Here's me trying to compile a list of the best films of 2010. And as always, the list is out of the films I've seen and a combination of mass hits, critical favourites and my own personal favourites. And yes, I've missed out of quite a few great films which came out in 2010, but sadly didnt release in Kerala and Pune like Mynaa, Vamsam, Naanayam, Porkkalam, Nandalala & Easan. So those movies wouldnt feature in this list. Please forgive me for that. I shall re-edit the list as soon as I see them.
10. Thamizh Padam & Goa
Directors - CS Amudhan (TP) & Venkat Prabhu (Goa)
Producers - Dhayanidhi Alagiri (TP) & Soundarya Rajnikanth (Goa)
Cast - Shiva, Disha Pandey, Paravai Muniyamma, Manobala, MS Bhaskar, Vinniradai Moorthy (TP)
& Jai, Vaibhav, Premgi, Arvindh, Sampath, Sneha, Piaa, Melanie Mary (Goa)
& Jai, Vaibhav, Premgi, Arvindh, Sampath, Sneha, Piaa, Melanie Mary (Goa)
Writers - CS Amudhan, Chandru (TP) & Venkat Prabhu (Goa)
Both these rip-roaringly hilarious movies released on the same day. While Thamizh Padam was an out and out spoof, a first in Tamil Cinema, Goa mixed spoof with fun and madness in Venkat Prabhu style. Thamizh Padam mocked every single stereotype and cliche existing in Tamil films and also some of Tamil Cinema's biggest hits and superstars. But it was all done in good humour and hence, it didnt face any sort of trouble from fans of any actor. It was perhaps for the first time that an out and out spoof movie was attempted in Indian Cinema. Ad filmmaker CS Amudhan did a fab job by constructing a film around scenes and situations from various other films. To say Shiva was hilarious, is an understatement. The rest of the cast were also first rate, including Disha Pandey who represented the dumb North Indian imports in Tamil films. Goa, on the other hand was pure, awesome fun. There was nothing even remotely close to a story, but as long as we are having fun, nobody has complaints. A guy movie in every sense of the word, Goa is considered the desi alternative for the hilarious 'The Hangover'. Jai, Vaibhav, Sneha, Arvindh , Piaa and Melani were great, but it was Premgi and Sampath who stole the show. Sampath who's known only for his villain roles was a complete revelation in a gay character. Yuvan's background score, Shakti Saravanan's camera also added colour to the fun. Thamizh Padam did well but Goa didnt do as well as expected. But still they both equally deserve a spot among the best films of 2010 with their entertainment quotient alone.
Director - A Sarkunam
Producer - Nazir
Cast - Vimal, Oviya, Saranya, Ganja Karuppu, Ilavarasu
Writer - A Sarkunam
A film which came from nowhere and won everyone's hearts, Kalavani was a delightful village romantic comedy with its heart in the right place. The performances were wonderful, especially that of the arrogant and clever Vimal (who earlier impressed us in Pasanga) and the newcomer Oviya. Saranya reprised her caring mom role, but with much more fun this time around and Ilavarasu played a helpless father. The simple story, told effectively through a lot of humour worked very well making the movie a great success. It got released right after the biggie, and yet managed to stand up against it with its entertaining content.
8. Naan Mahaan Alla
Director - Suseenthiran
Producers - KE Gnanavel Raja, SR Prakash Babu, SR Prabhu
Cast - Karthi, Kajal Agarwal, Jayaprakash, Soori, Vinoth
Writer - Suseenthiran, Bhaskar Sakthi
Karthi is slowly and steadily growing into a superstar. He's becoming so big that even his elder brother Suriya, who is much much senior than him, is considering him a threat now. He started the year with the disappointing Aayirathil Oruvan, but had a blockbuster called Paiyaa after that, and he cemented his position with Naan Mahaan Alla. Directed by Suseenthiran who impressed everyone with his debut Vennila Kabaddi Kuzhu, this movie starts out as a cute and lovely romantic comedy and progresses into a grim revenge story. Tamil Cinema got a new and revamped Kajal Agarwal who is adorable. Jayaprakash as the father was great and the 4 young villains were terrifying. (One of them was my junior from college - Vinoth.) Great music from Yuvan, fantastic camerawork from Madhi and some great stunts made this movie technically perfect.
