CE Year in Review: What to expect from Tamil cinema in 2022
After being hit severely by the pandemic, Kollywood is gradually getting back on its feet. The future looks hopeful. Here's what we can expect from Tamil cinema in 2022
After a pandemic, multiple lockdowns, change in theatre capacity allowance, and having to carry a vaccine certificate to watch a film on the big screen, cinephiles have seen it all in 2021. We did miss out on several highly anticipated films, but the new year should appease our appetite. 2022 is to see a deluge of releases, and could well be a difference-maker, in comparison with the relatively mellow last two years that suffered from the pandemic and its aftereffects. All this is, of course, assuming that the Omicron scare doesn't turn into a bigger threat.
Starting with a bang
The year is to begin with some biggies, and Pongal is to see the much-awaited Valimai hitting screens. Vikram-Karthik Subbaraj's Mahaan might just make it on time to give Valimai some competition though. There are also the 'pan-Indian' films, SS Rajamouli's RRR and Prabhas-starrer Radhe Shyam while Dulquer Salmaan's Salute too will hope to get some attention. And all of this within the first month of the new year.
All those films that waited it out to get a theatre release have piled up and should slowly vie for screens soon after the Pongal deluge. We should see films of actors like Vijay Sethupathi (Maamanithan, Kadaisi Vivasayi, Yaadhum Oore Yaavarum Kelir, Kaathu Vaakula Rendu Kaadhal, Viduthalai), Dhanush (Maaran, Thiruchitrambalam, Naane Varuven, Sir) and Sivakarthikeyan (Don, Ayalaan, Singapadhai and an untitled film with Anudeep KV) coming out. Films like Adho Andha Paravai Pola, Dhruva Natchathiram, Server Sundaram, Joshua Imai Pol Kaaka, and Naragasooran, which were completed a long ago and couldn't be released for various reasons, are also expected to hit screens or stream on OTT platforms.
If you are a fan of franchises, you are in for a treat. A number of sequels that have been announced might hit theatres this year. Vijay Milton's Mazhai Pidikatha Manithan, starring Vijay Antony, is said to be a sequel of the actor's 2014 film Salim. The actor's Pichaikkaran 2 is also expected to release this year and will mark the composer-turned-actor's directorial debut. Director ARK Saravan, in May last year, confirmed that a sequel to his debut film Maragatha Naanayam is in the works. 2019's hit crime drama Jiivi will also get a second film this year. Actor Rajkiran's son is set to make his directorial debut with the sequel to his father's landmark film, En Rasavin Manasile. Sequels for films like Soodhu Kavvum, Indru Netru Naalai, Raatchasan, Yaamirukka Bayamey and the OTT show Putham Pudhu Kaalai are all in the works.
The Pan-Indian movement
That’s the new trend in cinema. After RRR and Radhe Shyam, we will see Prabhas' Salaar, Adipurush and Project K which will get released in multiple languages including Tamil. There's also the much-awaited KGF 2 and the sequel to the recently released Telugu film Pushpa which did well in Tamil markets. On the other hand, 2022 will also see the release of Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan, featuring actors across languages. Director Shankar's upcoming film with Ram Charan will also aim for a release across languages. Varalaxmi Sarathkumar's Tatvamasi and Samantha's Yashoda have similar aspirations as well. Filmmaker AR Murugadoss and Bollywood producer Om Prakash Bhatt have announced that they will jointly bankroll a film titled 1947 helmed by Kannada director Pon Kumaran. Vishal has also signed a film with Adhik Ravichandran for a film billed as a pan-Indian project. As we said, this is the new trend.
Talents without borders
2022 will see many Tamil stars making crossing borders and starring in other languages. Tamil actor Rahman is making his Bollywood debut with Tiger Shroff's Ganapath Part 1. Lyricists Viveka and Arun Bharathi, who recently wrote songs for Annaatthe, are making their Malayalam debut with writer-director Manoj K Varghese's Freezer Number 18. Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum scriptwriter Sajeev Pazhoor will be making his directorial debut with a Tamil film starring Yogi Babu. Another talent from Kerala, Shine Tom Chacko is on board Vijay's Beast. Samantha is reportedly making her Bollywood debut under Taapsee Pannu's production banner. Vijay Sethupathi is all set for Bollywood with Mumbaikar and another film titled Merry Christmas. The big announcement of them all is that Samantha will be doing her first international project with Arrangements of Love. While Dhanush made his international debut with 2018's The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir, he grows bigger in that space with Russo Brothers' The Gray Man. It's also said that Nayanthara will be making her Bollywood debut with Shah Rukh Khan's next film that will also mark director Atlee's first Hindi film.
