My search for feel-good regional movies actually began with OK Kanmani, a film I had heard a lot of about and loved the songs by AR Rahman. I finally found the time to watch it during the lockdown, and decided to continue looking for more movies that could make by mood better during these locked-up days.
You cannot make a Tamil feel good movie list without at least one R Madhavan movie. I was confused between Minnale and Alaipayuthey, but since I have already seen him reprise his role in the Hindi remake of the former, I decided to watch the latter this time.
Vinnaithandi Varuvaaya should have been on this list, but it’s not on any of the popular streaming platforms, and I couldn’t find a subtitled version on YouTube. So unfortunately, couldn’t watch it.
Avvai Shanmugi (Amazon Prime Video)
Chachi 420 holds a special place in the hearts of a lot of ’90s kids. I thought of revisiting that film during the lockdown, but in its original language. Kamal Haasan is at his hilarious best in the Mrs Doubtfire-inspired role. He is a pro at prosthetics and dramatically transforming himself into a different personality altogether, and he does it with elan playing an elderly nanny to his own daughter. The gags and sticky situations will still crack you up and this is one film you can enjoy with the whole family. By any chance if you haven’t watched either the Tamil version or the Hindi one, you don’t know what you are missing!
Alaipayuthey (Amazon Prime Video)
One of the most-loved modern romantic films ever made in India. Mani Ratnam’s direction, AR Rahman’s music and R Madhavan’s acting all come together to make it a cinematic experience that will have you giggling with glee and overwhelmed with emotions in equal parts. The charm of local trains, running on the beachside, travelling miles in search of the one you love – the film captures it all. This film and Minnale sealed Madhavan’s place in our hearts as the quintessential romantic hero. The Vivek Oberoi starrer Hindi remake of Alaipayuthey was a hit as well, mostly because the appeal of the Tamil original was kept mostly intact.
OK Kanmani (Amazon Prime Video)
This absolute delight of a movie has a theme similar to Alaipayuthey, but is a much more light-hearted watch. Dulquer Salmaan and Nithya Menen play a couple in love who do not believe in marriage, and decide to live together instead. In a hard to imagine scene, they convince their Tamil landlord (Prakash Raj) in Mumbai to let them live together. When you almost think this isn’t going to happen, he agrees! Not only that, he even helps them in keeping it secret from their families. I wish all landlords were progressive like that. Anyway, I do not need to repeat how awesome AR Rahman’s music is. The film is full of cute romantic moments as well as some pertinent questions about balancing your personal and professional lives.
Raja Rani (Disney+ Hotstar)
What happens when you are forced to marry someone you hate, and are still hurting from losing the one you actually loved? Atlee’s directorial debut is a story of a couple who are forced into a marriage with no care or respect for each other. They proceed to make each other’s life hell, only to eventually realize that both of them are hiding immense pain from unfortunate events in the past. The film oscillates smoothly between comic situations to moments of introspection. It’s a refreshing tale about how to cope with life, when we lose someone we love.
Naanum Rowdy Dhaan (YouTube)
This film almost did not make it to my lockdown watchlist because I couldn’t find it on any major streaming platform. I had to make do with a Telugu dubbed version with English subtitles. Since I neither understand Tamil or nor Telugu, I thought of watching it anyway. Vijay Sethupathi is an absolute delight to watch on screen. In this movie, he plays a police officer’s son who wants to become a rowdy gangster. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the heart to so bad things, so he wants to be a gangster who does good for people. Naanum Rowdy Dhaan was a hit when it released in 2015, and the chemistry between Vijay and Nayanthara is worth looking out for. Plus I got to relive my Pondicherry memories while watching the film.
Stay tuned for more regional feel-good movie recommendations coming up next week.