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Top Tamil movies of 2023 and where to watch them

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IN 2023, Kollywood witnessed a notable shift compared to the previous year. Tamil cinema demonstrated that its identity extends beyond stars, heroes and box-office numbers, embracing a diverse range of films that left a lasting impact.

For those seeking quality content on streaming platforms, here are some noteworthy Tamil films from the past 12 months, celebrated for their storytelling, performances and overall cinematic experience.

Jigarthanda DoubleX 6559
Jigarthanda DoubleX

Jigarthanda DoubleX: Karthik Subbaraj once again established his credentials as one of the most promising directors of Tamil cinema with this action drama. He took inspiration from spaghetti westerns and created a genre that he calls ‘Pandya western’. What truly enhanced Jigarthanda DoubleX were the brilliant performances by SJ Suryah and Raghava Lawrence.  Available on Netflix

Por Thozhil: In this gripping investigative thriller, Sarath Kumar and Ashok Selvan were an unlikely buddy cop duo. The film followed a trainee cop (Ashok Selvan) and a veteran (Saratkumar), as they hunted down a serial killer in Trichy. Vignesh Raja makes a successful debut, with a smart script and interesting filmmaking choices. He has emerged as a director to watch out for. Available on Sony Liv

Chithha: The director, SU Arun Kumar, delivered the most haunting and emotionally challenging film of the year. The narrative revolves around an uncle’s relentless pursuit to find his missing niece, taking viewers on a rollercoaster ride of suspense and emotions. Chittha bravely tackled uncomfortable and often ignored topics like child abuse. This is easily acclaimed actor Siddharth’s best performance by far. Available on Hotstar

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Viduthalai Part 1
Viduthalai Part 1

Viduthalai Part 1: A period crime thriller directed by Vetrimaaran presents raw and intense portrayals of the struggles faced by the characters. However, it is precisely this unflinching depiction that makes it a must-see film. The movie revolves around the pursuit of Vaathiyar, an alleged terrorist portrayed by the brilliant Vijay Sethupathi. The rare anti-establishment film in the current Indian political scenario has a sequel scheduled for release later this year. Available on ZEE5

Ponniyin Selvan 2: In the second part of his magnum opus, Mani Ratnam made a significant departure from the original material and, surprisingly, it worked in the film’s favour. It is necessary to acknowledge the director’s unique vision and his decision to break away from the formulaic ‘mass moments’ with this sequel to the 2022 blockbuster. While both parts of Ponniyin Selvan may not be flawless, they do lay a solid groundwork for future literary adaptations in Tamil.  Available on Amazon Prime

Good Night: It was truly fascinating and enjoyable to witness the story of a protagonist grappling with the challenges of snoring, which ultimately endangers his relationship. It was a simple yet feel-good film from director Vinayak Chandrasekaran, who skillfully demonstrated that Tamil cinema has much more to offer than just relying on big-name actors, with the exceptional talents of Manikandan and Meetha Raghunath shining through. Available on Hotstar

Chithha
Chithha

Leo: Thalapathy Vijay’s highest-grossing Kollywood film of the year is an absolute must-have on any list. It’s a valuable addition to the (writer and director) ‘Lokesh cinematic universe’. Vijay has dared to venture beyond his usual roles and unleashes an extraordinary performance by portraying both Parthiban and Leo Das. It is a racy, action-packed gangster movie that delivers on all fronts. One of the highlights of this film is the incredible chemistry between Vijay and Trisha. Though 15 years have passed since their previous film together, their on-screen chemistry remains intact.  Available on Netflix

The author is a film tracker and tweets at @GeorgeViews

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