2018 saw streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, etc up their ante with respect to Indian films. A good number of new releases made it to their dashboard, making films accessible to more and more people from across the country with the click of a button.
This makes one wonder how different the fate of critically acclaimed films like Aaranya Kaandam (2011) and Madubana Kadai (2012) would have been if such streaming options had been available at the time of their release. At any rate, several Tamil films from 2018 - big and small - are now available for you to watch from the comfort of your homes.
Merkku Thodarchi Malai (Netflix)
This is the latest Tamil film to make it to Netflix. Directed by Lenin Bharathi and produced by Vijay Sethupathi Productions, the film took a while to hit the screens in Tamil Nadu. In addition to having gained a good reputation in the film festival circle, Merkku Thodarchi Malai went on to receive praise from the audience and critics as well.
This film that released on 24 August was filmed entirely with new faces, a lot like Italian neorealism cinema. Set in the Western Ghats bordering Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the film talks about the lives of plantation workers and their dreams. Merkku Thodarchi Malai will make for an interesting watch no matter when youâre watching it.
Vanjagar Ulagam (Netflix)
This crime thriller directed by Manoj Beedha released on September 7 after much delay. Starring Guru Somasundaram, Anisha Ambrose and Hareesh Peradi in pivotal roles, the film follows a crime scene with the tried and tested cops and journalist angle. The film was appreciated for its actorsâ performances but falls a bit flat when it comes to keeping up its thrills. If youâre into investigative crime thrillers, Vanjagar Ulagam might be a great choice to unwind after a dayâs work.
Sila Samayangalil (Netflix)
This engaging drama starring Sriya Reddy, Ashok Selvan, Prakash Raj, MS Bhaskar, Shanmugarajan, Varun, and Anjali Rao was made to create awareness about HIV/AIDS. Directed by Priyadarshan, the film creates anticipation for most parts during its brief runtime. The film released on Netflix on May 1 and has no songs or comedy track, unlike mainstream cinema.
Other films on Netflix
- Goli Soda 2
- Mr Chandramouli
- Odu Raja Odu
Pariyerum Perumal (Amazon Prime)
Needless to say, this Tamil drama by director Mari Selvaraj starring Kathir and Anandhi in the lead, is an engaging, hard-hitting take on the oppressive caste system. Produced by Pa Ranjithâs Neelam Productions, Pariyerum received wide acclaim from audiences and critics alike, collecting several awards on its way.
Set in Tirunelveli, the story follows an aspiring law student from the Dalit community who struggles against the ever-present systemic oppression. If you havenât already watched Pariyerum Perumal on the big screens, now might be a good time.
Kaatrin Mozhi (Amazon Prime)
This Tamil remake of Vidya Balanâs hit Hindi film Tumhari Sulu follows a homemaker who harbours aspirational dreams. Viji (played by Jyotika) turns into an overnight sensation when she becomes the radio jockey of a late night show. Kaatrin Mozhi, directed by Radha Mohan, is a breezy watch with a good dose of masala thrown in. If youâd like to skip TV programmes on a Sunday morning, Kaatrin Mozhi on Amazon Prime might be a good choice.
Kadai Kutty Singam (Amazon Prime)
Another family drama, Kadai Kutty Singam starring Karthi in the lead was dedicated as an ode to farmers by the filmâs director Pandiraj. Fair warning, the film comes with a good dose of sentiment and punchlines but is an entertaining watch nonetheless. The film also has a huge star cast and if you are one to get nostalgic about Lingusamy (Anandam) and Cheran (Pandavar Bhoomi) films from the nineties, Kadai Kutty Singam is for you.
U Turn (Amazon Prime)
This crime thriller was remade in Tamil and Telugu from a Kannada film of the same name. Starring Samantha in the lead, the film was much appreciated for its gritty first half. Director Pawan Kumar, who directed the original as well, retained most parts from the first film, only tweaking the climax a wee bit.
The story follows Rachana (played brilliantly by Samantha), a journalist who gets embroiled in a series of unfortunate events. While the paranormal element is a letdown, U Turn is an engaging thriller nonetheless.
