Tamil cinema has played it safe more often than not. There have not been as many experiments as we would have liked over the years. One genre that has been very sparsely used in Kollywood is that of investigative thrillers. Though we have had a fair share of thrillers over the years, they have not had much of an investigative element. Perhaps the most intelligent moment we see in all such movies is that of a cop visiting a crime scene and spotting a suspicious looking thing, a button, cigarette stub or a piece of jewellery.

Investigative films can be basically classified into 2 types. The first being the more commonly used type where the perpetrator of the crime is introduced to the audience much before the investigator finds out the truth. The other type, the very rarely used, is the one where suspense is maintained right till the end. The second type has been used at such a low frequency that it can be called an exception. The history of investigative thrillers in Kollywood can be traced back to the days of MGR and Sivaji Ganesan. MGR did Dharmam Thalai Kakkum and Sivaji did Gnanaoli. But the actor who was the first to take investigations to high emphasis was Jaishankar. Yet, investigative thrillers are yet to become a major genre in Kollywood. The English and even the neighboring Malayalam industry have a rich tradition of investigative films. We would love to see some very intelligently made investigative thrillers from Kollywood in the near future. For the time being, let us take a look at some of the best of this genre that have been produced over the years.

Kamal - Vettaiyadu Vilayadu
Kamal - Vettaiyadu Vilayadu
One of the best investigative thrillers to be made in recent times, VV brought back, after many long years, the brains and intuition of an experienced detective in all its brilliance. The best part of the movie is its first half where Raghavan tracks down the body in Keeranur and flies to New York to resume his hunt there. The suspense is spoilt a bit when the killers are introduced to the audience close to the interval. The second half is mostly a two way chase. But, the correlation of the murderer’s modus operandi, dates and post mortem data are excellent in the first half.
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