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The Definitive List of  Must Watch Tamil Movies

Must Watch Tamil Movies from our editors:

Tamil cinema’s journey began nearly a century ago, and it has since grown into a powerhouse of creativity and innovation. From the silent era to the digital age, Tamil movies have evolved significantly, reflecting the cultural, social, and political landscape of Tamil Nadu and beyond. This list represents a curated selection that celebrates the best of Tamil cinema across different genres and eras for anyone who wants to quickly enjoy some Tamil movies

 

Golden Era Classics

Nayakan

Released in 1987, “Nayagan” is often hailed as one of the greatest Indian films of all time. Directed by the master filmmaker Mani Ratnam and featuring a tour de force performance by Kamal Haasan, the movie offers a poignant portrayal of the life of a Mumbai underworld don inspired by the real-life gangster Varadarajan Mudaliar. What sets “Nayakan” apart is its nuanced storytelling, gritty realism, and exploration of complex moral dilemmas.

Thalapathi

“Thalapathi,” released in 1991, is a cinematic masterpiece that explores the intricacies of friendship, loyalty, and duty against the backdrop of gang rivalry. Directed by Mani Ratnam and featuring powerhouse performances by Rajinikanth and Mammootty, the film transcends its genre conventions to deliver a poignant and emotionally resonant narrative.

 

Roja

Released in 1992, “Roja” marked a significant milestone in Tamil cinema for its bold exploration of terrorism and patriotism. Directed by Mani Ratnam and featuring a mesmerizing soundtrack by A.R. Rahman, the film follows the journey of a woman whose husband is abducted by terrorists. Through its gripping narrative and evocative visuals, “Roja” highlights the human cost of political conflict and remains relevant to this day.

 

Contemporary Blockbusters

Visaranai

“Visaranai,” released in 2015, is a searing indictment of police brutality and systemic corruption. Based on the autobiographical novel “Lock Up” by M. Chandrakumar, the film exposes the brutal realities faced by ordinary citizens at the hands of law enforcement. Directed by Vetrimaaran, “Visaranai” is a raw and unflinching portrayal of injustice and survival, leaving a lasting impact on viewers.

Kaithi

“Kaithi,” released in 2019, is a pulse-pounding action thriller that unfolds over the course of a single night. Directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj and starring Karthi in the lead role, the film follows an escaped convict who finds himself embroiled in a deadly game of cat and mouse with drug traffickers and corrupt cops. What sets “Kaithi” apart is its relentless pace, gritty realism, and edge-of-your-seat tension, making it a modern classic in Tamil cinema.

96

“96,” released in 2018, is a poignant love story that resonated deeply with audiences. Directed by C. Prem Kumar and featuring powerhouse performances by Vijay Sethupathi and Trisha Krishnan, the film follows the reunion of two former high school sweethearts who meet at a school reunion after 22 years. Through its heartfelt storytelling and evocative music, “96” captures the bittersweet nostalgia of lost love and missed opportunities, striking a chord with viewers of all ages.

Comedic Delights

Mozhi

“Mozhi,” released in 2007, is a heartwarming comedy-drama that celebrates the power of friendship and communication. Directed by Radha Mohan and starring Prithviraj and Jyothika in the lead roles, the film revolves around the unlikely bond between a speech-impaired woman and a musician. With its endearing characters, witty dialogue, and feel-good vibes, “Mozhi” remains a perennial favorite among Tamil movie enthusiasts.

Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom

“Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom,” released in 2012, is a riotous comedy that explores the absurdities of life and memory loss. Directed by Balaji Tharaneetharan and featuring a breakout performance by Vijay Sethupathi, the film follows the misadventures of a groom-to-be who suffers temporary memory loss days before his wedding. What makes “Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom” stand out is its zany humor, irreverent wit, and memorable characters, earning it a cult following among comedy aficionados.

Tamizh Padam

“Tamizh Padam,” released in 2010, is a game-changing parody film that subverts the tropes and clichés of Tamil cinema with razor-sharp satire. Directed by C.S. Amudhan and starring Shiva in the lead role, the film takes aim at everything from over-the-top action sequences to melodramatic dialogues, delivering a laugh-out-loud spoof that keeps audiences in stitches from start to finish. With its clever writing, spot-on references, and irreverent humor, “Tamizh Padam” set a new benchmark for comedy in Tamil cinema.

Epic Sagas

Baahubali 2

“Baahubali 2: The Conclusion,” released in 2017, is a cinematic spectacle of epic proportions. Directed by S.S. Rajamouli and featuring a star-studded cast including Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, and Anushka Shetty, the film continues the saga of warring kingdoms and epic battles that captivated audiences in the first installment. What sets “Baahubali 2” apart is its jaw-dropping visual effects, larger-than-life action sequences, and mythic storytelling, cementing its status as a modern classic in Indian cinema.

Kaththi

“Kaththi,” released in 2014, is a socially relevant drama that tackles issues of corporate greed, farmer’s rights, and environmental exploitation. Directed by A.R. Murugadoss and starring Vijay in a dual role, the film follows the journey of a small-time thief who becomes embroiled in a grassroots movement to reclaim farmland from a powerful multinational corporation. Through its powerful performances, rousing soundtrack, and hard-hitting message, “Kaththi” sparked important conversations about social justice and inequality.

Aayirathil Oruvan

“Aayirathil Oruvan,” released in 2010, is a visually stunning epic that blurs the lines between history and fantasy. Directed by Selvaraghavan and starring Karthi, Reemma Sen, and Andrea Jeremiah, the film follows a group of archaeologists on a quest to uncover the truth behind a lost civilization in the remote jungles of South India. With its breathtaking visuals, immersive world-building, and enigmatic storytelling, “Aayirathil Oruvan” transports audiences to a bygone era of adventure and intrigue, earning it a cult following among fans of epic cinema.