2019 begins with the big Pongal releases – Rajinikanth’s Petta and Ajith’s Viswasam. Diwali release is likely to include Vijay’s Thalapathy63. But this year might be a surprise for Tamil movie-goers. After starring in a film like 2.0, Rajini in Petta, plays the Superstar we loved from the 80s. Vijay Sethupathi plays a trans woman in Super Deluxe. Nayanthara has a double-role in Airaa. Mammootty’s festival favourite Peranbu releases this year, so do the two digital films Sigai and Oru Pakka Kathai, and one of the five Jayalalitha biopics The Iron Lady.
Both Petta and Viswasam are likely to release on January 10, which means the year will begin with a battle for screens yet again.
Petta by Karthik Subbaraj, produced by Sun Pictures, has Rajinikanth with a big star cast including Trisha Krishnan, M Sasikumar, Simran, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Bobby Simha. Music is by Anirudh Ravichander who replaces Subbaraj’s usual music director Santhosh Narayanan. Not much about the story is out yet, but reports have it that the film touches upon caste killings and Hindu-Muslim clashes in TN.
Viswasam stars Ajith Kumar and Nayanthara in the lead. Ajith plays a dual role in the film, with Thambi Ramaiah, Bose Venkat and Yogi Babu playing supporting roles. Directed by Siva, the film is said to be in line with Ajith’s other family entertainers. It is produced by Sathya Jyothi Films, music is by D Imman.
The Zee5 original Sigai releases on January 10. The film stars nine actors who are said to be equally relevant to the plot. Kathir of Pariyerum Perumal fame is one of them. In the film he returns to India after finishing studies abroad. He said in an interview, “My character has different shades, of which the feminine side is the highlight.” Oru Pakka Kathai by the Seethakaathi director Balaji Tharaneetharan is the another Zee5 Tamil original this year. It stars Kalidas Jayaram, son of actor Jayaram, in the lead role.
Releasing soon are Nayathara’s Kolaiyuthir Kaalam and Airaa, Dhanush’s Enai Noki Paayum Thota, and Vishal’s Ayogya. Dhanush’s Asura has been announced for the year. A sequel of Thani Oruvan starring Jayam Ravi, Aravind Swami and Nayanthara will release.
Among the February releases are Suriya’s NGK, a political thriller directed by Selvaraghavan, also starring Rakul Preet Singh and Sai Pallavi. It was first scheduled for a Deepavali 2018 release. GV Prakash’s Sarvam Thaala Mayam releases on February 1. It’s a musical about a lower caste boy who wants to be a drummer and enters the world of carnatic music.
Mommootty’s Peranbu releases in February. The film premiered at the Rotterdam Film Festival and Shanghai Film Festival, and was one the favourites at Goa’s 49th International Film Festival of India in 2018. Peranbu — also called Resurrection — is about a father-daughter relationship. It is directed by Ram, who was Mari Selvaraj’s mentor, and has music composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja. The film also features Anjali Ameer, a trans-woman actor from Kerala, in an important role.
Amala Paul’s Aadai with Meyaadha Maan director Rathna Kumar releases in March. It is Amala Paul’s first film as the only lead. She plays Kaamini, a role that the she said required physical and mental strength. During the same time, Udhayanidhi Stalin’s Psycho and Aravind Swami and Trisha Krishnan’s Sathuranga Vettai 2 will also release.
House Owner is director Lakshmy Ramakrishnan’s 2019 film. Starring Lovelyn, Viji Chandrasekhar’s daughter, and Kishore, the film is a love story set during the Chennai floods. An anthology of three films about women’s lives directed by Vasanth is also set for release this year. Titled Sivaranjiniyum Innum Sila Pengalum, the film has short stories written by writers Jeyamohan, Adhavan and Ashoka Mithran.
Mid this year, we can also expect the release of Pa Ranjith’s next production Irandam Ulagaporin Kadaisi Gundu, directed by debutant Athiyan Athirai. He has worked with Ranjith on films like Kaala, Kabali, and Madras.
Three films by Vijay Sethupathi stand out this year – Super Deluxe, Kadaisi Vivasayi and Idam Porul Yaeval. Super Deluxe is director Thiagarajan Kumararaja’s second film, being made eight years after his critically acclaimed debut Aaranya Kaandam. Vijay Sethupathi plays trans woman Shilpa in Super Deluxe. His Kadaisi Vivasayi is a film about agriculture written and directed by M Manikandan. It will reportedly portray the plight of farmers in the state.
Idam Porul Yaeval, directed by Seenu Ramasamy, is an awaited film which has been in production since 2012. It is set around the hills near Madurai and Thandikodi near Kodaikanal, and might be similar to Sethupathi’s 2018 film Merku Thodarchi Malai.
The other releases scheduled for this year include Gangs of Madras, producer CV Kumar’s second directorial after his science fiction thriller Maayavan. Vikram’s son, Dhruv Vikram’s first film Varma, directed by Bala will release this year. The young director Karthick Naren’s second installment of the thriller trilogy Naragasooran, starring Aravind Swamy and Shriya Saran, is also set for release.
No year can end without a Vijay film. And the PR machinery is already in overdrive over Thalapathy63. Directed by Atlee, who gave us Theri and Mersal, the film will also star Nayanthara. And if the last two films are any guide, will likely make headlines for all sorts of reasons.
So pace yourselves, Tamil film lovers. There are good things coming your way. Vijay fans, you can begin your celebrations now.