Just so you know, this list only features films we have watched this year. Therefore, you will not find Dhruvangal 16, Aandavan Kattalai, Irundhi Suttru or Pichaikaran here since we have not had the chance to watch them yet. So here is a list of the Top 10 Tamil Films of 2016 that we have watched so far. Here we go:
10) Kadhalum Kadandhu Pogum
This film would have been higher up the list if it was not an official remake of the 2010 Korean film My Dear Desperado. Yes, it is an official remake, not a rip-off. Don't be fooled by the simple premise of a street smart gangster wannabe falling in love with a well-educated engineering graduate. The blossoming love between these two young people from very different backgrounds is beautifully narrated with some lighthearted comedic moments thrown in to spice things up.
Putting aside that outdated, cringe-worthy love portion and strange ending, Vikram Kumar really took the time-travel genre and made it his own. The time machine here does not transport one's body between time, but rather their consciousness. Apart from the story, the technical team also outdid themselves with the music, costume, set designs and everything else to produce and very good looking film.
The first few minutes of the film led audiences to assume this is a dark comedy with a mental patient who thinks he is the Indian president and comedy rarely works in this industry when it is dark. But those who stayed with the film saw how director Raju Murugan handled multiple serious topics in one film in a satirical way and left a huge impact in our hearts.
This is one of the few better remakes out there. Tamil cinema has been plagued in recent years with bilinguals that seem more like a dubbed film which are made simply to cash out on two languages' audiences. This one, however, is a proper out and out Tamil film. Apart from the great story and great acting, it was a please to see Tamannah and Nagarjunan speak in Tamil rather than using dubbing artistes.
6) Jil Jung Juk
An action comedy set in a post-apocalyptic India with three heroes, no romantic subplot based on a famous dialogue by Vadivelu? Sold! There are times when the film really stretches out and tries to hard to be better than it already is. But overall, especially taking into account the mere effort to make a film like this, this film deserves a place in this list.
Tamil critics labeled it too alternative for Rajni. Non-Tamil critics called this too formulaic for Rajni. But following the aftermath of average reviews, many came to see this as a film where directed Ranjith tried to make a genuine gangster film, but with a movie star in it. Whether it was done well or not had both critics and audiences split. Nevertheless, this film was well received in Malaysia, where the film is set. For the first time, an Indian film depicted the Indian diaspora here accurately and not how Indians in the fatherland view them.
When it was announced that director Karthik Subbaraj, who has only made a critically acclaimed suspense horror and a gangster comedy, is now making a feminist drama, he had people scratching their heads. What is a new age director doing in K. Balachandar territory? After watching this film, it is safe to say it is not a preachy, feminist film that we were expecting, but rather a film about women, with a heist subplot in it. In an industry where women are almost always objectified, it is nice to see a film that shines some light on an issue that has plagued the Indian women for ages.
3) Kuttrame Thandanai
The opening shots of the film led audiences to believe they have once again walked into one of those low budget, artsy films. And they are probably right. But this film is so much more than that. The film rejects the usual narrative about an alpha male hero, but instead revolves around a young man suffering from tunnel vision that is slowly making him blind. This illness acts as both a figurative and metaphorical state of what happens to our hero throughout the story. A truly intense trailer that has everyone wanting to know what happens next.
2) Acham Yembanthu Madamayaada
The VTV Trio is finally back. Watching the film, it does feel like three separate films. The first act was a feel good romance film, not unlike what director Gautham Menon is great at. The second act is the most nail-biting, action-packed, thrilling road film Tamil cinema has seen this year. Despite these two distinctive genres, they do come together well. If only not for the third act, which felt like a cheesy, commercial, 'masala' flick, this film would have been the number one movie of the year.
No matter how serious a Tamil film is, most filmmakers try to push in a romantic subplot and a comedy sidetrack to keep things lighthearted. That is why it is really unusual to watch a film so dark yet uncomfortably entertaining produced today. Adapted from a novel that was based on a true story, this film has already made its rounds in international film festivals. Though it will keep you at the edge of your seats throughout, the film will leave a mark on you that will have you questioning if it is safe to trust the authorities ever again.