COIN’S Top Ten Tamil Films of 2018
Number 10: Tik Tik Tik
Tik Tik Tik makes it to the list of COIN’s Best Tamil films of 2018 simply because of two reasons.
The first of these is director Shakthi Soundar Rajan and Jayam Ravi’s courage in deciding to make a space film in Tamil. The decision is worth lauding as the space genre is one that has been avoided by not just film industries in India but across Asia. This is because production houses have been of the opinion that making a space film will be beyond them. Director Shakthi Soundar Rajan, Jayam Ravi and producer Nemichand Jhabak win this spot on this elite list just for showing the nerve to break that opinion.
Tik Tik Tik is the first Indian space film and to invest a whopping amount on making it deserves a lot of credit.
The second reason why this film has been chosen is because of the immense hard work the crew has put into it. Take for instance, the film’s Art Director Moorthy.
Not many know that the man worked non-stop for 16 to 18 hours a day, for over a year on creating the satellites and spacestations. The pains he took to make sure that the satellites looked real is just fantastic. Every single day, the man would work from 6 in the morning to around midnight, before coming home where he would watch YouTube videos and look for reference material to make the satellites the next day. He almost worked himself to death for this project and the crew had to lie to him that they were not shooting to get him admitted to a hospital. However, the man fought with the crew for choosing to work without him and chose to finish his work first before getting admitted to a hospital and undergoing a heart surgery. So impressed was the team with his work that producer Jhabak chose to double his salary without the man asking for it. His work and the CG work in the film were excellent and it is for these two reasons that this film takes the number 10 spot.
Number 9: Kolamavu Kokila
This black comedy came as a refreshing breath of fresh air at a time when four out of every six films in the Tamil film industry were being made on established formulas. Nelson Dilip Kumar both amused audiences and also engaged them with a story that kept turning and twirling like a sexy salsa dancer on a roll. The unpredictability of the story was just one of its strengths. Nayanthara’s exceptional portrayal of a damsel in distress and Yogi Babu’s outstanding performance as her knight in armour were the main highlights of the film, which had much more to offer intelligent audiences than what met the eye.
Nelson’s film Kolamavu Kokila also wins the number eight spot on this elite list for the manner in which it beautifully brought out a facet of women that is rarely showcased in Tamil cinema. Sample this. Nayan’s character Kokila, in one scene, goes to the gang head Mohan. Initially, she weeps and gives him the impression of being a damsel in distress, terrified of even witnessing violence. Moved by her tears, he begins to comfort her and assures her his complete support in whatever manner possible. When he begins consoling her, she realises that she has won him over and looks to manipulate him and thereby captilise on his sympathies to eliminate any potential threat to her security. That sequence brilliantly shines light upon the cold and hard heart the protagonist has beneath a beautiful face and a sob story. Such brilliant sequences are there throughout the film. For all of this, Kolamavu Kokila or KoKo makes it to the number 8 spot on COIN’s list!
Number 8: Pyar Prema Kadhal
A proper commercial, romantic, comedy entertainer of the present day and age, Pyar Prema Kadhal brought to fore the unrecognised talents of two of the most gifted actors in recent times — Harish Kalyan and Raiza Wilson.
Although Harish has been on the Tamil film scene for some time now, he hasn’t had projects that actually showcase his true abilities. Pyar Prema Kadhal broke that drought and gave him an opportunity to show audiences what he was capable of. Harish just lapped up the opportunity, proving what a capable artiste he is. Raiza did equally well, portraying with confidence the bold role of Sindhu, a modern-day empowered woman who believes in having her way. Raiza’s performance was so refreshing and delightful that it made audiences fall in love with her.
The couple’s chemistry too worked big time, making the entertainer a thoroughly enjoyable film. One other reason why Pyar Prema Kadhal gets this spot is because of the scintillating music it got from Yuvan Shankar Raja, bringing back memories of his former self. It showed what the junior Maestro could actually do, should he set his mind on doing it. The fact that both Harish and Raiza had earned a certain degree of popularity through the reality show Bigg Boss helped the film and made it rake in the moolah at the box office.
Number 7 : Oru Kuppai Kadhai (Joint winner with Kadai Kutty Singam)
Based on a true story, this heartbreaking tale of a husband going out of his way to save his adulterous wife beats several other good films to make it to this list because of its spirit. The film, made by a relatively young crew, had dance choreographer, Dinesh Master, making his debut as a hero. Manisha Yadav, who played the demanding character of the adulterous wife, too wasn’t very experienced. Yet, both artistes came up with exceptional performances to breathe life into a moving story that stood tall among other films released at the same time. Both the story and the manner it was narrated were perfect and what enhanced the value of an already impressive product was Joshua Sridhar’s music. In short, this was a winner that deserved recognition and therefore it shares the seventh spot with Kadaikutty Singam.
