Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Best Performances in Tamil Cinema

Rediff has listed the 10 best performances in Hollywood films, as picked by Premiere magazine. Naturally, it got me thinking about the best performances in Tamil films over the years. Picking performances off the top of my head, this is the first list I came up with.

10. Karthik in Mouna Raagam
9. Baby Shwetha in Kutti
8. Revathi in Mouna Raagam
7. Rajnikanth in Mullum Malarum
6. Nagesh in Neerkkumizhi
5. Vikram in Sethu
4. Mohanlal in Iruvar
3. Sivaji in Thiruvilaiyaadal
2. Sridevi in Moondraam Pirai
1. Kamalhassan in Naayagan


At 12:24 AM, Blogger மு.கார்த்திகேயன் said...

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At 12:25 AM, Blogger மு.கார்த்திகேயன் said...

Listing 10 is a tough job.I don't know how you rated..But it does not look OK for me..I donno others..Still lot of best performances are left in the film.

* Karthik in Gokulathil Seethai (Still I remember the climax scene where Karthik give credit card to bus conductor for ticket fare..)

* Baby Shamli in Anjali
* Sivaji in Pasamalar, Veerapandia Kattapomman (After seeing Veerapandia.., Whenever I hear the word kattapomman, my mind quickly refers to Sivaji..I dont see any particular criteria on seeing Sivaji in Thiruvilaiyaadal..If we are going to consider Sivaji films, lot are there)
* Revathi in Puthumai Penn
Still things are more to listed out.

Kamal in Naayagan,Sridevi in Moondram Pirai, Nagesh in Neerkkumizhi, Rajni in Mullum malarum..are in my list too

At 12:41 AM, Blogger Bharani said...

Sivaji in DevarMagan
Kamal in Maganadhi
Nasser in Kurudhipunal

At 1:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

kamal and sivaji and vadivelu in devar magan

padmini and sivaji in thillana mohanambal

nagesh and muthuraman and that female in ethir neechal

srividya in sollathan ninaikiraen

srividya in aboorva raagangal

sripriya in neeya or aval oru thodarkathai

shoba in nizhal nijamahiradhu or mullum malarum

def see male domination on your list.

At 2:43 AM, Blogger pagala'k' said...

Sathyaraj in vedham pudhidhu
Old sathyaraj in Amaidhipadai
Thalai in Dalapathy
Kamal in Anbe Sivam
M.R Radha in Ratha Kaneer

At 9:21 AM, Blogger Chitra said...

Sridevi in Moondraam Pirai, in second place? Really? I really don't think her performance was that great. However, I think Kamal was really good in Moondram Pirai. I like Vikram in Pithamagan too. Of course, this is BB's list. :)

At 11:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that you didn't include Baby Sujitha in Poovizhi Vaasalile.. One of the best (if not the best!) performance by a child artist ever in Tamil cinema.

Personally, I don't think Sethu is Vikram's best work yet. I don't think it belongs in this list. (Kaasi was better, even though it was inspired by Kalabhavan Mani's performance!).

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Raju said...

Havent watched 'Kutti'.. others were all great performances. Spot on.. I thought Revathi's best was 'Maruadiyum'. Tough competition though..

On Kamal, his 'Naayagan', 'Moondram pirai', 'Mahanadhi', even 'Indian', 'Kuruthipunal' and 'Thevar magan' have all left great impact over me.. Though Nayakan was special, Mahanadhi's vulnerable Kamal was top class.

At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched Anjali yesterday... and I would pick Baby shamili for Anjali and perhaps Revathi in Anjali also.. that woman had my heart crying out for her.

And Kamal in Mahanadhi definitely... didn't like him too much in Nayagan.


At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Balaji,

I wasnt able to find the review of Iruvar in the archives section..did u write a review for that movie or is it missing?



At 1:38 PM, Blogger mitr_bayarea said...


You are off to a good start here. My additions/variations to the list would be-

Revathy in Marupadiyum, Pudumai Penn, Mouna Raagam

Kamal in Mahanadhi, Salangai Oli (my favorite movie)

Radha in Mudhal Mariyadhai

Sivakumar in Sindhu Bairavi

Sujatha in Kamal's black and white movie (forgot the name)

Vijayashanthi in Mannan

At 12:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

was out of town the last cpl of days...got to see this just now...
bb, i din know u liked mohanlal in iruvar so much...what r ur thots on the movie?

in your list, the only other movie i havent seen is neerkumizhi...but that leads me to:
10. Maadipadi Madhu
9. Nagaraja Chozhan (AKA) Amaavasai
8. Pasa Malar Savithri
7. Seetharaman
6. Barrister Rajnikanth
5. Kaali
4. Viji
3. Cheeyaan
2. Krishnaswamy
1. Velu Nayakar

At 12:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i meant, the only movie i havent seen is...ignore the "other" in the sentence

At 1:04 AM, Blogger Bart said...

