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Friendship in Tamil Cinema

August 03, 2018, Chennai

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Tell me your friend, I will tell about you, goes a proverb. That is how important Friends are to anybody’s life.  You do not get to choose your father, your mother or your siblings, you get to choose only your friends, choose your friends carefully to lead a meaningful and happy life. Friendship is the basis of any relationship or so we would wish to believe.


Not one to be left behind, Tamil Cinema has milked the friendship cow to reap benefits. Let’s take a look at a few movies that paid an ode to friendship.

Thalapathy:

A Maniratnam directorial, Superstar Rajnikanth and Malayalam superstar Mamooty as leads, this movie is an important part of Tamil cinema that spoke about the friendship between the two male leads. A straight rip off from Mahabaratha (even the characters were named along those lines), this movie celebrated the friendship between Deva(Mamooty) and Surya(Rajnikanth). The reason that Rajnikanth has this unshakeable loyalty towards Mamooty was flimsy though.  Ilayaraja’s music and handsome Arvindswamy as the collector added more value to the movie. Maniratnamisms like dim-lit scenes and short dialogues were galore in this movie though. Probably, no other movie celebrated the friendship between two men as this one did.

Kadhal Desam:

The 90s were definitely a period of friendship movies. Kadhal Desam was one of them. This movie was a triangular friendship story if it could  be called one. This movie talks about the friendship between Abbas and Vineeth, the friendship between Tabu and Vineeth and the friendship between Abbas and Tabu. This glorified friendship to that extent that the female lead Tabu decides not to marry one of the heroes as it would spoil her friendship with the other and also the friendship between the heroes. A girl/woman is touted as the reason for the split of many friendships, this film probably proved a point that it is not always the case.

Pudhu Vasantham: 

This definitely is a cult movie. This was the pioneer for a host of friendship movies that talked about male-female friendship. A story about 4 guys and a girl staying together, this film probably was the first one that talked about it is purely friendship and not a brother-sister relationship. The dialogue the female lead mouths “only friendship” to an estate owner.  This film, with relatively lesser known artists and not so great production values was probably the most successful or the only successful movie for the artists of this movie.

Friends:

This movie is about 3 childhood friends, how their lives are shaped in course of time, a love that drives a wedge between the friends. Vijay and Surya played the male leads with Devayani and Vijayalakshmi playing their counterparts. Ramesh Khanna completed the friend triangle. This movie is known more for Vadivelu’s comedy than anything else.

Natpukkaga:

K.S. Ravikumar, who at some point in time of his career was sticking on to nativity movies in Cinema parlance came up with this overly sentimental that talks about two friends, Vijayakumar, and Sarathkumar and shows the sacrifice of Sarathkumar for Vijaykumar’s family and how his son continues the tradition of loyalty towards Vijayakumar. Feudal at its best. Had a decent run though.

Punnagai Desam:

This is again one of the feel-good movies from  SuperGood films which talk about a bunch of five friends and how one of them takes the responsibility of bringing up the rest of his friends in life and how selfless a friend could be. Did not create ripples at the box office.

Subramaniapuram:

This movie set in the 1980s backdrop of Madurai talks about the friendship between a group of vagabonds and their downward spiral. A much-acclaimed movie of director Sasikumar, this film indeed created ripples at the box office.

Nadodigal:

This is again about a group of friends, who lose a lot of things while helping one of their friends to marry his college sweetheart. The couple gets separated later and the novelty of this film lies in that the friends go back to their friend and question him about the decision of separation.  Should say this was a trendsetter movie.

Chennai 28:

This movie talks about the friendship between neighborhood guys and their love for cricket. This movie probably was the first of its kind that spoke about gully cricket. Was received well and its sequel that released recently also got a warm welcome.

Priyamana Thozhi:

Pudhu Vasantham spoke about the friendship between 4 guys and a girl, whereas this movie spoke about the friendship between a boy and a girl and how the boy’s wife understands and supports this friendship. Another feel-good movie from Vikraman, which failed to create ripples at the box office.