We asked four film critics – Siddarth Srinivas, Kaushik LM, Surendhar MK and Haricharan Pudipeddi – to pick their personal five favorite films of 2016 as part of our yearly round-up series. And, the end result is diverse lists of films with very few mutual choices.
Siddarth Srinivas’s Best 5 Films of 2016: Follow @SidhuWrites
Vetrimaaran’s ruthless take on the police system and how they dealt with one of the most infamous cases in Tamil Nadu’s history. The film brought to light the true shades of cops and how they change with respect to their comfortability and conditions. Visaaranai is, hands down, the film of 2016. Our Oscar entry, need I say more.
2. Irudhi Suttru
Irudhi Suttru offered a lot of fun while also leaving a thunderous footmark on all the issues which plague the boxing setup. This is a hardcore team effort from everybody involved, and the result was visible on screen. A riveting piece of cinema which deserves your eyes.
Sethupathi was easily one of the best mass cop films ever made in Kollywood. So classy yet so rooted. So routine yet so entertaining.
4. Aandavan Kattalai
Aandavan Kattalai was simply superb. I was just blown away by the lovely film, laced with excellent situations and lifelike characters. It had more reality than your usual entertainer, more fun than your usual message movie. You are assured to smile all through & learn something too.
Appa was such a good film. Overdramatic towards the end, but had striking dialogues and situational storytelling. Partly preachy and partly hard hitting, but Samuthirakani somehow got his game in the right place with Appa. I found the underlying message being handed over nicely, and there’s no talkback on why it went on to become a blockbuster.
Special Mentions: Kodi, Metro
Kaushik LM’s Best 5 Films of 2016: Follow @Lmkmoviemaniac
Hands down, the best film of the year. Vetrimaaran shocked us all with a raw, gritty take on police investigation, the violence that is involved and the conniving politics that holds the system. The likes of Dinesh, Samuthirakani, Ajay Ghosh, Kishore, Murugadoss churned out life-like performances.
Karthik Subbaraj gave one of the most debated films of the year. The film was technically brilliant, had great performances, some deft direction touches and a shocker of a tragi-climax. A section of the crowd felt that the film maligned men in the process of glorifying women.
3. Dhuruvangal 2016
22 year old prodigy Karthick Naren made the entire industry and audiences sit up and take notice of his film, towards the fag end of the year. Every critic, worth his salt, hurried up and included D16 in their ‘Best Films’ list. One packed investigative thriller which grips us from start to finish, with the very many twists and turns.
Master thinker Vikram Kumar and actor – producer Suriya set out to make an entertaining sci-fi film surrounding sibling rivalry, time travel and a son’s pursuit to get back to the roots. The film succeeding in wooing a section of the audience big time and that itself is a success.
5. Irudhi Suttru
Sudha Kongara proved that women can make raw films as well. This sports drama beautifully touched upon the relationship between a driven coach and his brash female protege. Madhavan made one of the best comebacks ever and newbie Ritika Singh stormed into our collective consciousness.
Special Mentions: Joker, Ammani.
Surendhar MK’s Best 5 Films of 2016: Follow @SurendharMK
With extremely terrific performances, incisive writing and dramatic staging. Visaaranai is, without doubt, my favorite film of the year. It is yet another feather in the cap of Vetrimaaran’s consistently fascinating filmmaking.
Iraivi was an emotionally overwhelming masterpiece from Karthik Subbaraj, who took hold of man-woman relationships and nailed it with an artistic finesse that’s rarely seen in the new breed of young Tamil filmmakers. His portrayal of familial sentiments made for a fascinating character study.
3. Dhuruvangal 16
Karthick Naren, an unassuming 21-year-old from Coimbatore, made a terrific directorial debut with D 16, which unfolded steadily as a cerebral suspense thriller and kept us engrossed right from the first frame and continued in the same breath till the end. The closely-knit screenplay was structured with delightful twists and turns and flew organically and most importantly, succeeded in keeping the viewers guessing till the third-act.
4. Thaarai Thappattai
Bala’s unshrinking approach in Thaarai Thappattai to bring on screen forgotten tales of Tamil culture and tradition reiterated his stance as one of the ultimate and original story-tellers in K’town. While the authentic portrayal of the lives of Karagattam dancers produced admirably touching scenes, the unexpected moments of brutality, especially in the last thirty minutes, brought exasperated gasps amid audiences. Despite a tinge of manipulation, Thaarai Thappattai was a hauntingly performed drama with Bala’s fearless artistry in full display.
5. Maaveran Kittu
Suseenthiran laid bare the outrageous caste discrimination that was predominant in 1980s in the hinterlands of Tamil Nadu with staggering reality and sensible narration in Maaveran Kittu, which, unfortunately, did not find favor with many. Maveeran Kittu was a sound portrait of caste discrimination and IMO, one of the best films helmed by Suseenthiran.
Special Mentions: Irudhi Suttru, Uriyadi
Haricharan Pudipeddi’s Best 5 Films of 2016: Follow @pudiharicharan
1. Dhuruvangal 16
Special Mentions: Metro, Zero