Monday, January 08, 2007

2006 Movies - The Top and Bottom 10

With the recent posts(and comments) on 2006 movies, these 2 lists are probably not gonna be a big surprise to most readers. Still, in keeping with the usual year-end tradition, here are my picks for the 10 best and 10 worst Tamil movies of 2006...

The Top 10

10. Something Something Unakkum Enakkum
This film's Telugu original was a very cute and charming love story that mixed romance and brotherly sentiments to deliver a complete entertainer. Since it was an almost scene-by-scene remake, director Raja didn't deserve much credit for originality. But by being faithful to the original, he did manage to retain its spirit, charm and entertainment value. Very familiar cliches were blended to create a film that seemed surprisingly fresh and Trisha was cute inspite of being artificial.

9. Kodambakkam
Kodambakkam was a rarity - a film that by portraying a director's struggle to make his first film, offered an interesting behind-the-scenes (or is it behind-the-screens?) look at the tough world of cinema. The hero's travails aren't sugarcoated and we get an insider's look at the travails of a director - from dealing with eccentric stars to getting the prints out the door. The director's clever explanation about adding elements to attract the youth still didn't make the item number or crude comedy acceptable though.

8. Paarijaatham
Bagyaraj proved that he is one of the few directors from the previous generation who can adapt to the tastes of the current moviegoers with this film, where he also introduced his daughter Saranya. He applied his well-known talent at mixing sentiments and humor to a youthful love story and added enough screenplay flourishes to deliver an entertaining film. The story-in-a-story concept was a clever idea to help him inject humor in the otherwise-serious story and the second half carried us along inspite of the familiar proceedings.

7. Dishyum
This is another film that proved that even a rich girl-poor boy love story, probably the oldest story in Tamil cinema, can be made to look fresh. The movie highlighted, rather than glossed over, the differences between the lovers and so managed to be believable and even a little suspenseful. The cliched climax was the only disappointment in the otherwise realistic film.

6. Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu
VV is probably the closest Tamil cinema has come to a real police procedural. The film placed emphasis on brain rather than brawn and this led to a intense, suspenseful movie in the serial killer genre. The Kamal-Jothika relationship moved to the forefront but inspite of the disappointment at the change of track, the emotional baggage the two carry involves us and makes for a complicatedly nice relationship. Harris Jayaraj's wonderful soundtrack was a real asset to the film.

5. Pudhuppettai
Probably the rawest among the year's long list of movies on rowdies and dadas, the film was technically-excellent, ambitious and daring. Apart from a protagonist who rarely earns our sympathy, the movie also dared to present a romance that broke several Tamil cinema conventions with glee. After a thrilling first half, the film slowed as Dhanush entered politics but pulled us back in with a strong emotional hook.

4. Veyyil
Director Shankar's S Films’ kept its reputation intact with Veyyil, a realistic, emotional film about two brothers whose lives traverse radically different paths. After a fun-filled younger life and a poetic romance, the film gathered speed in the emotional and sentimental second half that beautifully captured a prodigal son's desire to fit in and his family’s problems in accepting him back. Pasupathy proved himself once again as a versatile character actor and new music director G.V.Prakash delivered a suitable, eclectic soundtrack.

3. Chithiram Pesudhadi
Surprise hit Chithiram Pesudhadi mined a surprisingly new story from the familiar rich girl-rowdy boy love story. The engaging romance and strong supporting characters kept the story moving initially. The suspense about the key issue that separates the lovers is maintained very well and more importantly, is revealed in a way that doesn't disappoint and validates everything that happened before. In a year of weak climaxes, it was a truly satisfying conclusion. The catchy and funVaazha Meenukkum... took TN by storm and played a big part in the movie's success.

2. Pattiyal
Shifting gears from the light, commercial setting he seemed comfortable in, director Vishu Vardhan gave us a realistic, uncompromising look at the Chennai underworld. In the fascinating environment, he focused on two equally fascinating individuals at the bottom of the food chain. The cute romances alleviated the grimness of the theme and the director's strong sense of style made some of the chase and action sequences exhilarating to watch. Bharath was terrific as the mute character and Yuvan's ackground score was charged.

