The going has not been great so far for the Tamil film industry, especially with big-budget, star-studded films falling like nine pins at the box office. But offbeat films with out-of-the-box content such as "Soodhu Kavvum" made by aspiring, mostly first-time filmmakers, kept the footfalls going in theatres.
Out of the almost 100 Tamil films, including dubbed ones, IANS lists five that stood out and kept audiences entertained:
"Soodhu Kavvum": Made by debutant Nalan Kumarasamy, the low-budget dark comedy is undoubtedly the best caper film in the history of Tamil cinema. Crudely funny and creative are words that one can associate with this film, which revolves around four aimless, unemployed individuals who end up in a botched up kidnapping plot. It's one of those films that's not made keeping in mind any particular section of the audiences.
"Neram": A race-against-time type of film, "Neram" scores brownie points for bringing forth a simple story about the role of time in our lives in the most engaging fashion. What differentiates this film from others is its brilliant non-linear screenplay backed by the flawless performances of debutants Nivin Pauly and Nazriya Nizam. The use of subtle comedy never allows the audience to slip into boredom, and instead gives them occasional laughs.
"Haridas": Like "Taare Zameen Par", "Haridas" deals with autism. Kishore as a police shootout specialist turns in a highly emotional performance while trying to unleash the runner in his autistic son. Without making it preachy, director Kumaravelan makes this film easily one of the best in recent times in this genre.
"Vathikuchi": It may not have been a commercial blockbuster, but this story of a common man against the social evils in society stands out because of its swift screenplay. Featuring debutant Dhileban in a tailormade role, "Vathikuchi" presents a cliched story in the most entertaining way possible bereft of criticism.
"Udhayam NH4": One of the first road films in Tamil, "Udhayam NH4" deserves your time and money for two reasons - deft presentation and Kay Kay Menon. A fleeing couple is chased by a shootout specialist, played by Menon, who in the process learns about love in the most unexpected manner. Here is another example of how a simple story can be handled intelligently. Menon in his Tamil debut is simply outstanding.
(Haricharan Pudipeddi can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)