Saturday, June 21, 2014

Top 15 Plot Twists in Tamil Cinema

I love getting tricked by a movie's ending, or as film buffs call it - getting Shyamalaned. However, this is very rare in Tamil cinema, although there are few movies that have attempted and executed them very well. So, here is my list of Top 15 Best Plot Twists in Tamil Cinema in no particular order. In case it is not yet obvious enough, there are  major spoilers ahead. You have been warned =).

15) Aaranya Kaandam (2011)

Singaperumal is the don of Chennai who plans to control the local drug market. His loyal henchman Pasupathi, bullied servant Sappai and abused mistress Subbhu all live in fear of him. When news of a huge amount of drugs being smuggled into the city breaks out, this leads to a string of events that will change their lives forever. Subbhu and Sappai become lovers while planning to run away while a misunderstanding leads Pasupathi to be hunted down by both Singaperumal and rival gangs. In the end, Sappai gets hold of the money from the drug smuggling and shoots down Singaperumal in a fit of anger, making it easy to elope with Subbhu.

The twist: In the end, Subbhu shoots down Sappai and plays victim in front of Pasupathi, who lets her leave with her bag which unknown to him contains all the drug money. In her monologue, it is revealed that she had successfully manipulated all the men around, by first sending Sappai with the money bag to provoke Singaperumal to kill him.

14) Enakkul Oruvan (2015)

The only reason this movie is not higher up in this list is because it is a remake of the 2013 Kannada sleeper hit, Lucia. In the movie, we have Vicky, a lowly cinema worker who is given an illegal drug to help him overcome his insomnia. However, the drug gives him lucid dreams where he is Vignesh, the country's biggest movie star. The movie is then shown in alternating perspectives between Vicky and Vignesh until the borders separating reality and dreams is blurred.

The twist: It is Vicky who is the dream while Vignish is the real person, who dissatisfied with life, depends on the lucid dreams to live a happier, make-believe life.

13) Papanasam (2015)

Suyambulingam (Kamal Hassan) is a simple middle-class villager who goes through great lengths to protect his family from the law after his wife and elder daughter accidentally killed a boy who tried to blackmail them with an explicit video. The family then bury the body in their own backyard. At around the same time, a new police station is being built in the village. Things between the family and the police get more personal when the dead boy's mother, renowned Inspector General of Police Geetha (Asha Sarath) comes to the village to investigate her son's disappearance. Initially, Geetha underestimates Suyambulingam for being uneducated but quickly realizes he is always a few steps ahead of her. In desperation, the law-abiding Geetha has her men beat up Suyambulingam and his family in order to get a confession. Finally, his younger daughter exposes where the body is buried and the forensics rush off to uncover it. 

The twist: Without his family's knowledge, Suyambulingam had moved the body and buried it in the foundation of the new police station in order to avoid anyone from revealing the truth under pressure. In its place, he had placed the carcass of a calf. Seeing this, the media immediately exposes the police's inadequacy and brutal treatment of Suyambulingam's family. The case is then closed and the family is freed from all charges.  

12) Ninaithale Inikkum (2009)

Shiva (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is attending his college reunion, where he reminisces of his rivalry with the arrogant Vasu (Karthik Kumar), his love for his fellow electoral candidate Meera (Priyamani), and his friendship with the good-natured Shakthi (Shakthi Vasudevan). The reunion is also a memorial for Shakthi who died due to an asthma attack during his college days. In flashbacks, we see how Shiva breaking into college one night to retrieve a photo of him and Meera in a compromising situation which was planted by Vasu to bring down Shiva's reputation. While hiding in the generator room, there is a sudden power cut and Shiva sees a college worker in the room trying to turn the generator on. Afraid that he might get caught for trespassing, Shiva subdues the worker with chloroform until he passes out before making a run for it. 

The twist: The supposed worker that Shiva tried to subdue is actually the asthmatic Shakthi, who then dies out of suffocation.

11) King (2002)

Raja (Vikram) and Shanmugam (Nasser) are more than just father and son; they are best friends. When Raja learns that his father is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, he decides to make the old man's last few months the best in his life. They return to their hometown, where Raja discovers his father is not in good terms with their relatives. He works to restore everything as it was once before so that his father can go in peace. However, he soon realizes that he too might be suffering from health problems. 

