From Master, Jai Bhim, Doctor, to Maanaadu, Tamil Cinema has shelved many surreal moments of 2021 in its store, leaving the reason why the soon-to-be-in history year will be remembered. With the strong base for OTT platforms and significant revival of the theatres, the battalion of young and veteran filmmakers have served some everlasting and celebrating movies that were made by their hope, courage, and out-of-the-box thinking. As we bid adieu for 2021, we must appreciate the actors, directors, and artists for revitalizing and revolutionizing the cinema.
Though Covid lives and stretches its hands through various mutants, we can surely describe that the movies which dropped on our hands or at the theatres were a stress-buster for us to steer the year amid the pandemic wave and though there were no ostentatious celebrations, Tamil Cinema can boast itself that it has given the movies that had impacted our hearts and our society by staunchly speaking about disparities. On a whole, Kollywood had a remarkable survival in 2021 and had given a good opening for 2022 with the eagerness to see what the New Year will bring. Let's take a look at some of the best Tamil movies of 2021,
It was Covid-19 everywhere and like every other industry, the film industry also has had a huge break that cost the livelihood of many artists. When relaxations were granted and the theatres were allowed to function, everyone was waiting for a biggie to provide some light to the industry. And Thalapathy Vijay was the saviour. His long-awaited film 'Master' had hit the screens for Pongal and it was a complete festival mood. The Lokesh Kanagaraj directorial that co-starred Vijay Sethupathi was a huge blockbuster at the box office and the entire industry and fans could finally breathe some fresh air.
Starring the real-life couple Arya and Sayyeshaa, 'Teddy' is a fantasy film directed by Shakti Soundar Rajan. Premiering on OTT, the film was well-received by the audience and the chemistry between Arya and the teddy was loved across ages. It was a comeback for Arya as an actor.
Yogi Babu has become a 'must have' comedian in all big-budget movies and people were eager to see him in a lead role. Impressed by Madonne Ashwin's script, Yogi Babu acted in 'Mandela', a critically acclaimed movie released directly on OTT. The movie spoke about how political parties would go to any extent in order to win local elections. Yogi Babu won accolades for his subtle yet effective performance.
Kalaippuli Thanu's prestigious film 'Karnan' marked the collaboration of Dhanush and Mari Selvaraj for the first time. The film aggressively but rightly spoke about the way in which Dalits are treated by those in power. The pain underwent by the people due to the lack of basic facilities and the brutal attack of the police force was honestly depicted by Mari Selvaraj. The film opened to positive reviews and did well commercially for the first two weeks. After that, the lockdown was imposed across the state due to Covid's second wave that hampered the film's theatrical run but soon the film was released on OTT and achieved cult status.
Pa.Ranjith was waiting for a grand comeback and so were his followers after moderate success in Kabali and Kaala. This time with Sarpatta Parambarai starring Arya in the lead, the director was in full form. His take on the boxing world and the societal realities in the 70s with an impeccable performance by Pasupathy and a racy screenplay made this film a huge blockbuster, despite getting released on OTT.
The second wave of Covid-19 had once again hit the film industry at the beginning of the second half of the year. Lockdown, closure of the theatres and the losses continued. The industry was waiting for yet another film to revive itself and there came Sivakarthikeyan. 'Doctor' was his first association with his longtime friend Nelson and it turned out to be gold. Nelson had completely changed Sivakarthikeyan's style of acting in Doctor by giving him a subtle role in a dark comedy. The film was a very big success and it gave a sense of hope to the films that followed.
Suriya, coming out fresh after the success of Soorarai Pottru, chose to speak for the rights of the scheduled tribes in his next film. When the film directed by Gnanavel was titled 'Jai Bhim', it surprised many. Taking a unique case of the retired Justice Chandru (then, a lawyer) as the film's core plot, Gnanavel wrote a screenplay that was high on logic and emotions. The film was released on OTT and connected well with the audience. Though some controversies were created by vested interests, the powerful performances of Suriya and Lijomol Jose had already won hearts.
It was towards the end of the year that Tamil cinema witnessed one of the finest films with Kadaseela Biriyani. With complete newcomers as the cast and crew, this thriller film was released without any expectations but eventually turned out to be one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year.
Some films are bound to happen. Maanaadu, a film that originated in 2018 and began in 2019, faced consistent breaks due to various reasons. At one point, it was even announced that the movie was shelved. But things took a sudden turn, everything fell in place and the shooting commenced in 2020. The final product was released in November 2021. Directed by Venkat Prabhu, the film was instantly liked by the audience and critics alike. It marked the terrific comeback of actor Silambarasan. The fantastic performance of SJ Suryah, the unique time loop concept and the intriguing screenplay made this a memorable blockbuster.