1. Imsai Arasan 23aam Pulikesi
It was three for three for director Shankar in his role as producer with Imsai Arasan 23aam Pulikesi, probably his riskiest venture so far. The historical comedy was fresh and different from the run-of-the-mill masala movies and made us laugh hard with its almost perfect mix of verbal and physical comedy. It deftly blended in social commentary and turned a satirical eye on current happenings without losing its comic touch. Vadivelu was perfect as Pulikesi and was impressive in the straight turn as Ukkirabudhan also.

The Bottom Ten

10. Ilavattam
That having the same story as a past hit is not the recipe for success was proved once again by this film that had the same underlying story as Aasai but was let down by the weak cast and poor screenplay. The movie was set in a school but that made it no different from all those movies set in college campuses that use the setting as an excuse for glamor and vulgarity. The plans made by Prithviraj were loud and dumb and worked only because the people around him were as stupid as he was.

9. Madrasi
Madrasi seemed like a movie that was started without having a complete script in hand. Logic, realism and continuity were completely non-existent as the movie lurched around with ridiculous turns in the screenplay. By the third act, we were completely lost and spent most of the time trying to figure out who is related to whom and who is trying to kill whom. Paradhesi!

8. Tirupathi
Inspite of throwing a little social consciousness into the mix, Perarasu's third outing turned out to be even more crass and crude compared to his earlier movies. The Ajith-Sada romance was the most distasteful of the year and barring a couple of sequences, the action-oriented second half was a big bore. Perarasu looked ridiculous in his ill-advised on-screen appearance and the song sequences would make a non-smoker take up smoking just so he could take a cigarette break!

7. Don Chera
A remake of a hit Hindi film to begin with, the film, from its beginning to its climax, reminded us of many other recent Tamil movies to give us a sense of deja vu almost throughout. The lack of romanticization of the hero's life and the emotional climax lost most of their effectiveness because of this familiarity. Ranjith's overacting, where he came off looking mentally ill rather than naieve and innocent, added to the irritation.

6. Jaambavaan
The last few years, a Prashanth film is guaranteed a spot on the year-end 'Worst Films' list and 2006 was no different. His entry was Jaambavaan, another wannabe-Baasha about soft-spoken, violence-abhorring man with a contrasting, violent past. The familiar storyline led to a feeling of having seen it all before and even individual scenes seemed completely familiar. The feeble romances, weak villains and violence-laden second half made things worse.

5. Yugaa
Yugaa was a science fiction film but the brownie points the director earned by taking on a different genre were lost once we saw how he handled the subject he chose. Even the director didn't seem sure about the kind of movie he it wanted to be as it started off like a disaster film and then turned into a horror film. In the end, the film was just an awful combination of silly, confusing ideas, inept execution, bad acting and cheesy special effects. Megaa-bad!

4. Nenjil
The director tried to cover up the deficiencies in almost all aspects of the film by setting it in London but the ploy didn't work. The main plot of two strangers sabotaging a romance because of their own pasts was silly and neither the sudden and unconvincing romance between the lead pair nor the irritating comedy by the team of Vadivelu and Mayilsamy made the film any easier to sit through.

3. Kovai Brothers
The latest in Satyaraj's blatant attempt to promote his son Sibi, the film just proved to be another nail in the coffin of Sibi's non-starting career. The spoofs and satirical dialogs generated no laughs without the aid of a story and the attacks on personalities seemed mean-spirited. The flashback had an incident designed to elicit sympathy but the heroes' acts just seemed to trivialize it. Aruvai Brothers!

2. Paasakkiligal
Looking like a 60s film made with new actors, Paasakkiligal was old-fashioned to the extreme - and not in a good way. Its situations and sequences were plain ridiculous and every aspect of it, from the character names to the characters themselves, were dated. The story provided no avenues for Karunanidhi to show of his writing skills either and so the movie was a total loss. Sogakkiligal!

1. Dharmapuri
It was almost unbelievable that this movie turned out to be even worse, considering the already-low expectations gained by the teaming up of Vijayakanth and director Perarasu. Alternating between being plain silly, laughably bad and really dumb, the movie presented the strongest case yet for Vijayakanth becoming a full-time politician. Scenes of jaw-dropping stupidity one after another made for an intolerable assault on our senses and the single plot point in the second half proved that Perarasu was completely out of ideas. Dharmasangadam!