Number 7 : Kadai Kutty Singam
Director Pandiraj’s Kadaikutty Singam, featuring Karthi and Sayyesha Saigal in the lead, takes the number seven spot for being the proper family entertainer that it was. But more importantly, what helped it earn the spot, pushing other commercially successful films like Sarkar and 2.0 out of the list, is the fact that it stressed on the significance of the contribution of farmers to society and also highlighted the importance of the joint family system.The film had good performances coming in from not just the main cast of Karthi, Sayyesha and Sathyaraj but even its supporting cast including its villain, Soundararaja. The film was a clean entertainer that truly deserved the success it got at the box office.
Number 6: Ratsasan
Director Ram Kumar’s psychological thriller sent a shiver down the spine of audiences as his film’s protagonist, policeman Arun Kumar, went about tracking a dreaded psycho killer looking to harm girls. Actor vishnu Vishal, who played the role of Arun Kumar, just blended into this character, winning widespread appreciation.
Through this film, Vishnu proved that he had not only evolved as an actor but also as a good producer, picking scripts and directors that really make a difference. Agreed, the man has a deep affection for the police department as all his stories are in one way or the other connected to the police department but that can safely be ignored as the scripts are meaningful and entertaining. For narrating a gripping story and also highlighting crimes against women, Ratsasan wins the sixth spot on COIN’s list of the Best films of 2018.
Number 5: Irumbu Thirai
A splendid techno action thriller, director Mithran’s Irumbu Thirai had people frequently checking their wallets and worrying about their debit cards’ digital data being stolen.
Hell yeah, it even had people hurriedly switching from smart phones to the old age cell phones that were far from being smart! That was the impact of this brilliantly made, fact-based technological thriller that awakened audiences to the existence of something called the Darknet and the happenings there. The film had several excellent performances including those from its lead actors Vishal, Samantha and Arjun. A fantastic film by any standards, Irumbu Thirai is at Number five not because its class is any less but only because the standard of the other four films surpassing it are exceptional. In any other year or in another film industry, this film could have easily made it to the top three places.
Take a bow, Mithran and Vishal. You have done yourselves proud!
Number 4: Vadachennai
Director Vetrimaran is a master when it comes to understanding and showcasing human psychology and Vadachennai promises to be his best offering to Tamil audiences. In other words, the first part of the film has already surpassed his earlier films like Aadukalam and Visaranai, both in quality and content.
If in Aadukalam, Vetrimaran showed how Pettaikaran (played by Jayapalan) turned from being a towering hero in one scene to a wretched betrayer and backstabber in another, in Visaranai, he showed how circumstances force even an honest and sincere police officer to turn into an accomplice to corrupt officers, partaking in their crime. Both these films were masterpieces.
Now, the first part of Vadachennai has surpassed even these films. One of the few directors to have a reasonably good understanding of the ever dynamic human nature, Vetrimaran’s characterisations are deep and beautiful. Each character in Vadachennai is a masterpiece that has been lovingly, craftily and carefully sculpted.
Full credit to all the artistes of the film and this includes Ameer, Andrea,Kishore, Pawan, Samudrakani and Aishwarya Rajesh, for having brought to life all of Vetri maran’s characters with their different shades.
In particular, that man Dhanush does a phenomenal job of playing the protagonist. Just can’t wait for the next part of this outstanding epic! As they say, Gimme more is all what we have to say to Vetrimaran.
Number 3: Merku Thodarchi Malai
This is a gem that’s been made using the sweat and blood of all those who worked on it. And yes, we think that this is the third best film of 2018.
Lenin Bharathi’s Merku Thodarchi Malai is a film of the highest class. Full marks to Lenin and to actor Vijay Sethupathi who produced this film, sheerly with the motive of taking Tamil cinema to greater heights.
Lenin’s film scores for several reasons. First, the film has been told in a manner that is as truthful as there could ever be. There are no compromises. No commercial song and dance sequences, no comical elements introduced to make the film commercially viable and no horrible villains. More importantly, its hero or heroine aren’t glorified. It was not about how masculinity was ‘toxic’ nor about how ’empowered’ women were the order of the day.
What it narrated was a simple, honest story of landless labourers languishing at the foothills of the western ghats. The difficult journeys they undertake from earth to sky literally to make ends meet everyday. The long and arduous work they perform, without so much as a whimper of protest. Their ability to find joy and satisfaction even with the less than limited provisions! Ah, one could go on and on about this film!
