director: K. Balachander
Cast: Rajinikanth, Thengai Srinivasan, Nagesh, Sowcar Janaki, Madhavi
Plot: It’s a comedy film in which Chandran lies to his boss that his mother is unwell to get a leave. But he gets caught during a match; so to save his position, he pretends to his boss that he has a twin brother who is good for nothing. The film is a hilarious ride of a common man forced to play as a con-man for his ends to meet. Top-notch acting by the cast with one of the best directors conveying the story seamlessly.
2) Nayakan (1987)
Director: Mani Ratnam
Cast: Kamal Haasan,Nizhalgal Ravi, Saranya, Karthika, Dehli Ganesh.
Plot: Velu Nayakan, witnesses the brutal murder of his father, so kills a corrupt policeman and escapes to Mumbai, to become a gangster.
The story is full of violence, that was not seen in the 70s and 80s Tamil cinema. It tells a blunt message that anyone who takes the resources and law in their hand will end up getting destroyed by itself.
Ilayaraja gangster style score exactly delivers the shades of human life throughout the film. No doubt he is a genius, don’t miss watching this special gem.
3) Thevar Magan (1992)
Cast: Sivaji Ganesan, Nassar, Vadivelu, Kamal Haasan, Revathi
Plot: London-educated Saktivelu comes back to India and wants to start a restaurant business in Chennai. However, his father wants him to stay back and help the villagers. So, the film explores the dynamic relationship between father and son in the process of finding common ground.
Even after 25 years, this film makes the audience feel connected due to its raw and authentic narrative.
The intense scenes between Sivaji and Hassan will always stay in history books. The picturization and pace of the movie are so well made. Worth a watch.!
4) Mahanadi (1994)
Director: Santhana Bharathi
Cast: Kamal Haasan, Sukanya, Poornam Viswanathan, Shobana Vignesh, S. N. Lakshmi
Plot: Krishnaswamy, an honest man, is deceived by doing a chit fund business and faces jail. While he goes through dire hardships in prison, his family crumbles in this period.
The film showcases the agony and pain the family goes through due to unseen circumstances.
It was critically acclaimed with being a box office hit.
5) Anbe Sivam (2003)
Cast: Kamal Hassan, Madhavan, Kiran Rathod, Nassar
Plot: Anbarasu, an advertisement filmmaker, goes to Bhubaneswar on a business tour and gets stranded at an airport due to heavy rains. His life takes a shift when he meets Nallasivam, a co-passenger and makes him his friend. If Rajnikant staked claim to divinity on a right-wing plank with Baba, Kamal does it with assertions to rationalist-left rhetoric.
6) Pithamagan (2003)
Cast: Surya, Vikrama, Sangeetha, Lailaa
Plot: Siddhartha lacks social skills but circumstances bring him close to Kamala and Satya. When Satya is killed, Siddhartha decides to exact revenge for his murder. Performance-wise both male and female actors touch your hearts by their honest act.
The story carries you through Vikram’s expression and feelings at most of the parts. If it’s from Bala it’s beautifully brutal…
7) Anniyan (2005)
Cast: Vikram, Sadha, Vivek, Prakash Raj, Nassar
Plot: Ramanujam, who suffers from splits personality disorder, works as a lawyer by day and a vigilante at night. He uses hints from the ‘Garuda Purana’ as his means to expose various antisocial elements. To explain multiple personality disorder in the simplest of terms, the director has tried his best so that the majority of the audience understand it.
Vikram transforms effortlessly through characters.
8.Kattradhu Thamizh (2007)
Cast: Jiiva, Anjali, Karunas Kazhagam, PerumalPlot: The movie is about a common young Tamil-graduate, who is disappointed with the circumstances and emptiness of his job. He slowly loses his mental stability and becomes a psychopath. Director Ram leads you frankly into those amazing dimensions. Features such as direction, writing, performance, music, cinematography, and editing were immensely admired and appreciated by critics.
9) Aaranya Kaandam (2011)
Director: Thiagarajan Kumararaja
Cast: Jackie Shroff, Sampath, Ravi Krishna, Guru Somasundaram, Master Vasanth, Yasmin Ponappa
Plot: Singaperumal still feels powerful though he has turned older. However, when he tries to beat his arch-enemy Gajendran with a sharp plan, a series of events leads to a run-chase situation. It’s the first neo-noir film in the Tamil industry.
The writing and acting are brilliant and the characters are fleshed out very well. Thiagarajan said that it’s a page out of the life of a gangster, not the whole story.
10) Vazhakku Enn 18/9 (2012)
Director: Balaji Sakthivel
Cast: MuthuramanSri, Urmila Mahanta, Mithun Murali, Manisha Yadav
Plot: Dinesh circulates an MMS of his neighbor Aarti’s private moments. When a furious Aarti threatens to report him, it sets into motion a game of love, deceit, and betrayal.
It is a stellar piece of filmmaking that will leave you shocked and even invigorated by the time it closes.
11) Sathuranga Vettai (2014)
Director: H. Vinoth
Cast: Natraj,Ishaara Nair,Ponvannan,Piraisoodan,Ilavarasu
Plot: Gandhi, a skillful con man, successfully trails off several high-profile scams. A group of people, whom he had deceived, get together to catch him to settle scores.ts script, The twists, and turns, keeps us guessing for most parts of the movie. Director Vinoth conveys a message about not people who con but one about those who get conned, why they get deceived and how they get deceived.
12) Aruvi (2016)
Director: Arun Prabhu
IMDb: 8.7 /10
Cast: Aditi Balan, Lakshmi Gopalaswamy, Anjali Varadhan
Plot: Aruvi, a kind girl belonging to a middle-class family, faces the suffering due to troubled society and shares her story with a director who tries to use her to boost his show’s ratings.
An ambitious, solidly written satire that takes on different subjects and delivers very unexpected things.
13) Maanagaram (2017)
Director: Lokesh Kanagaraj
Cast: Sundeep Kishan, Regina Cassandra, Charle, Munishkanth, Madhusudhanan
Plot: A man who comes to Chennai for an interview is beaten harshly. A small gang criminal abducts the son of a local gangster from his school for a ransom.
The fact that most of its crew are first-timers makes it all the more remarkable. An absorbing emotional thriller that is a must-watch with a solid story, expert handling and a seamless screenplay extracting the best of performances from the entire cast, Lokesh has knitted a captivating thriller that should be watched.
14) Pariyerum Perumal (2018)
Director: Mari Selvaraj
Cast: Kathir, Anandhi, Yogi Babu
Plot: Pariyan, is a law undergraduate who comes from a lower caste tradition, and falls in love with Jothi, a girl from an upper caste. However, their relationship bothers Jothi’s family members who harass Pariyan to far ends.
Pariyerum Perumal is a hard-hitting anti-caste drama.
An outstanding tense drama with the message rising from the foreground, that presents the best narrative which deserves to be watched by all.
15) Karuppu Durai (2019)
Director: Madhumita Sundararaman
Cast: Mu Ramaswamy, Nagavishal, Yog Japee, Badava Gopi, Ganesan Kaliamoorthy
Plot: An 80-year-old man is in a coma for three months. He suddenly wakes up and eavesdrops his family planning to kill him by performing an ancient euthanasia ritual.
A feel-good story st though bittersweet at times, but a film that is one of the year’s sweet surprises. The reason this film is entertaining is due to the chemistry between the old man and the young boy with an elegant character sketching. The movie received strong praise for its score and plot.
Which is your favourite Tamil movie of all time? Let us know in the comments section!