34 Comments:

At 11:39 PM, Blogger srivatsan said...

BB,

Though a few surprises in Top-10 (Em-Magan missing! Paarijatham in) rest is pretty much inline, Worst one could easily be guessed --- The one and only Dharmapuri...

:-))

 
At 12:59 AM, Blogger Bart said...

Yes, I agree with Srivatsan on Top-10. Maybe Em magan could've got in in place of Parijatham. "Thiruttu payale" could've replaced "unakkum enakkum".
Only wish "Vallavan" had made it to bottom 10. I do accept the chosen ones are worse.
So, the worst director award unanimously goes to Perarasu for getting both his movies featured in the bottom list.

 
At 2:27 AM, Blogger Simply Senthil said...

Fine list, BB. Anyway, i dont think Pattiyal deserves to be in second place as it was almost ripped of from a Thai film "Bangkok Dangerous". (Filbert posted the similarities in his blog during April).

 
At 2:55 AM, Blogger srivatsan said...

I think it is good time Tamil Cinema Actors and Directors start mentioning *Story / Screenplay* credits.

With Network reachability these days any kind of plagiarisms can be caught and put to display easily, which is putdown for any Director/Actor.. :-)

 
At 6:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something Something Unakkum Enakkum = Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak

Don't know what prabhu deva was thinking...

Good summary, Balaji!

 
At 6:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops, actually...

Something Something Unakkum Enakkum = Maine Pyar Kiya

My bad :)

 
At 7:10 AM, Blogger Me too said...

In the previous years I have never recognised any movies in your bottom 10 lists. This year I recognise most!!

 
At 7:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kovai Brothers and Vallavan were in the year end top 10 movies on Sun TV, one more reason why that channel is crap.

- KP

 
At 8:15 AM, Blogger Kittu said...

even i thought en magan was missing...

pattiyal i liked it though it is shadowed the english movie.

super top post.

 
At 9:12 AM, Anonymous ram said...

i was a little disappointed that you didnt come up with a "disappointments" list like u did, at the end of '05.

who cares abt movies like yuga and nenjil! though admittedly, it led to some very funny lines in ur blog entry! :-)

 
At 11:22 AM, Anonymous Shwetha said...

Good compilation Balaji. I must admit that I miss your bomb rating for movies these days, like you used to do in previous years. Guess movies are getting marginally better now. I still remember your bomb rated review for a movie called Nagalingam. I laffed so much while reading the review and your anger in having to sit thro the terrible film. I think it came on top of your worst list a few years back.

 
At 2:44 PM, Blogger Maverick said...

BB
But still 'Dharmapuri' was the movie that gave us most laughs (intended or not is irrelevant). Do you agree? I always feel Gabtun's movies are stress-busters. You can watch 'Narasimha' anyday and come out of it relaxed and tension-free !!1

 
At 3:27 PM, Blogger Ram said...

mav, i laugh till my tummy aches when i watch that scene with gaptain and that generator in narasimha. its an assault on the senses but its hilarious, nevertheless!

 
At 7:29 PM, Blogger Krishna said...

BB,I look forward to your year-end posts of Top and Bottom flicks the way I do my annual bonus! Great reading as always.Ram/Maverick, as "entertaining" as the Captain's movies are, he still pales in comparison to that bearded monstrosity called T.Rajendar, who I suspect narrowly missed BB's Top Bottom list on account of his latest "masterpiece" Veerasami(sponsored by Weight-Watchers) being released this year (Oh well, he's bound to clinch the No.1 spot for the 2007 Top Bottom list). Captain may need a generator to create sparks, but TR's motor-mouth spewing a never-ending stream of rhyming dialogues is in a class of it's own, a true "shocker"!

 
At 9:06 PM, Anonymous karthik sc said...

perarasu has got talent.if he can cut down on his illogical scenes he can make very good tamil films.i enjoyed both tirupathi and dharmapuri.dhamapuri was a very funny movie.these are the typical tamil movies and that is how tamil movies should be made.i think you all are being very unfair to perarasu.he has got a long way to go.i am waiting for the kamal and perarasu combination.

 
At 9:14 PM, Blogger srivatsan said...

// perarasu has got talent.

You must be out of heart..

// i am waiting for the kamal and perarasu combination.