Director - Mani Ratnam
Producers - Mani Ratnam, Sharda Trilok
Cast - Vikram, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Prithviraj, Prabhu, Karthik, Priyamani, Munna, John Vijay
Writers - Mani Ratnam, Suhasini Mani Ratnam
Okay, it didnt live up to expectations, but still Raavanan was a great watch. A modern day adaptation of the mythological epic Ramayana, Raavanan had a faulty screenplay from India's most respected director Mani Ratnam who is expected to be flawless in each film of his. BUT, Vikram saves the film from being a complete disappointment with an extraordinary performance that can be delivered only by him. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan looked old in some parts and beautiful in some parts. Prithviraj remained under control and impressed in his role with negative shades. The rest of the supporting cast like Prabhu, Karthik, Priyamani and John Vijay also gave great performances. The film had great, experimental music by AR Rahman. But the movie belonged to its cinematographers Santosh Sivan and V Manikandan. It was visual ecstasy to say the least. Each frame looked stunning in the film, and the effort and pain that went into every single shot was visible in the movie. The climax fight sequence by Sham Kaushal was one of the best we've seen in Indian Cinema. But still, the faulty screenplay and the great expectations did much damage to the film and it couldnt create magic at the box office. But it was much better than the disastrous Hindi version of the movie with an embarassingly bad performance by Abhishek Bachchan in the lead role.
Director - AL Vijay
Producer - Kalpathi S Agoram
Cast - Arya, Amy Jackson, Cochin Haneefa, Nasser, MS Bhaskar, Alex O Nell
Writer - AL Vijay
Period films are a rarity in Tamil, and period love stories are even rarer. Madharasappattinam narrated a love story set in the Madras of 1940s between a poor dhobi and a rich Englishwoman. In spite of being heavily inspired by Titanic, Lagaan & Kisna, Madharasappattinam had a very interesting and believable narrative. Arya gave one of his best performances and the ethereally beautiful Amy Jackson was absolutely brilliant. GV Prakash's wonderful music complemented the romance very well. The cinematography by Nirav Shah and art direction by Selvakumar were stunning to say the least. The audiences enjoyed the trip back to the yesteryear Madras where even the koovam was spotlessly clean. The film also had a great performance from Malayalam actor Cochin Haneefa who passed away earlier this year. The movie had a long run and turned into a hit making Arya a bankable star.
5. Boss Engira Bhaskaran
Director - M Rajesh
Producer - KS Sreenivasan
Cast - Arya, Santhanam, Nayanthara, Monisha, Panchu Subbu, Rajendran, Vijayalakshmi & Jeeva
Writer - M Rajesh
The second biggest hit of 2010, Boss Engira Bhaskaran was an irresistibly funny comedy with the comedian Santhanam playing a role as important as its leading man Arya. The unbelievable camaraderie between the two resulted in rip-roaringly hilarious scenes throughout the movie. The director treated the entire movie with certain tongue-in-cheek attitude, till the very end of the movie which involved a great cameo by Jeeva. Nayanthara looked beautiful and did her part well. The rest of the supporting cast was also very effective. It released 2 weeks before the Enthiran phenonmenon and stood up against it strongly as well. Rajesh has become a director in demand after this movie. Yuvan's music also added value to the proceedings. And there wont be a single soul who wouldnt have used the phrase - 'Nanbenda!' after seeing the movie. ;)
4. Man Madan Ambu
Director - KS Ravikumar
Producer - Udhayanidhi Stalin
Cast - Kamal Haasan, Trisha, R Madhavan, Sangeetha, Mohan Das, Manju Kurup, Ramesh Arvind, Urvashi, Usha Uthup, Caroline, Oviya & Suriya
Writer - Kamal Haasan
Man Madan Ambu released at the fag end of 2010 and proved to be one wholesome entertainer. An unusual offering from the Kamal Haasan - KS Ravikumar team, Man Madan Ambu had brilliant performances, a very good screenplay, great dialogues, catchy music, stunning visuals and beautiful locations. Madhavan's drunk act, Trisha's tamil dialogues, Sangeetha's comedy and Kamal's performance on the whole was brilliant. The visualization of the Neela Vaanam song was another highlight in the movie. Kamal Haasan's writing and KS Ravikumar's execution made sure that the movie was entertaining as well as intelligent. Devi Sri Prasad & Manush Nandan deserve special mention for their music and cinematography. The romantic comedy released just a week back and is running successfully all over right now.
3. Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya
Director - Gautham Vasudev Menon
Producers - Madhan, Ganesh, Elred Kumar, Jayaraman
Cast - Silambarasan, Trisha, Ganesh, Kitty, KS Ravikumar, Samantha, Babu Antony
Writer - Gautham Vasudev Menon
Very few people can tackle romance effectively in Tamil cinema. One is Mani Ratnam & the other is Gautham Vasudev Menon. In this Tamil Hindu boy meets Malayali Christian girl love story, Menon decided to follow the characters and the dynamics in their relationships, which gave us very interesting conflicts between two people who are madly in love. Each stage of the romance was portrayed beautifully and the ending came as a shocker to us who are used to fairy tale endings for all mushy love stories. The most important thing VTV did was to rejuvenate Simbu. The guy had talent, but was clueless on how to use it and ended up making a fool out of himself in film after film until he came to Gautham Menon's hands. As Karthik in VTV, Simbu gives a subtle, yet powerful performance, which is certainly one of the year's best. Trisha also showed us that she can act, if used well. She looked gorgeous in those cotton saris and Chinmayi's dubbing for her was perfect. Her Jessie will remain forever in our hearts. AR Rahman gave one of his best soundtracks in recent times and Aaromale became some sort of an anthem. Manoj Paramahamsa's cinematography & Anthony's editing too the movie to new heights. Very rarely do such great romantic movies get made.
2. Angadi Theru
Director - Vasanthabalan
Producers - K Karunamoorthy, C Arun Pandian
Cast - Mahesh, Anjali, A Venkatesh, Pandi
Writers - Vasanthabalan, Jeyamohan
In between all the biggies of 2010, one film which told the story of young boys and girls working in a huge shopping mall in the busy Ranganathan street in Chennai came and won both accolades and commercial success. Angadi Theru was the second film of Shankar's protege Vasanthabalan, after the highly acclaimed Veyil and he proved that he is certainly a director to look out for. The slice of life narrative, realistic writing, brilliant performances & soulful music made Angadi Theru one of the best movies to be made in the decade. Anjali came up with a bravura performance which made everyone sit up and take notice of the actress in her. Newcomer Mahesh also played his part very well. GV Prakash's 'Un Perai Sollumbothu' and Vijay Antony's 'Aval Appadi Ondrum Azhagillai' became huge hits. The movie won universal critical acclaim and had a 100 day run in most of the theaters it was screened in.
Director - Shankar
Producer - Kalanithi Maran
Cast - Superstar Rajnikanth, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Danny Denzongpa, Santhanam, Karunas, Kalabhavan Mani, Cochin Haneefa
Writers - Shankar, Sujatha, Madhan Karky
Well, there is nothing more to be said than what has already been said about this film. Shankar, Sun Pictures, Superstar Rajnikanth, AR Rahman, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Resul Pookutty, Vairamuthu, Sabu Cyril, Rathnavelu & Peter Hein created an iconic film which will be remembered not just as India's premium science fiction film, but as a sci-fi film which is also a supremely entertaining Rajnikanth film. The world watched the phenomenon called Superstar Rajnikanth in awe. The movie broke every record and is considered one of the highest grossers in the history of Indian Cinema. While Bollywood filmmakers still struggle with the idea of using special effects in their film, Enthiran went miles and leaps ahead and redefined the use of visual effects in Indian Cinema. The 180 Crore film deserves to be on the top of each and every year ending list, by just taking into account the mammoth effort that each and every member of the cast and crew put in for the movie. And while his movie is minting money across the globe, our man goes for a peaceful meditation at the Himalayas dressed in a simple vetti & sattai. Thats Thalaivar for you!!
(Click here for the review)
As I mentioned in the beginning of the post, I'm feeling sad that I missed out on a whole lot of great movies including Mynaa and Nandalala. Hope I'll be able to catch them soon.