Though a good number of direct-to-OTT releases in Tamil failed to reach the expectations, a couple of them exceeded the expectations
Stills from Master, Karnan and Sarpatta Parambarai
2021 hasn't been a great year for Tamil cinema, though there were a few impressive films which entertained movie buffs thoroughly. This was the year in which many Kollywood filmmakers resorted to releasing their films directly on OTT platforms as it has become the new normal across the country. With theatres shut down for almost five months in Tamil Nadu, some of the directors and producers had to release their long-pending movies on digital platforms half-heartedly.
Unlike a few other film industries, a good number of the direct-to-OTT releases in Tamil failed to reach the expectations. However, there were a couple of straight releases which made other industries look up to Kollywood. We have curated the top 10 Tamil films of the year which are available to stream on online platforms as well.
Master (Amazon Prime Video)
The Vijay-starrer which released earlier this year was the first blockbuster in Tamil in 2021. The Lokesh Kanagaraj-directorial, which dropped on Amazon Prime Video a couple of weeks after its theatrical release, revolves around an alcoholic teacher who takes on a dreaded goon after the latter brutally kills two boys. The conflict between the characters essayed by Vijay and Vijay Sethupathi is one of the highlights of the movie.
Directed by Halitha Shameem, the film's story revolves around a few intriguing incidents which unfold after a son returning to his village post his father's death. The makers of the film reconsidered their decision to release it in theatres and had a direct television premiere. It started streaming on Netflix a week later. Aelay, which stars Manikandan and Samuthirakani, was appreciated for its feel-good moments and interestingly woven characters.
The social satire, which took potshots at the political campaigning in our society, had a direct television release. Yogi Babu plays the lead in the Madonne Ashwin-directorial which started streaming on Netflix after a few days. Despite touching upon relevant and serious topics, the film has a slew of hilarious sequences, thanks to effective writing and captivating performances from actors like Sheela Rajkumar, Sangili Murugan and GM Sundar among others.
Karnan (Amazon Prime Video)
The Dhanush-starrer directed by Mari Selvaraj opened to unanimous positive response from critics and the audience alike. The movie, which dealt with pertinent issues like class discrimination and caste oppression, started streaming on Amazon Prime Video a month after its theatrical release. The hard-hitting screenplay and performances of actors like Dhanush, Lal and Nataraj were a few positive aspects of the film.
Starring newbies Pradeep Anthony, TJ Bhanu and Diva Dhawan in lead roles, Vaazhl which had a direct release on SonyLIV, was Arun Prabu Purushothaman's sophomore project. The performances of the lead cast, unpredictable screenplay and dialogues on philosophy and interesting facets of life were the impressive aspects of the movie.
Sarpatta Parambarai (Amazon Prime Video)
Pa Ranjith's Arya-starrer is one of the few Tamil films which matched the pre-release expectations surrounding the project. The movie revolves around an underdog who makes it big in the sport of boxing, leaving many perplexed and worried. The performances of Arya, Pasupathi, Shabbir, Santhosh, GM Sundar, John Vijay and Kalaiyarasan among others received wide appreciation from movie buffs. The film was directly released on Amazon Prime Video.
Nelson Dilipkumar's Sivakarthikeyan-starrer was the first Tamil blockbuster post the second lockdown. The film was quite instrumental in bringing the movie going crowd back to movie halls. The movie started streaming on Netflix after a month of its theatrical release. The hilarious screenplay and performances of actors received a thumbs up from the audience and critics alike.
Jai Bhim (Amazon Prime Video)
Among the Tamil films which had direct OTT releases, TJ Gnanavel's Jai Bhim which dropped Amazon Prime Video, was the most talked about one, thanks to the sensitive topic it depicted. Suriya, Lijomol Jose and Manikandan garnered positive response from the audience for the portrayal of their respective characters. The movie is based on a real incident in which a few cops tried to manipulate the death of a poor man who belonged to an oppressed community.
Kadaseela Biriyani (Netflix)
Indie filmmaker Nishanth Kalidindi's film started streaming on Netflix after a month of its theatrical release. Though the theatrical release didn't create a big impact, positive responses from movie buffs started pouring in after its OTT premiere. The performances of Hakkim Shahjahan, Vasanth Selvam and Vijay Ram received praise from film lovers. Its story revolved around three brothers who set out to avenge their father's murder.
This political thriller directed by Venkat Prabhu is considered as a comeback for himself and Silambarasan, who played the lead in it. The movie's story revolves around a youngster who decides to stop the assassination plan against Chief Minister plotted by a crooked cop. The film, which started premiering on SonyLIV after a month of its theatrical release, became a blockbuster, thanks to performances of Silambarasan and SJ Suryah, apart from impressive editing and captivating music.