The twist: Raja learns that it is not Shanmugam who is terminally ill, but he himself. His father had his doctor tamper with their medical reports to avoid his son from heartbreak.

10) Parthen Rasithen (2000)

Shankar (Prashanth) is a fresh graduate looking for a job. He soon falls in love for the beautiful Sarika (Laila). However, his strict father from the village are fixing an arranged marriage for him. Following the advice of his best friend Bhanu (Simran), he does not return home for the proposal ceremony, leading to a big misunderstanding between Chidhambaram and the supposed bride's family. Back home, Shankar comes to realize that the girl whose hand in marriage his parents were seeking was in fact Sarika.

The twist: Unknown to Shankar, Bhanu has been obsessed with him all along and has been sabotaging his and Sarika's relationship from the start so she can be with him instead.

9) Alli Arjuna (2002)

Arivazhagan (Manoj Bharathiraja) is a spoiled brat who spends all his time teasing girls and hanging out with his friends. One day, he ends up having to protect Savitri (Richa Pallod), a girl who is on the run from an old mentally unstable acquaintance. She herself is still getting over the suicide of her best friend Nisha (Preetha), a victim of eve-teasing. Arivazhagan soon learns that the acquaintance Savitri is running away from is in fact Nisha's elder brother Kishore (Karan), who is now an alcoholic obsessed in finding those responsible for his sister's suicide.

The twist: Savitri learns that Arivazhagan was the one who publicly harassed Nisha, driving her to commit suicide, although he never intended for it to end that way.

8) Modhi Vilayadu (2009)

Uday (Vinay Rai) is the hedonistic son of wealthy businessman Rajan Vasudev (Kalabhavan Mani). He does not attend college or does anything for a living, but instead lives on his father's wealth. He spends all his time with his orphaned best friend since childhood, Madan (Yuva) and their gang. One day, a paid assassin, hired by Rajan's rivals, comes after Uday but kills Madan by accident.  

The twist: Madan was Rajan's actual son all along, and Uday was the real orphan who he adopted to act as bait to avoid any harm from befalling his only heir. With his real son dead, Rajan has no use of Uday and dismisses him. The rest of the story is about how Uday tries to live by himself and make a living.

7) Pachaikili Muthucharam (2007)

Venkatesh (Sarath Kumar) starts having an affair with Geetha (Jyothika), a beautiful stranger he meets on the train to work when his wife, Kalyani (Andrea Jeremiah) starts ignoring him. One day, while the two are planning a rendezvous at a resort, they are attacked by a criminal, Lawrence (Milind Soman) who easily finds out they are two married people having an affair. He ties Venkatesh up, rapes Geetha and leaves with all their money. Later, they are also blackmailed by Lawrence for money. Halfway through the movie, Venkatesh finds out Geetha is actually a con artist who works with Lawrence to cheat innocent married men like himself. In an effort to get his money back, he busts one of Geetha and Lawrence's cons. Thinking he has killed them, he leaves the city with his family and retrieved money. However, Lawrence survives and abducts Kalyani and her son to blackmail Venkatesh for the money.

The twist: Towards the end, we learn that it is Geetha who survived the attack and not Lawrence, and Venkatesh has to face her and her band of ruthless thugs to save his family.

6) Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa (2010)

By reading the synopsis of this movie, you might assume it is a stereotypical Tamil love story. It has all the usual elements in it - lovers from different backgrounds, romantic numbers, exotic settings, a possessive elder brother, a dotting best friend; you get the picture. However, by actually watching this movie right to the end, you will see that VTV is Gautham Menon's love letter to Tamil cinema. This is evident in the climax where Karthik (Simbu) proposes to Jessie (Trisha) and they get married. At first, we are led into thinking this is a happy ending.

The twist: The happy ending is actually nothing more than the final scene in the movie directed by Karthik – which Karthik and Jessie are watching together in the cinema in real life. Jessie is actually married to someone else and advises Karthik to move on. She leaves after saying this; "Not everything in movies can happen in real life..."

