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 1010. 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. KodambakkamKodambakkam
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!