The list is not satisfying (I do not think it can ever be..). Few performances that tops my mind and not in the list are:
a) Radhika in "Kizhakku cheemaiyile" (maybe Vijayakumar too)
b) Chappani Kamal in 16 vayadhinile (can be omitted only under assumption that an actor can appear only once in the list)
c) Suhasini in Sindhu Bhairavi (even Sivakumar)
d) Surya for Pithamagan (very much under-rated performance)
e) Rajesh for "Achamillai, Achamillai"
f) Satyaraj for Vedham pudhidhu
g) Sivaji much more for "Veera pandiya Kattabomman" than "Thiruvilaiyaadal"
h) Savithiri for "Missiyamma", "Paasamalar" ..
And so on..
The list above too again, I feel is not satisfying. To say the obvious, none can make a satisfying, comprehensive list for a filmdom existing close to 3/4th of a century :)

At 2:05 AM, Blogger NS said...

nice list... Baby Shwetha in Kutti is a great pick... she was far far genuine compared to a lot of child artistes who irritate the hell out of me... pinjula pazhutha cases like that girl in Kannathil Muthamittal! Grrrr!

But 10 is to less a number for tamil films... my list wud probably be..
- Radhika of Keladi Kanmani
- Kalyan kumar of Nenjil oru aalayam
- Vanisri of Velli vizha
- Ponnatha of Mudhal Mariyadhai - i feel Vadi karisi simply outdid both the protagonists in this movie, their brilliance notwithstanding!
- Karthik in Mouna ragam
- Thalaivar/Shobha in Mullum Malarum
- Nagesh in Major Chandrakanth
- Balaiah in Kadhalikka Neramillai..:D

the no.1 on my list is certainly Kamal of Salangai Oli- i really doubt if Kamal himself could portray another role like Balakrishnan... absolute brilliance!

At 10:14 AM, Blogger Rajesh Thiagarajan said...

Balaji's list would be a best fit in this category - Best Performances in Tamil Cinema by Actor/Actress in a Leading Role.
Balaji, can you please think and write about this? - Best Performances in Tamil Cinema by Actor/Actress in a Supporting Role.

At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rajesh, here's my list...hope BB has some of these in his list too (No particular order):

- Srividya in Kadhalukku Mariyaadhai
- Sriman in Sethu
- Parthiban in Anthappuram (a superb performance in a guest role)
- Kamal/Sarala in Sathi Leelavathy
- Sneha in Autograph
- Janakaraj in Nayagan
- Raghuvaran/Banupriya in Aaha!
- Prakashraj in Aasai (Ajith was supposedly the lead...!)
- Fatafat in Mullum Malarum
- Nasser in Bombay

At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sneha in Autograph??... hmm I guess I can't say anything cuz I stopped watching it soon as she showed up in the movie =P.

Anyways, I thought sneha was awesome in Virumbugiren


At 3:05 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

karthik, didn't come up with a criteria or anything to rate. just jotted down the performances that came to mind as soon i thot of the title 'best performances' :)

and for kamal and sivaji, there r too many movies to list. so i just picked my favorite among them to have some variety in the list :)

bharani, good choices :)

anon, yes i accept that there were more male performances. actually u'll also notice that there was a skewing of movies in the 80s or later since i've seen more movies since then and i don't remember much about the movies b4 that time unless i've seen them recently. tried hard to think of some female performances in newer movies but didn't come up with any. even the female performances u've chosen r from older movies...

and i don't think sripriya was in 'aval oru thodarkadhai'. that was sujatha :)

pagalak, satyaraj in 'vedham pudhidhu' was 1 of the contestants. but i've never seen 'ratha kanneer' :)

missy, wow thats a surprise. everyone i've met so far usually says she really deserved the national award for that performance and that they gave it to kamal instead!

sandhya, very true. sujitha and shamili in 'anjali' would rate among the best child performances of all time :)

raju, being such a big movie lover, u really shouldnt miss 'kutti'. truly unforgettable film...

merino, kamal's performance in 'mahanadhi' seems to be a reader favorite. but personally, his performance in 'naayagan' was really unbeatable. i could write pages about his performance in every scene in that!

RS, no i havent reviewed 'iruvar' yet. it was one of the upcoming movies in the 'movie of the month' section b4 i discontinued it :)

mitr, nice list. i'm guessing that sujatha-kamal movie is either 'aval oru thodarkathai' or 'avargal'. she was great in both :)

skanda, wow an even more newer list than mine! but most of those would be on my list if i compiled a list of 'best performances ' from the 90s upto today.

ram, i think it was an amazing performance considering it was based on one of the most well-known icons of tamil history. will try to review it one of these days...

