1. Dhruvangal Pathinaaru (2016)
Directed by newbie
Karthick Naren, Dhruvangal Pathinaaru had yesteryear heartthrob Rahman in the lead. It revolved around a retired police officer who is forced to face his demons. The dark horse of the year, the movie gained critical acclaim for its watertight screenplay and brilliant direction. It was a sleeper hit in theatres.
2. Visaranai (2015)
Visaranai had been inspired by the novel ‘Lock up’ by M. Chandrakumar, and discussed police brutality toward the locked up. Directed by Vetrimaaran, the film is a gripping tale of torture, pain, and the transition from innocence to guilt. The movie was India’s official entry to the Oscars.
Thani Oruvan (2015)
Thani Oruvan had
Jayam Ravi in the lead, but it was Aravind Swamy who stole the limelight. The Mohan Raja directorial was the romantic hero’s comeback film, and his portrayal of Siddharth Abhimanyu, a brilliant scientist, and criminal mastermind captivated viewers and critics alike. A slick thriller, Thani Oruvan was a pathbreaker among the numerous crime thrillers Tamil produced.
4. Mankatha (2011)
Mankatha was a black comedy as much as it was a crime thriller. Starring the ever-charming Ajith in the lead, the film was a tale of corruption, intrigue, betrayal, and in the end, friendship. The movie’s witty dialogues and quick action garnered popular appeal and made it a huge box-office success.
5. Papanasam (2015)
A remake of the Malayalam thriller Drishyam, Papanasam had
Kamal Haasan in the lead and was directed by
Jeethu Joseph. The story of a middle-class man who tries to save his family from being convicted for a crime they committed, Papanasam garnered critical acclaim for its realistic portrayal of its characters.
6. Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu (2006)
Another Kamal Hasan starrer, directed by Goutham Menon. The film is considered the best among Menon’s cop movies. The story of a police officer who takes turns hunting and being the hunted, Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu was also noted for Jyothika’s bold portrayal of Aaradhana, one of the protagonists.
7. Anniyan (2005)
A psychological crime thriller directed by Shankar and starring Vikram, Anyan is one of the most watched Tamil movies ever. The film was a social commentary on the corruption, immorality, and exploitation of the poor. Vikram bagged a film fare award for his portrayal of a young man suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder.
8. Aaranya Kaandam (2011)
Aaranya Kaandam was directed by newbie Thiagarajan Kumarraja and had
Jackie Shroff in the lead. A gangster film that narrated the incidents that take place in the lives of six characters, the movie was noted for its unconventionality, from filmmaking to poster design.
9. Aadukalam (2011)
Another Vetrimaaran directorial, Aadukalam had Dhanush in the lead and explored the cock-fighting tournaments of the rural Tamil Nadu. A story of love and simplicity in the first half, the movie turns into a tale of jealousy, betrayal, and revenge in the second half. It fetched Dhanush a national award.
10. Ayan (2009)
Ayan was directed by K.V Anand and had Suriya, Tamanna, and Prabhu in the lead. It told the tale of smugglers who brought uncut diamonds from Africa. The story takes a turn when trouble brews between gang leaders which lead to fighting, the movie was a commercial success across South India.