It's a season of debutante filmmakers with bold ideas with unprecedented styles of presentation. Even in the absence of mentors, some have gone on to shine brilliantly when given the chance. That is how this year has been for Kollywood with some of the small budget films featuring lesser-known names from the industry. Their movies garnered critical acclaim besides filling up the producers' bank accounts beyond their contention.
Aval- Milind Rau
At a time when Tamil cinema is flooded with the clichéd stuff in the name of horror comedies, here comes two former associates of ace Mani Ratnam, director Milind Rau and actor/co-writer Siddharth who have teamed up and offered a brilliantly made real horror flick Aval. One of the best horror flicks in the recent times. Siddharth, Andrea Jeremiah, Atul Kulkarni and Anisha Victor.
8 Thottakkal- Sri Ganesh
Competent debutantes have a certain degree of rawness that the seasoned technician often lacks, and Sri Ganesh's writing was filled with genuine amounts of emotions in 8 Thottakkal. The entire team all in their 20s was part of this project. It was a new plot to Tamil cinema and it is told in a neat way. Newcomers Vettri, Aparna Balamurali and veteran M.S. Bhaskar was in the lead.
Aramm - Gopi Nainar
When we thought gone are the days when there were real women-centric films which had strong women protagonists with late K. Balachander making such movies, here comes Aramm, which is helmed by debutant Gopi Nainar with top star Nayanthara in the central role of Madhivadhani, a no-nonsense district collector as a breath of fresh air. Nayan proved once again that she was an actress of substance. Aramm was a hard-hitting film, which dealt with the contemporary relevant issue presented in a realistic manner. Music director Ghibran's score and Om Prakash's camera were big pluses.
Aruvi- Arun Prabhu Purushottam
The year concluded with an exceptionally conceived movie Aruvi. Helmed by debutante Arun Prabhu Purushothaman and a super confident newcomer Aditi Balan essaying the titular character, Aruvi is an exemplary work from the former. Aditi owns the film with her winsome performance. The film had garnered critical acclaim and a few awards at the international film fest circuits. Arun's new-age style of making was a huge draw
Kurangu Bommai- Nithilan
At a time when big stars' films disappointed the audiences to the core, came a small film Kurangu Bommai helmed by debut director Nithilan as a breath of fresh air released in the last quarter of 2017. With a solid story and a very intriguing screenplay, Nithilan's perfect non-linear hyperlink narration of Kurangu Bommai has emerged as one of the best films of the year. Vidharth who has been consciously choosing good scripts played the lead role. Ace filmmaker Bharathiraja exceptional performance, Kumaravel's new baddie avatar was a huge hit.
Maanagaram - Lokesh Kanagaraj
Debutante and self-taught Lokesh Kanagaraj's Maanagaram, which is a realistic take on life in a metropolitan, released in early 2017 is one fine example. With a solid story, deft handling and a seamless screenplay (despite a complex script), extracting the best of performances from the entire cast, picture-perfect frames (Selvakumar), engrossing music (Javed Riaz) and crisp editing (Philomin Raj), Lokesh Kanakaraj weaved a captivating thriller. A Hyperlink pattern IT featured Sundeep Kishan, Sree, Regina Cassandra.
MEYADHA MAAN - RATHNA KUMAR
Meyaadha Maan is a simplistic film that doesn't push many boundaries. What works for it though is that debutante director Rathna Kumar has injected the script with astute dialogues that cut through the fabric of reality and believable sequences that one could relate to. He has also extracted the best from all artists. It was his short film Madhu, which was made into a feature film. While Vaibhav Reddy played the male lead, telly sensation Priya Bhavani Shankar made her foray into tinsel town.
ORU KIDAYIN KARUNAI MANU - SURESH SANGAIAH
After getting critical acclaim at various international film festivals including the New York Fest, debutante Suresh Sangaiah's comedy-drama Oru Kidayin Karunai Manu inspired by his real-life experiences in his native Rajapalayam, simply floored us with his modest yet quirky theme recounted with great confidence. Vidarth, Raveena, George, Hello Kandasamy and Krishnamoorthi played the main roles
The year belonged to Vijay Sethupathi
Among biggies Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan and Vikram did not have any releases in 2017. Ajith had a single release Vivegam, which was an average grosser. Vijay did have two releases Bairavaa in the early part of the year for Pongal and Mersal for Diwali. Mersal got huge publicity when it got embroiled in controversy with BJP's demand to remove certain dialogues referring GST and Digital India and later TN government doctors' association objecting the negative portrayal of medical profession.
Suriya had Singam 3, a franchisee to his earlier hits with the same name which was a typical formulaic film. Dhanush's VIP 2, had mixed response, but the national award winner made his directorial debut Pa Paandi, which received critical acclaim and was a hit. Apparently, Simbu’s only release Anbaanavan, Asaraadhavn Adangaadhavan was a total fiasco. Sivakarthikeyan had a single release Velaikkaran towards the end of the year and though the actor's earnest efforts were appreciated, overall the movie could be enjoyed only in parts.
Arun Vijay’s Kuttram 23 in Arivazhagan’s direction, Kadugu by Vijay Milton, Taramani by Raam , Karthi's Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru by Vinodh, Sibiraj's Sathya by Pradheep, were some of the films which had new plots and were well received & 2016 belonged to Vijay Sethupathi and so does 2017. Sethupathi had a dream run in 2016 with an array of movies and now in 2017, with his choice of unusual scripts, filmmakers and going out his comfort zone with movies like Kavan, Puriyatha Puthir, Karuppan and consolidating his position with Vikram Vedha and again 2018 seems be Sethupathi's year with Super Deluxe, 96, Oru Nalla Naal Patthu Solren,Imaikka Nodigal, Seethakadhi, Junga, Idam Poru Eval in his kitty.
AR Rahman’s new genre
Oscar Winner AR Rahman came out with a film One Heart, a concert movie, perhaps first of its kind in this genre is based on his ‘The Intimate Concert Tour’ performed by him with his band across 14 cities in the US.