5) Amarkalam (1999)

A former gangster, Tulasi Das (Raghuvaran) is released from jail after many years and he tries to seek revenge from Birla Bose (Nassar), the police officer who put him behind bars and separated him from his wife and unborn child. Das hires Vasu (Ajit Kumar), a street smart youngster with a troubled childhood to kidnap Mohana (Shalini), Bose's adoptive daughter. Mohana soon starts getting Stockholm Syndrome when she listens to Vasu's life story and sympathizes with him. When Das finds out Mohana loves Vasu, he instructs Vasu to pretend to love her too and then break her heart. However, Vasu and Mohana soon genuinely fall in love for each other. With his mission completed, Das visits Bose to let him know he is behind Mohana wanting to marry a lowly rowdy.

The twist: During their meeting, Bose surprises Das by revealing that Mohana is actually Das' biological daughter who he and his wife adopted after Das went to jail.

4) 7/G Rainbow Colony (2004)

The movie starts with Kadhir, a young man going to work but not being able to concentrate on his duties at the office as he cannot wait to meet his girlfriend, Anita later in the evening. As he awaits her at the beach, Kadhir's back story is shown in flashbacks. He used to be a good for nothing youth who always gave his parents problems. This changed when Anita moved into their neighbourhood and befriended him. She manages to convince him to turn over a new leaf, so much so that his father becomes proud of him. However, things get complicated when they fall in love, although Anita is engaged to the son of a wealthy family friend who can save her family from debt. Kadhir and Anita have a big fight and he ends up chasing her away. While leaving in a frenzy, she is hit by an oncoming truck and dies.

The twist: At present day, Kadhir is revealed to be mentally unhealthy as he still thinks Anita is alive. He starts talking to her when she comes, although the audience can see this is merely a fragment of his sick mind.

3) Pizza (2012)

Michael is a simple pizza delivery boy who is in dire need of more money as his wife is pregnant. One night, while delivering pizza, he gets trapped in a mysterious bungalow where all kinds of strange things start happening. He only manages to escape when two police officers arrive. When Michael returns to the pizza cafe he works at, his boss is distraught to find out that Michael left his delivery bag in the haunted bungalow as it actually contained diamonds he was hiding away from the tax department. The boss, being a superstitious man, would rather lose the diamonds then risk entering the haunted bungalow to retrieve the bag. 

The twist: In the end, we learn that Michael knew about the diamonds in the delivery bag all along and had planned to steal them. He makes up a story in which he left the bag at the bungalow which his boss would never go into. At the same time, Michael's wife has moved abroad with the diamonds as she awaits her husband to join her. 

2) Snegithiye (2000)

Best friends Vani (Jyothika) and Radhika (Sharbani Mukherjee) are on the run from Gayathri (Tabu), a dedicated police officer after they are convicted of murdering Ramesh, a man they had initially only made up but turned out to be real. They suspect Geetha (Ishita Arun), the most popular girl on campus is behind the murder as she mysteriously disappeared on the night of the murder. Vani and Radhika find themselves running from the law in an effort to prove their innocence and clear their names. Meanwhile, Geetha constantly interrogates Malathi (Lakshmi), Radhika's wealthy aunt and Vani's mother (Manorama) on their girls' whereabouts. 

The twist: Vani and Radhika finally find Geetha hiding outside the city. She tells them on the night of the murder, she saw Gayathri, the dedicated police officer admired by women all over the city, gunning down Ramesh. Geetha fled their college that night out of fear that Gayathri might kill her too. 

1) The Villa (2013)

Jebin is an aspiring writer who is broke, but then finds out he has inherited an old villa which he never knew of from his late father. At the villa, Jebin discovers a hidden chamber full of his father's paintings that seem to predict the future, including one that seems to portray Jebin killing his girlfriend, Aarthi. In an attempt to prevent the painting's depiction from becoming real, Jebin seeks the help of a professor specializing in the supernatural. The professor concludes that due to all the negative energy trapped in the villa, anyone owning it will possess the power to predict the future. After much struggling, Jebin fails to neutralize the villa's negative energy and decides to take his own life before he takes Aarthi's. It is then revealed that Aarthi is really a gold digger, aspiring to marry Jebin for the money he would gain from selling the villa. She then goes on to marry a movie director.

The twist: For her wedding, Aarthi receives Jebin's posthumously published novel as a gift. From the cover, it is clear to the audience that Jebin too had the power to see the future, as the man in it resembles Aarthi's husband. Also, the murder painting was not a depiction of Jebin, but the director Aarthi married, meaning she will die in his hands one day.

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