The second half of 2016 was a difficult period for the South Indian film industries. What with the Cauvery issue, demonetisation, natural disasters, the death of Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa and problems between producers and film exhibitors, the year came to a sober end. But 2017 is here and there's reason for cinephiles to cheer.
Here are some of the most highly anticipated films this year.
Baahubali: The Conclusion
After all those jokes, hypotheses and theories on why Kattappa killed Bahubali, we will finally know the answer this year. Expected to release in April, part 2 of the mega budget superhit film Baahubali is the tsunami everyone's waiting for. SS Rajamouli's Baahubali films are epic fantasies made with plenty of eye-popping graphics and an intriguing plot filled with suspense. Starring Prabhas, Tamannaah, Anushka Shetty, Rana Dagubatti, Satyaraj and Ramya Krishnan, this is the perfect entertainer for the summer break.
A remake of the Tamil Vijay-starrer Kaththi, this action film will see Chiranjeevi in a dual role. The Telugu superstar will be making a comeback to the big screen after 10 years and what's more, this will also be his 150th film! Shriya Saran and Kajal Aggarwal will play the female leads.
Balakrishna's 100th film, this one is an epic historical action film that also stars Hema Malini and Shriya Saran. The film is supposed to be based on a real life historical king who ruled in the 2nd century AD.
This Telugu remake of Sudha Kongara's Irudhi Suttru about a female boxer and her difficult coach will feature Daggubatti Venkatesh and Ritika Singh. The film marks Venkatesh's 75 and is expected to release towards end January.
The remake of the Tamil Ajith-starrer Veeram, the Telugu film will feature Pawan Kalyan and Shruti Haasan. Veeram was an action film and though the dubbed version was released in Telugu, it has still been considered eligible for a remake.
Ramesh Aravind's 100th, directed by S Ravindranath, is the remake of a Korean film Miracle in Cell No.7. The Korean original is a comedy about a mentally challenged man who is wrongfully imprisoned for murder. Bollywood actor Juhi Chawla will be seen in a cameo.
Kichcha Sudeep's next will also mark the Kannada debut of Amala Paul. This Kannada action film directed by S Krishna has been shot in various places including Jammu and Kashmir, and Iceland. The film is expected to release later this month.
The Darshan starrer directed by Chinthan was supposed to release last year but was delayed. Said to be an action thriller, Deepa Sannidhi plays the heroine. The film is expected to release in February, which is also the birthday month of Darshan.
Directed by Santosh Ananddram, this romcom featuring Puneeth Rajkumar and Priya Anand in the lead roles is expected to hit screens early this year. The teaser of the film opened to positive reviews on social media and has generated interest among fans.
Shivarajkumar's action entertainer, directed by Suri, also stars Manvitha. Suri and Shivarajkumar are getting together once again after their 2013 film Kaddipudi, a crime thriller.
Shankar's sequel to Enthiran is expected to release in October this year. A science fiction thriller starring Rajinikanth, Akshay Kumar and Amy Jackson, the first look of the film which was released late last year has already generated a buzz among Rajini fans. With AR Rahman's music and the expectations set high by the first film, 2.0 looks every bit a cracker of a film.
A Kamal Haasan comedy is always something to look forward to and this one has him reprising the role of the hilarious Balram Naidu from Dasavatharam. The film will also star Ramya Krishnan and Shruti Haasan.
Will the lion roar this year at last? Suriya's S3 has been postponed multiple times and is now expected to release on January 26. The third film in director Hari's Singam series which is about a police officer, the film also stars Anushka Shetty and Shruti Haasan.
Vijay's next will release on January 12. Bairavaa, directed by Bharathan, is expected to have all the "mass" elements that Vijay is known for. The film also stars Keerthy Suresh who is currently enjoying a good run in Kollywood.
Thala fans are waiting eagerly for Ajith's next which will also feature Kajal Aggarwal and Akshara Haasan. Directed by Siva, the film is expected to release in April.
After Thani Oruvan, Jayam Ravi and Arvind Swami will be seen on screen together again in this action comedy directed by Lakshman. Expected to release early this year, the film also has Hansika and Akshara Gowda as part of the cast.
Tamil cinema also has an interesting line-up of women-centric films, starring actors like Jyothika, Nayanthara, and Trisha.
This Dulquer Salmaan starrer was supposed to release for Christmas but did not due to the ongoing crisis between theatre owners and producers in Kerala. Directed by Sathyan Anthikkad, the film is supposed to be a family drama. Anupama Parameswaran plays the female lead.
Njandukalude Naatil Oridavela
Directed by Athlaf Salim, this comedy drama is said to be on the relationship between youngsters and their parents. With the versatile Nivin Pauly playing the male lead, expectations from fans are sky high. Ahana Krishna and Aishwarya Lekshmi are the two female leads.
The poster for this film created quite a sensation on social media. Once again starring Nivin Pauly, the film also has Aishwarya Rajesh of Kaaka Muttai fame as part of the cast. The film, directed by Sidhartha Siva, is supposedly a political thriller.
Prithviraj's horror thriller was supposed to release in December but was delayed. Directed by Jay K, the trailer of the film has excited fans of the actor. Prithviraj's last film, Oozham, was disappointing and the actor must be looking forward to up his game once again.
Mohanlal's family drama directed by Jibu Jacob will probably release early this year once the indefinite strike in Kerala gets resolved. The film is based on a short story and also stars Meena who acted with Mohanlal in the highly acclaimed Drishyam.
1971: Beyond Borders
This ambitious trilingual which will release in Malayalam, Telugu and Hindi, will have Mohanlal playing an army man once again. The war drama will see Mohanlal in a dual role and Allu Sirish, Nikki Galrani and Arunoday Singh are also part of the cast.