5 South Indian movies we recommend you watchThere is more to South Indian movies than just the action they're famous for.
If there’s one thing that the internet has made certain, it is that the world is indeed in your fingertips. And the world of cinema, just a couple of clicks away. As we endure yet another week of the lockdown, let films be your saviour—and your escape. And perhaps, this time, try some movies from South India?
In recent years, South Indian movies—Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Tulu—have grasped the interest of many cinephiles, not because they are funny, but because they have endearing and compelling stories that are complex and raw and deviate from mainstream cinema tropes. Works from actors like Dulquer Salman, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Vijay Sethupathi, Dhanush, Nivin Pauly, Vijay, among others, have increasingly become popular with a dedicated fan-based following.
From pure entertainers to compelling character-driven narratives, South Indian films have much to offer. Here are a few picks from the Post to assist you in starting your South Indian film journey:
The 2012 Malayalam movie starring Dulquer Salmaan is still as refreshing as ever. Faizi (Dulquer Salmaan) is an aspiring chef. However, his father doesn’t want him to be one because he believes the job of a cook is not dignified. Faizi is his only son, after three daughters in the family, and thus his father Abdul Razaq has high hopes for him. But when Abdul comes to know that his son had been studying abroad to become a chef secretly, he feels humiliated and disowns him in a fit of anger. He also confiscates Faizi’s passport to stop him from pursuing his dream of becoming a chef.
Faizi then stays with his grandfather, who owns Ustad Hotel, a local restaurant named by the locals of the place themselves. And gradually he begins to learn the know-how of setting up a restaurant and most importantly the art of making food to fill people’s hearts. There are many sweet moments between the grandfather and the grandson, making the film heartwarming. But it’s Faizi’s ambition and journey to becoming a chef that makes this movie a rewarding watch. As he finds a connection with his people and culture, it is the audience who will feel gratified. ‘Ustad Hotel’ is a humble movie that will embrace you with enough warmth in these trying times.
The 2014 Tamil film, ‘Velaiyilla Pattathari’, is a story of an unemployed graduate, Raghuvaran (Dhanush), who desperately wants a job in civil engineering. His relation with his father is complex, and it’s his mother who has been balancing their relationship. And it is this family dynamic that makes the movie endearing.
‘Velaiyilla Pattathari’ is a heartwarming family movie. And the transformation of the film from something lighthearted to emotionally gripping is why you should watch the film. Raghuvaran’s character stands out with his innocence and grit, more so because of Dhanush’s acting that holds the movie together. The movie was a hit in the South and was also later dubbed in Telugu and remade as ‘Brihaspathi’ in Kannada in 2018. Once you are done watching the movie, you can also follow Dhanush's filmography to dive deeper into the realm of South Indian cinema.
The 2014 Telugu movie makes it to the list for it is pure entertainment. The film was also one of the highest-grossing Telugu movies starring Allu Arjun. It’s a complete masala movie, with an unbeatable hero performing unbelievable action—which is what we love about Telugu movies. ‘Race Gurram’ is about Ram Prasad and Lakshman Prasad aka Lucky (Allu Arjun), brothers who are the opposites of each other. Lucky is frivolous, witty and reckless while his brother is a righteous, disciplined police officer. What follows is a series of twists and turns as a result of the two brothers’ different personalities.
This action-packed movie is mind-boggling with a logic that is so swift that you’re always on the edge. The movie just as its name is quite fast and it gags a lot of laughter. For a fun afternoon, Race Gurram will not disappoint you. If you want more, you can also watch ‘Yevadu’ and ‘Dookudu’.
The 2015 Malayalam movie is for the romantics. Premam was an instant hit in theatres; it was also one of the highest-grossing Malayalam movies and became a cult classic of the contemporary modern love story. ‘Premam’, unlike many romantic movies, isn’t about a successful love story. It is about George (Nivin Pauly), a guy who believes in love and keeps falling in love again and again, despite his many failing relationships.
‘Premam’ is a simple, coming-of-age movie—there’s nothing that drastic and dramatic, and that is its charm. The movie is nuanced and is lovable for the little moments. It also has the nostalgia of the early 90s and builds on the father-son relationship very naturally. If you’re in need of some love, then this movie is highly recommended.
The two series—Baahubali: The Beginning and Baahubali 2: The Conclusion—is what brought the whole world to notice South Indian movies and thus you can’t miss SS Rajamouli’s Baahubali if you are going to immerse in South Indian movies. It has an engaging plot, mind-blowing VFX and amusing logic.
Baahubali is the story of an ancient Kingdom, Mahishmati, and the conspiracy to win over the throne between two brothers: Mahendra Baahubali (Prabhas) and Bhallaladeva (Rana Daggubati). It is a story about family clashes, sibling rivalry, love and righteous revenge. The movie is crafted cleverly—for the plot’s flashback is quite long, a movie onto itself—and it has moments of laughter, romance, and innocence. Theatrically too, it is very engaging.
But if Baahubali doesn’t quench your thirst for historical fiction/action drama, then you might also want to watch the 2009 ‘Magadheera’ starring Ram Charan and Kajal Aggarwal. It’s a good start to get into Telugu cinema that has more to offer in family drama and action.