Merku Thodarchi Malai is probably the first film to highlight the difficulties of an entire community living on the foothills of the Tamil Nadu- Kerala border. To make this film, the hero, Antony, worked as a labourer, carrying cardamom sacks from the foothills to the mountain every single day for over a year. This was just to get him into the character. The heroine, Gayathri Krishna, was made to work in Cardamom plantations along with real workers. Most people did not know they were actors preparing themselves for roles in films.
COIN commends the commitment of both these actors who have done outstandingly well in the film. Fantastic is the word to commend their efforts. And the visuals of cameraman Theni Eswar just take this film to another level altogether. For all their efforts, COIN ranks Merku Thodarchi Malai as one of the finest films to have been made in Tamil cinema and the third best of 2018!
Number 2: 96
This one is a classic! Just its name warms the cockles of your heart and brings a smile to your face.
Cinematographer C Prem Kumar proved with this one that he was not only an ace cameraman but also a master story teller and a gifted director as well. Our sweetest songs are those that tell of our saddest memories and 96 proved this without doubt!
Using an incident in the lives of his school batchmates to form the core of this plot, Prem told a simple-yet-powerfully moving story of two people who had been separated by fate. The film made everybody nostalgic.
A considerable number of those who watched it relived memories of what happened to their first loves. Even those who had no such past couldn’t help feeling sorry for both the lead characters in the film, who were shown living in different countries, leading their respective lives. For making a clean entertainer that appealed to everybody in the audiences, Prem deserves a big round of applause.
96 changed a lot of things.For the first time, it showed romance as it actually happens in real life. For long, Tamil cinema had portrayed men as those who had no control over their carnal instincts. They were portrayed as stalkers, maniacs, psychos and jilted lovers. 96, for the first time, showed how men romance in reality and for that, this film deserves another round big round of applause.
Vijay Sethupathi as Ramachandran was dignity personified. He was solid as a rock, displaying the traits and behaviour of what you would call a perfect gentleman. Despite having a love that exceeded the depths of the oceans for Janu, Ram was ever under control in the film, making sure his love did not cause any discomfort to her. Ever careful not to hurt Janu in even the slightest of ways, he goes out of his way to make his sweet heart comfortable. All she has to do is just look at him and he knows what she wants.
Trisha was delightfully charming as Janaki. She gently teased her way into not just Ram’s heart but also the hearts of the audiences. Her sweet mischief made you grin while her sorrow made you sob. She came up with such a powerful performance, that one experienced the disappointment that she would have experienced.The film also had two other exceptional actors who were relatively unknown to the audiences. Gouri G Kishan as the young Trisha was astounding. The same was the case with Aaditya Baskar, who played the young Vijay Sethupathi. The film also brought back Janakaraj, one of Tamil cinema’s finest comedians back on screen.
For its outstanding music, its brilliant visuals, heart touching story and the splendid performances that helped bring the characters to life, 96 is chosen as the second best film of 2018!!!
Number 1: Pariyerum Perumal
Pariyerum Perumal is a film that leaves you shaken, stunned, moved and thinking. Do we need to still spell it out? It must be clear by now that we rate this as a masterpiece!
Every year, anywhere between 300 to 400 Tamil films manage to hit the screens. A vast majority of these are not even worth watching once. Some are good enough to be viewed once. Very few manage to earn your admiration and continue to stay on in your mind, long after you have watched them. But it is only one or two in a million that manage to overwhelm you so much, that they literally leave you shaken.
Pariyerum Perumal is that one-in-a-million film. A film that is so true to its soul that it is bound to strike a chord with anybody and everybody watching it.
This is Mari Selvaraj’s first film. If a director can narrate such a soul-touching story without any compromises whatsoever in his first film, one only wonders what he will be able to do in his future films, when he has experience too on his side.
Kathir as Pariyerum Perumal deserves a National Award for his performance in the film. Be it the sequence when his dog is brutally killed, or the sequence where he runs to defend the honour of his dad who is stripped and made to run nude, or the scene in which despite his immense pain, he continues to show a smiling face to Jo, whom he considers his friend, Kathir nails it. The youngster does such a fine job that you wish wholeheartedly that he gets the rich recognition that is so due to him.
Actress Anandhi comes up with an equally brilliant performance as Jo. Both actors do a phenomenal job in playing their parts. On the technical side, Santosh Narayanan’s music is just brilliant in the film as is R K Selva’s cinematography. Both technicians seem to have put their heart and soul into this film, just like every other member who has worked on this film has. In short, this film is the Best Tamil film of 2018.