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mouna guru


If there is one thing – actually there are two – that put Tamil films in the national map, they are: Kolaveri phenomenon and Rajini’s health scare. These two events unwittingly provided enough and more publicity for Tamil cinema. Add to it the national awards Tamil films scooped up this year, we can call it a near perfect 2011. But that is not enough excuse to cold-shoulder some really good attempts with characteristic neglect. What with the Indie scene still at its embryonic stages in Indian cinema, it’s not surprising to note that Tamil cinema is left far, really far behind.

Here are a few forgotten gems of 2011 that you are very likely to have missed because they could not stand against the test of our regular fare at the box office.

Mouna Guru

You can’t be blamed for missing a movie like Mouna Guru because it had very little going for it. Yes, we all liked Arulnithi in Vamsam but it’s mostly Pandiraj’s direction that made you sit up and take notice of the movie. With Mouna Guru, he seems to have figured out what is good for him. This thriller is about a social reject who gets sucked into the dangerous whirlpool of greed and corruption by cops. Although not without Kollywood’s usual plot adjustments, Mouna Guru is a real gem of a thriller.

Nil Gavani Sellathey

I can bet anything I hold dear that you have never heard of this movie. I won? Nil Gavani Sellathey is the remake of the famous Hollywood movie The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  Its original was the mother of thrillers and Nil Gavani Sellathey is a brilliantly gritty, desi version of the same. Set in a remote village Thellur, where a group of five friends are stranded, Nil Gavani Sellathey will spook you for sure.

Uchithanai Muharnthal

Uchithanai Muharnthal is a well-intentioned movie. It has a hard-hitting subject, and it delves into the perils of ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. What works against the movie is the overdose of drama and the lackadaisical approach the script is handled. So is it worth calling it a gem? May be not, but if the director had treated his subject with the sensibility it required, the movie would have even made it to a few awards.


Yes, it’s already five years late and Chathurangam sadly did not get its due owing to the time factor. But Karu Pazhaniappan Chathurangam is a completely engaging movie with a watertight script and earnest performances from Srikanth and Sonia Agarwal. It’s about an investigative journalist who goes on a mission to nail corrupt prison officials by committing a crime himself for the sheer purpose of getting into the jail. The story teller in Pazhaniappan takes the front seat and drives the movie to an interesting conclusion.


Vengayam fills the cavernous gap of the need of a movie that studies the social evils still existing in our society. This indie gem is about fake godmen and sham astrologers who milk innocent villagers, mostly uneducated and even some well educated ones, in the name of religion and suchlike. Debutant director Sankagiri Rajkumar’s cast Sathyaraj in the lead role, who is an atheist himself. Now that’s a nice touch.

Ra Ra

Well, calling it a gem is perhaps a bit much. But if a movie is genuinely funny, despite not having to try too hard, it deserves a place here. Innit though? What happens when a Tam-Brahm guy and a girl from the fishermen community fall in love? Nope, not the usual drama. Here the guy and the girl try and hide their real identities (actually, it’s the girl’s identity that is trying to be hidden) and what results is a horde of hilarious situations throughout the film. A thoroughly funny movie.

Other small time movies that were given their due, at least in the form of positive reviews if not commercial success, include Aaranya Kaandam, Thenmerku Paruvakattru, Azhagarsamiyin Kudirai, Engeyum Eppodum and Vaagai Sooda Va of which Engeyum Eppodum was also a commercial success.

Have a happy new year and another year of viewing good movies. Here’s to an awesome 2012!

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