If something like that happens, I'll stop watching Kamal movies :-)

 
At 9:29 PM, Blogger vICkNeS said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9:49 PM, Blogger S.Ganesh Kumar said...

Balaji & srivtsan;
you can call me sadist or anything.But i'm waiting for Kamal-Perarasu combo to happen;for that's the only way I can see a movie getting a negative rating from Balaji!(Tirupachi 2*;Sivakasi 1.5*;TIRUPATI 1*; dharmapuri .5*;5th movie already booked 0*;6th might be the dream combo and the dream rating!-0.5*)
Karthik sc;keep your fingers crossed!

 
At 10:08 PM, Blogger srivatsan said...

Ganesh..good script but it will never happen :-)) .. Kamal might not be the best when it comes to direction but he will not allow Perarasu to attack ppl senses with Iron Rod and as BB mentioned, Jaw dropping stupid scenes.

None of his movies (even Masala and light hearted ones) were not as dumb as Dharmapuri.

Ppl thought the same would happen with Anbe Sivam when Sundar C was mentioned as director, the movie as such met expectations of audiences.. :) hehehe.So even if Perarasu were to direct a movie for Kamal, it would be better than Tirupaachi (his best one so far).

 
At 10:09 PM, Blogger Krishna said...

Karthik,"these are the typical tamil movies and that is how tamil movies should be made" Dude, now that is one scary comment!
I think there's room for both: Refreshing, genre-busting and ground-breaking cinema as well as those made by 50 year old,pot-bellied heroes passing themselves off as teenagers, star vehicles catering to their rabid fan-clubs as opposed to the general movie-going public, ageing actors attempting to launch their off spring and deluded directors with leading man aspirations.

 
At 10:34 PM, Anonymous Sandya said...

Balaji, if there was just one of your choices in the Top 10 that I would not agree with, it's probably Kodambakkam. I would replace that film with Em Magan or worst case, give both Kodambakkam and Em Magan the 9th place.

I sat and revisited almost all the scenes in both films (not see the films again, just think over both films). If you stack up both the positives and negatives for both Kodambakkam and Em Magan, you will find them both equal. That said, it seems a little unfair to Em Magan that it doesn't figure in your list.

If your list was strictly based on 'your likes and dislikes,' then, I wouldn't have put up a strong voice for Em Magan, but looking at your other choices, I'm able to tell that your Top 10 was not just based on what you liked; but based on entertainment value as well as aesthetic values. If that were the case, then Em Magan should definitely belong in your list.

At the end of the day, both Em Magan and Kodambakkam belong to pretty much the same genre; B-grade family film with little to no violence, thriving on comedy and sentiments. I fail to see where one film is better than the other, be it in its cliches, predictability or overall presentation.

 
At 10:39 PM, Blogger srivatsan said...

Vattaram for *Something Something*, atleast had some new plot..

 
At 11:31 PM, Blogger S.Ganesh Kumar said...

Friends;
Check my first post of 2007 -http://sganeshkumar.blogspot.com/2007/01/dhoom-2-in-tamil.html.IF YOU'VE ANY COMMENTS;PLEASE WRITE IT THERE.HOPE IT WILL ENTERTAIN YOU

 
At 11:40 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

senthil, yes i remember filbert's post comparing the 2. but i really enjoyed 'pattiyal'(may be cos i haven't seen 'bangkok dangerous'. hence the high spot on my list :)

ram, unlike last yr, i think many of my bottom ten r quite well-known (as me too mentioned also). so didn't wanna make a separate list :)

shwetha, 'nagalingalam' was a once-in-a-lifetime movie and even the other bombs lag behind quite a bit! that film is probably the worst film i have ever seen :)

srivatsan/bart/kittu/sandya, every yr there's probably a couple of movies where my opinion differs from most viewers and in 2006 it looks like that film was 'em magan'! i liked the 1st half of the film but the 2nd half was a disappointment. i didn't like how long the film took to get to its main plot point. and the 2nd half was too drab...

sandya, the top 10 is defly based on what i liked. the reasons i liked a film may be entertainment value or aesthetic values(or a mix of both!) but the list was defly based on how much i liked the movies. and i 'liked' kodambakkam more than 'em magan' cos of the unique setting(behind the scenes of tamil cinema) and how it dealt with its theme...

