2014 in Tamil Cinema will be remembered for the number of small films with good content that resonated well with the audiences and debutant filmmakers who successfully managed to hit the bull’s eye at the box-office. Though the year has missed to offer any legitimate filmmaking treasures that could be relished for eternity, there were few films, like Jigarthanda, Madras and Goli Soda, that dared to break the stereotypes, were rooted in realism with so much authenticity and conviction like we have never seen before. The year also had its fair share of plagiarism accusations – from frame-by-frame recreations to story thefts to basic plot inspirations to blatant scene transcripts from Hollywood films and other world cinema. Our team, after relentless brain-storming, has arrived at the final top ten best films of the year. The list is certainly not in accordance with box-office performance of the films. They are mainly picked for the content’s presentation, quality, and most importantly, originality.
- Jigarthanda – This year’s best film is unarguably Karthik Subbaraj’s Jigarthanda. It was intensely realistic, boldly irreverent, exhilarating through and through, and so unlike any Madurai-based, gangster films. Jigarthanda is a sumptuous mix of art-house and mainstream cinema shouldered by the sprightly triumvirate – Karthik Subbaraj, Santhosh Narayanan and Bobby Simha.
- Madras – Pa.Ranjith’s Madras brought about the much needed comeback vehicle for Karthi, who was suffering from a string of flops. Enticing performances, an arresting score, a bona fide portrayal of North Chennai and the very thought of having a wall as the central element made Madras one of the better films of the year.
- Goli Soda – A honest and gutsy attempt from Vijay Milton which had everything to keep the audience pinned throughout its run-time. The raw action and the realistic angle pumped up the ante as this film rightly bagged the ‘sleeper hit’ tag.
- Sathuranga Vettai – Razor sharp dialogues, brilliant writing and a power packed performance from Natty made Sathuranga Vettai an invigorating hunt. If you overlook the melodrama at the end, Sathuranga Vettai peppers a lot of gold nuggets on the way you can be robbed off in this money- stricken society.
- Cuckoo – Taking inspiration from a real-life incident, debutant Raju Murugan spun an emotionally rewarding story featuring two visually challenged individuals as leads. Even with its share of flaws, especially towards the fag end, Cuckoo is one of the films that won people’s hearts.
- Pisaasu – Mysskin effortlessly busted the clichés and stereotypes of horror genre with this uplifting paranormal offering. Elevated by top-notch technical finesse and presented in quintessential Mysskin style, Pisaasu is a must watch.
- Thegidi – Thegidi set an example on how one can make an interesting, taut crime thriller which works sans any unwanted commercial elements, annoying duets or for-the-sake-of-it fights. Crispy writing, a lovable lead pair and riveting BGM were the perks of this winning product helmed tastefully by debutant director Ramesh.
- Mundasupatti – This is one of those sci-fi films that provided a scant respect for the genre but succeeded in its task of entertaining people hands down. Without doubt, a crowd favorite in B and C centers courtesy debutant filmmaker Ram Kumar’s uncanny knack to leave you in splits at bizarre situations with his witty writing.
- Oru Kanniyum Moonu Kalavaanikalum – Chimbudevan’s maturity in cohering a complex script with a narrative which was easy to comprehend, is a deed that has to be appreciated in OKMK. Boosted by Bucks’ terrific comic timing and a cute Bindhu Madhavi, OKMK delivered what it set off to do, in the best possible way.
- Poovarasam Pee Pee –Debutante filmmaker Halitha Shameem threw a surprise with this small gem of a film that is full of heart and spirit. Poovarasam Pee Pee is inventive film-making at its best with a plot of cracking ingenuity guarded by rich details and a well thought-out screenplay. It could also be remembered as a film where a debutant proved that onedoes not need high-end technical artistry to put together a beautiful film if you have a solid script in hand.
Vaayai Moodi Pesavum, Inam, Nedunchalai, Kaththi, Veeram, KTVI, Saivam, Jeeva, Velai Illa Pattathari, Pannaiyaarum Padminiyum, Kochadaiiyaan