Kaala (Amazon Prime)
Pa Ranjithâs second film with Rajinikanth was one of the most expected films of 2018 and the film made it to Amazonâs streaming platform soon after its release. In telling us the story of Kaala, a don in Mumbaiâs Dharavi, the film spoke about land ownership and caste, while taking on Hindutva politics by the horn. Kaala may not have had all the elements of a âRajinikanthâ film, but it gave us strong women characters like Selvi (Easwari Rao), Puyal (Anjali Patil) and Zareena (Huma Qureshi), and moved away from the standard mass hero entry song format. The film presented a layered understanding of caste politics.
Nadigaiyar Thilagam (Amazon Prime)
This Tamil-Telugu bilingual was made as a tribute to yesteryear legendary actor Savitri. With Keerthy Suresh in the lead, this biopic also starred Dulquer Salman, Samantha and Vijay Deverakonda in important roles. For a Tamil viewer, the film might come off strongly as a Telugu centred portrayal, but Nadigaiyar Thilagam has to be appreciated for its sheer brilliance in recreating sets from the past. If you do not mind its long run-time (almost 3 hours), Nadigaiyar Thilagam will surely evoke fondness for the actor at the end of it.
Tamizh Padam 2 (Amazon Prime)
CS Amudhanâs much-awaited parody film came in July this year and this time, the filmâs theme was the âpolice storyâ. If youâre bored during the weekend, you should just invite some friends over and plan a game around Tamizh Padam 2 - âspot the referenceâ. With plenty of goofs, the film can be thoroughly enjoyed only if youâve got a good appetite for devouring malasa Tamil films.
Other films on Amazon Prime
- Imaikaa Nodigal
- Thaana Serndha Koottam
- Oru Nalla Naal Parthu Solren
Vada Chennai (Hotstar)
This gangster drama made by Vetrimaaran was both appreciated and panned by critics and fans alike for its portrayal of life in the area. Set in Chennaiâs northern neighbourhoods, Vada Chennaiâs narrative bounces back and forth in time, telling us the story of how Anbu, a carefree youth, is drawn into the murky underworld quite unwillingly.
Vada Chennai forms the first part of a trilogy planned by Dhanush and Vetrimaaran and the fact that this film is available on a streaming platform makes it convenient for fans to brush up their memory before the next film comes out. The filmâs soundtrack is one of its major plus points in addition to its brilliant recreation of different time periods.
Chekka Chivantha Vaanam (Hotstar)
This gangster flick from Mani Ratnam came as a relief for his fans, following recent debacles such as Kadal and Kaatru Veliyidai. The story, which was based on a family feud for power, had plenty of action sequences and came with a multi-star casting. While it was disappointing to see underwhelming women characters (in a Mani Ratnam film!) and to listen to an unexceptional soundtrack (AR Rahman no less!), Chekka Chivantha Vaanam did create a splash before its release, mainly for its big names.
Other films on Hotstar
- Annanukku Jay
- Vishwaroopam 2
- Saamy Square
Pyaar Prema Kaadhal (Zee5)
This rom-com musical produced by Yuvan Shankar Raja is a breezy love story starring Bigg Boss contestants from last season - Harish Kalyan and Raiza Wilson. The film gave us an interesting take on live-in relationships before collapsing into cliches. Pyaar Prema Kaadhal will be an exciting watch for Yuvan Shankar Raja fans.
Kolamaavu Kokila (Zee 5)
Nayantharaâs second film for 2018 saw her portray the innocent looking young woman who plays up her looks to make her way out of tricky situations. The film by Nelson Dilipkumar was carried almost entirely by Nayanthara who had excellent support from her co-stars Saranya Ponvannan, Yogi Babu and Jacqueline Fernandez. The body shamming jokes with Yogi Babu and the family melodrama might bog down the film a tad bit, but Kolamaavu Kokila will make for a refreshing film nonetheless.
Irumbu Thirai (Zee5)
This thriller on data breach has some very exciting and thrilling sequences centred around an unknown hacker and his victims. The film, with Vishal and Samantha in the lead, has a new story to offer within the mainstream format. PS Mithranâs Irumbu Thirai came as a very relevant film in the times of Aadhar, and it took on the central governmentâs slipshod handling of data privacy quite skillfully.
Sigai (Upcoming on Zee5)
This upcoming film with Kathir in the lead has been directed by Jagadeesan Subu. The film reportedly is set in Anna Nagar and depicts events that happen in one day. The filmâs poster shows a feminine looking Kathir with short yet shiny and well-styled tresses. The film will premier on January 9 2019 on Zee5.
Other films on Zee5
- Bhaskar Oru Rascal
- Mannar Vagaiyara