 
At 1:48 AM, Blogger vICkNeS said...

BB, nice list....as for me, i'll rank Chitram Pesudadi as the best movie of the year because of its engaging plot, fine acting from all the characters involved and the stunning twist at the end ..(all-in-one)

My top3:
1. Chitiram Pesudadi
2. Imsai Arasan
3. Pudhupetai

 
At 4:56 AM, Blogger Karthik said...

any idea of what is perarasu's next movie?perarasu-simbu will also be a good combination.
perarasu rocks.

 
At 5:39 AM, Blogger srivatsan said...

perarasu rocks -- yes he does

Next movie with Vijay...

 
At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Prin said...

My List

1 Vettaiyaddu Vilayaadu
2 Imsai Arasan 23am Pulikesi
3 Varalaru
4 Thiruttu Payale
5 Unakkum Enakkum
6 Pattiyal
7 Veyyil
8 Em Magan
9 Rendu
10 Dishyum

10 Stinkers!!!!

10 Vallavan
9 Ilavatam
8 Thirupathi
7 Thullara Vayasu
6 Suyetchi MLA
5 Pachai Kuthirai
4 Nagareega Komali
3 Paasakiligal
2 Sudesi
1 Dharmapuri

Any Ideas?

 
At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Suyetchi MLA, Nagareega komali??!! wow, prin has more patience and curiosity than even bb!

 
At 11:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HOW COME U DIDNT INCLUDE " AATHI " IN THE WORST FLOPS OF THE YEAR.

N Y U DIDNT INCLUDE VARALARU IN THE BEST.

N ALSO FOR UR INFORMATION TAMIL NADU GOVT. HAS RELEASED A YEAR END LIST OF ALL THE FILMS THAT HAVE CROSSED 100 DAYS RUNNING CALLED THE "COMMERCIALL HIT MOVIES" N THAT INCLUDES BOTH PARAMASIVAM N
"THIRUPATHI" OK!!!!

I THINK U R TOTALLY BIASED TOWARDS VIJAY. N Y DO U ACT AS IF U R UNBIASED.

 
At 11:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

THE COMMENT I HAVE POSTED ABOVE IS FOR BALAJI'S LIST.

 
At 8:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In true Sun TV styled flubliners..allow me to indulge...

Worst Ten:

Dharmapuri - Dharma veri

Paasakkiligal - Mosa yelligal

Kovai Brothers - Sotthai Brokers

Nenjil - Moonjiyil (peechang-kaiyai-vaika : full title)

Yugaa - Poh-daa!

Jaambavan - Yeh Baghavan!

Tirupathi - Mottai (can't help it)

Madarasi - Paradhesi (perfect fit)

Ilavattam - Verum/Pitchai Koottam

Coming to think of it, if these alternative titles were affixed for these movies, they would have had the same effect. Titles, true to form, do not mean much to Tamil movies. Well, that's a story for another day!

 
At 4:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ada ennappa, how come aathi isnt in bottom 10? can anyone forget it's silly interval scene? haha!
here's my honest list of 10 most outstanding movies in 2006 (either in terms of quality or different narrative style or acting or boxoffice collection):
1. vettaiyadu vilaiyadu
2. veyil
3. imsai arasan 23rd pulikesi
4. godfather @ varalaru
5. chitiram pesuthadi
6. pattiyal
7. tiruttu payale
8. E
9. parijatham
10. vallavan

(venoth - from malaysia)

 
At 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

all those bottom films need to be at the bottom..some of the top may not be as good as listed..
every one has its own list..

so my top films.. dont want to have 10.since i dont want to fill it..

dont miss:
----------
E
chitiram pesutadi
Kodambakkam
Dishum

good:
-----
thirutu payalae
parijatham
VV (best suited for gaptain.)
em magan(overrated since it was an under dog)

ok.. watchable:
---------------
imsai

i want to watch:
----------------
veyyil,pudupettai,TR's movie for obvious reasons

i didn't like:
something (can't stand junior adivsor-- bayam ravi)
pattiyal (can't watch the ladies man)

gaptain,satyaraj,kalaingar(punishment for loyalists),arjun,perarasu,rendu,prashant,aathi etc are just to fill my right ear(tv is on my right), when i m browsing.

 

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