Tamil Movies of the Year - 2007

In my first look back at the year 2007, I take a look at my personal top 5 of movies that I liked throughout the course of the year. Please note that this list is not based on box office collections or on how different they were from the set formula for Tamil movies, it is just based on how much I liked all of these movies. So without further ado, my list is as follows:

5 - Kattradhu Thamizh - I honestly have very few words to describe this movie. It could be considered a deep love story beginning at the ripe age with fantasy and ending with tragedy, it could also be considered as an anti-social film about how our first language gets little to no respect at all in this day and age. Whatever it was based on, it did have a deep impact on me with Jeeva’s and Anjali’s wonderful performances at the centre of it all. Surely one to catch up on if you haven’t yet seen it.

4 - Oram Po - Coming from the same school of film-making like Vishnuvardhan, something different from the usual was to be expected from Pushkar and Gayathri and they delivered with the highly, to put it in the Chennai-slang, “local” film. John Vijay could probably be one of the finds of the year with his natural village-slang and timing for comedy, everything he did brought the house down. Most aspects of the street-racing shown did remind one of the Fast and the Furious series but still giving it a highly Chennai look and taking an inside look at the auto driver’s life deserve a thumbs up.

3 - Chennai 600028 - Very rarely do sports movies become a hit in Kollywood probably because of the deviation that is required from the generic Tamil movie. With Chennai 600028, Venkat Prabhu proved that a sports-based movie can be made within the framework of commercial cinema combined with all the glitz and gloss to appeal to the urban audience also. Probably the best aspect of the movie was how natural the whole movie felt; from the comedy of Premji Amaran to the usual fights arising when gangs (or people) from two different areas collide were picturized with such energy and rawness, almost every aspect felt life-like in this highly commercial film. With wonderful numbers like Jalsa..., Un Paarvai..., Veedu Veedu... and a highly energetic soundtrack from Premji Amaran, I can only hope that Venkat Prabhu continues in the same trend with his next movie, Saroja.

2 - Billa - Remaking any old classic is a difficult task in itself but taking a movie that made Rajinikanth a superstar and, in total, has already been made three different times and make it look as if it is an entirely new movie is a colossal task and that is what Vishnuvardhan achieved with Billa. In a nutshell, Billa has already set a benchmark on which future Tamil films that want to be slick and stylish will be judged. Ajith’s natural smart looks and urban demeanour were utilized to the maximum potential and that, combined with a pulsating soundtrack by Yuvan Shankar Raja, near-perfect western style cinematography by Nirav Shah and wrapped up in a two and a half hour jaw-dropping package by Vishnuvardhan made Billa one of the best movies of 2007.

1 - Mozhi - If there was one spot in my top 5 (or top 10 for that matter) that was never in doubt since the moment I decided to make a list, it was the top spot and that goes to Mozhi. This movie, to me, proved that a director doesn’t need to go all sad and teary-eyed on viewers to make a realistic movie. And make no doubt about it Mozhi was as realistic a movie as any released last year without having the dreary aspect mentioned above that is assocaited with most "realistic" Tamil movies. With fantastic performances from the entire lead cast especially Jothika and Prakash Raj backed up by melodious music by Vidyasagar and top-notch screen play and direction by Radha Mohan, Mozhi is undoubtedly the best movie of 2007.

Sivaji - The only reason I did not make a top 10 was I could not find a place to insert this movie in it. So, I ended up doing a top 5 and giving Sivaji a special place of sorts. Honestly, had this movie been made with anyone but Rajinikanth as the hero, it probably would have been a complete dud at the BO. Shankar’s usual trademark touches make their appearances here too – the lavish sets for songs and their beautiful picturizations, an overall message that forms the crux of the story etc. – but it is Rajini who really stood up and made this movie the blockbuster it was. Looking half his age, Rajini along with Vivek looked at home in the comedy sequences and looked amazingly smart in the song sequences and looked every bit of the Sivaji we had imagined him to be when fighting the baddies against Suman. Shriya got her big break with this movie that has led her to being paired opposite Vijay, Vikram and, recently rumored, also with Ajith. Shankar wrapped it in a neat package that, although not at all meeting any of my expectations, did turn out to be quite a good entertainer.

So that’s it people, movies like Pokkiri, Paruthi Veeran, Evano Oruvan, Kireedom, Kallori etc. were also some which I really enjoyed watching a lot and would’ve made it to a top 10 had I made one but since this is the first time I am doing this sort of a list, I stuck with the easier top 5. And since I did not watch most of the diwali releases especially Polladhavan, I thought it was safer to do a top 5. Hope you had a good time reading it.

Couple of impressive TV series

First off, the truth; I have never actually sat down in front of the TV and watched a series that "I" actually liked. My favorite TV show so far is the Friends and I became a fan of that because my sister was a big fan of that. Other than that I have occasionally sat down and watched Jag, X-Files, Everybody Loves Raymond and again all of those have been series that my sister had been watching for quite some time. But very recently I sat down and decided to give a few shows a try of my own and from then on have been very impressed by two of them.

The first one and the one that has me riveted each time is House. The series is into its 3rd season here (4th in the US) and I started watching it only from about the end of the second season. To be honest, I have never watched a medical drama before. The closest I ever came was something known as Medical Investigations or somesuch in the Discovery Channel. The episode that actually got me terrifically interested was House vs God. I imagined it as being dark and serious but it turned out to be a mixture of everything including comedy which I did not expect to find. Hugh Laurie was not uncommon to me, I had heard about him and seen him in Stuart Little but here he has just lapped it up so much that I cannot imagine anyone else as House especially his comedy timing, dialogue delivery and body language are spot on. The supporting cast does its job pretty well and this is one show I hope goes till the 10th season like Friends. I am actually going to buy the 1st and 2nd season DVDs sometime in the near future since I have not watched them yet.

And the second one is Numbers. I am a math geek, I love math and if it hadn’t been for my even greater interest in Computer Science, my future would have definitely been related to math. The first time I saw an ad for Numbers on TV, I told myself “I have got to check this out!” but as always I never did. I actually only started watching the show when I was casually flicking channels and getting bored with nothing else to watch. It was about the 19th episode of season 1 and had something to do with using math to calculate human efficiency and I digged it. From then on I have watched the show regularly and it actually just completed its 3rd season here. Though I did miss much of the first season and a good number of episodes in the third, the actual math used to solve each case is highly intriguing. Of course, the show does have low quality production values evident from the highly graphical explosions but still the main cast is wonderful and does a great job especially Rob Morrow as Don Eppes, David Krumholtz as his brother Charlie and Judd Hirsch as their father, Alan. Again this is one show I hope does go a long way because the way math is used in each episode is pretty brilliant.

Apart from these I actually did start watching Top Chef but that is only because of the awesome dishes that are put on display in that show. So, really the only two series that I have actually become interested for myself are House and Numbers. Any of you interested in these or found a few shows that have captured your mind, post ‘em here.