Come Tamil New Year’s Day, and we’re looking forward to the movies as much as the traditional feast. For most, all the buzz and hype make it a point of conversation at loud family get-togethers. And some, actually get to watch the films.
Singaravelan (Released 13 April, 1992)
A full-on entertainer, it comes with a generous helping of comedy, romance and action. Kamal’s Velan and his mates played by Goundamani, Charle, Vadivelu and Mano, are a hilarious lot. They blunder their way through a mission to find a long-lost cousin of Velan’s. Then comes the romance between Velan and Khushboo’s Sumathi that is flirty and fun, till it dissolves into family melodrama that is so typical of the 90s.
In fact, the story of a village bumpkin with a set of sexist and patriarchal views in search of his 'murai ponnu' in the city, may not have takers today.
But what makes this film memorable and watchable when it does make an appearance on TV, are its songs composed by Illaiyaraja. Add to this, the camaraderie between Velan’s crew that make for some superhit comedy scenes.
Kalaignan (Released 14 April, 1993
Also starring Kamal Haasan, this film was an odd one - a thriller! Used to seeing his romantic hero/saviour avatars on screen, this was a break from that. He plays a murder suspect! While it didn’t turn out to be a bumper hit at the box office, it certainly stood out. Making the proceedings that bit more interesting is Illaiyaraja with his melodies.
Veera (Released 14 April, 1994)
Why do we remember this film? One, it’s a Superstar flick. Two, the hit Ilaiyaraja songs. They are eminently hummable and were a trendsetter in its time. Three, we remember this film as one we wouldn’t want to sit through now. Sure, it was funny when Rajini went bumbling about trying to hide one wife from another. And sure, the film was a hit. But that’s the thing about retrospect - the performances and the story of two women willing to share a husband, lacks nuance and appears too simplistic.
Alaipayuthey (Released 14 April, 2000)
This, we’d gladly watch again and again. Especially in an effort to forget Mani Ratnam’s latest, Kaatru Veliyidai. The romance, the dialogues, the cinematography, all of it is real, relatable and endearing. And we’re eternally grateful to Mani Ratnam for presenting Maddy to us in that gush-worthy opening sequence. And to AR Rahman, for those fantastic tunes that are still a staple on our playlists.
Dumm Dumm Dumm (Released 14 April, 2001)
One year later, we were glad to catch this fun flick starring Madhavan and Jyothika. It came with some pretty interesting music from Karthik Raja.
But what we saw as an easy-breezy romance back then, is frustrating today. One just wants to shake the characters and get them to uncomplicate things by simply talking.
Gemini (Released 12 April, 2002)
So wrong. But so good! You can pick as many holes as you want in this Vikram-starrer, but it’s one of those films that’s gone on to be a classic ‘masala’ formula film - the one about the reformed gangster. And who can forget ‘O Podu!’
Chandramukhi (Released 14 April, 2005)
A cult hit and a perpetual meme-generator, this Rajinikanth-Nayanthara psychological thriller continues to be loved and spoofed. A sure-shot film that will reunite the family on the couch!
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