#s 7, #4 yaaruppa? names r too generic... and u thot #6 was a great performance. i felt it was over-the-top(overacting) though at that time it might've seemed good...

At 3:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

#4- Sridevi in Moondraam Pirai
#7- Parthiban in Pudhiya Paadhai

really looking fwd to your Iruvar write-up...my thots on the movie:

Barrister Rajnikanth- one of my all-time fav characters...here's what I wrote in my review:
If I were to choose 10 of my favorite ‘characters’, it would have Velu Nayakar from “Nayagan” at the No. 1 position and Cheeyaan from “Sethu” at No.2; and somewhere in the top ten, would definitely figure Barrister Rajnikanth, from this movie. In one of his deservedly famous performances, Sivaji brings the character to life with startling intensity. His monologues about his dedication to his craft and his explanations for his behavior are brilliant and he sparkles in almost all of his scenes, rarely striking a false note. His resonating voice and flawless dialogue delivery play no small part in adding gloss to his portrayal. He nicely demarcates between this and the Kannan character.

At 7:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Balaji, my list - in no particular order but definitely skewed based on my favorite actors ;)

-vikram in Kasi
-surya in pithamagan
-karthik in mouna ragam
-revathi in mouna ragam
-maddy in minnale
-kamal in salangai oli
-madhoo in roja
-suhasini in manathil uruthi vendum
-dhanush in kaadhal konden
-jo in kaakha kaakha

of course this is from my limited viewing of tamil movies :)

actually, a lot of the roles above itself r so good that i might have appreciated other any other good actor in them as well...

At 9:54 PM, Blogger vICkNeS said...

thumbs up for balaji for bringing the idea about the best performances in Tamil films over the years.
here's my list....
10. Maddy in ayuthe elethe
9. Sivaji in Karna
8. Rajini and Mammooty in Thalapathi
7. Surya in kaake kaake
6. The little gal in Anjali
5. Kamal in Mahanandi
4. Satyaraj in Katholora Kavaithigal
3. Kamal again in Apporva Sagorthargal
2. Mohan in Mouna Ragam

At 6:09 PM, Blogger Chitra said...

BB, I didn't know that Kamal got the national award and that Sridevi didn't. (I have very limited knowledge of tamil movies.) But, that was an interesting piece of info, especially since that is exactly what I felt about their performances.

At 12:06 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

bart, i restricted each actor to 1 slot on the list just to maintain some variety. otherwise the list would've been dominated by kamal :) but i think both rajni and kamal's performances in '16 vayadhinile' would come in the top 10...

nithya, nice list. esp. since there r not too many common betn ur list and mine. haven't seen a couple of those movies but no complaints about the ones i have :)

rajesh, this list covered performances in general. though most were leading roles, karthik in 'mouna raagam' was probably a supporting role. will have to think a little bit about the top 10 supporting performances but nagesh in 'thiruvilaiyaadal' would definitely be on there :)

ram, i think parthiban would be on my list too. and probably kamal/sarala :)

and i did think viji was sridevi. but in my review i have her name as lakshmi. is that wrong?

merino, yes she was. in fact i don't think i've seen a bad performance from her yet. as i've said in many reviews, i think she is the most natural actress working today :)

deepa, maddy in 'minnale'? ur list is definitely skewed towards your fav actors :)

i think u've made a good point there in the end though. i think 1 of my criteria in picking the performances was the fact that i didnt think any other actor could've carried those roles off. the actors r so closely connected to the roles that we can't think of any1 else doing them...

missy, yes thats right. kumudham had a very funny cartoon at that time. it showed sridevi thinking "i should've acted with someone like pratap pothan so that my acting would've been noticed and i would've gotten the award" :)

At 12:07 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

vicknes, nice list. a few surprises but then thats what makes any list like this fun and interesting :)

At 7:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bb, it's like nobody refers to Vikram in Sethu as Sethu...we say, "Cheeyaan" rite?

in moondraam pirai, viji is the name Kamal uses to address Sridevi...was watching that movie sometime last month...just refused to leave my mind for a few days....

sneha-- hope pudhupet turns out to be a comeback vechicle for her...whole of 2005, she was just turning in crap work...not that she didnt act well but that she acted in crap movies like adhu, chinna and ayudham...

thamizh cinemaaa, give me "divya" again:-)

At 9:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

why do we want to rate acting that corrosponds to different time lines?

At 3:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ajit in Vaali , mugavari

M.R Radha in Ratha Kaneer


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