The year of bilinguals
Ram Charan's film with Shankar, billed to be a Tamil-Telugu bilingual will see the star in a Tamil film for the first time. Closer home, Aishwaryaa R Dhanush is expected to direct a bilingual, while Regina Cassandra has done Soorpanagai, which will also release in Telugu as Nene Naa. Director Lingusamy is helming a film with Ram Pothineni that will release in both Tamil and Telugu, and on the other hand, Kunchacko Boban, Arvind Swami, and Eesha Rebba are teaming up for a Malayalam-Tamil bilingual titled Ottu. Back to Tamil-Telugu films, Shraddha Das and Master Mahendran will be starring in Arrdham and Amala Akkineni will be making her comeback to Tamil with Kanam that's titled Oke Oka Jeevitham in Telugu. Madhavan's directorial debut Rocketry: The Nambi Effect is shot simultaneously in Hindi, Tamil, and English. Sivakarthikeyan is making a Tamil-Telugu bilingual with Anudeep KV while Dhanush has Vaathi/Sir a bilingual by Venky Atluri and an untitled film with Sekhar Kammula. Vijay will be teaming up with National Award-winning director Vamshi Paidipally for his 66th film touted to be a Tamil-Telugu bilingual. The year seems set to leave you breathless.
This year will also see promising directors returning for their next. After winning rave reviews for Rocky, Arun Matheswaran will return with Saani Kaayidham starring Selvaraghavan and Keerthy Suresh. Lenin Bharathi who made a stellar debut with Merku Thodarchi Malai will commence work on his sophomore project that will be co-produced by Pa Ranjith. Maragatha Naanayam director ARK Saravan's second film, produced by Sathya Jyothi Films, will go on floors this year. Rathindran, whose Boomika released last year, will see Idhu Vedhalam Sollum Kadhai releasing this year. Director Shanmugam Muthusamy, whose debut with the GV Prakash-starrer Adangathey is yet to get released, will also be completing his second film, starring Aishwarya Rajesh in the lead. Sri Ganesh, whose 8 Thottakkal opened to critical acclaim, is back with Kuruthi Aattam. Should Elan's long-delayed Graghanam release
Young directors and veteran actors
2022 will also see several young directors helming experienced actors. The list kickstarts with H Vinoth who is teaming up once again with Ajith for Valimai. The director has also confirmed that the duo will reunite for a third film that will go on floors this year. Vijay has teamed up with the two-film old Nelson Dilipkumar for the much-awaited Beast. Lokesh Kanagaraj's film with Kamal Haasan, Vikram, is slated to release this year. Actor Vikram, meanwhile, is to be working with Pa Ranjith on an untitled film. He is also awaiting the release of Cobra that's directed by another two-film old director, Ajay Gnanamuthu.
The rise of OTT films
The previous two years have seen the rise and rise of OTT platforms, and this year, we can expect this space to grow further. Amazon Prime Video's four-film deal with Suriya's production house ends with Oh My Dog which is expected to stream from the first quarter of this year. While more films will be made specifically for home viewing, some films made for the big screen will find shelter in these OTT platforms too. Vikram-Karthik Subbaraj's Mahaan is rumoured to be launched on Amazon Prime Video. Similarly, Dhanush-Karthick Naren's Maaran is speculated to miss and opt for release on Disney+ Hotstar. Many films like Saani Kaayidham, Sumo, Kannadi, Katteri and Naragasooran are expected to take the OTT route as well. We also know that Aha, the Telugu streaming platform, will be venturing into the Tamil web series space this year.
Over the years, directors with strong political themes and ideologies have grown in stature. Pa Ranjith whose Natchathiram Nagargirathu will hit screens this year is teaming up with Vikram for a film while the actor's son Dhruv is collaborating with Mari Selvaraj for a sports film that's produced by Ranjith. The Kaala-director will also have three other production ventures coming out this year. Mari is also said to team up with Udhayanidhi Stalin for a project. The actor is also awaiting the release of Nenjuku Needhi, the official remake of Article 15 that deals with caste discrimination. Mohan G of Rudra Thaandavam fame is helming a film that will star Selvaraghavan in the lead. Aramm-fame Gopi Nainar's second film is also expected to release this year.
Women in front
A healthy trend is the number of women-fronted films in Tamil cinema increasing by the year. 2022 will see almost all the top female actors of the industry having a film in which they are playing the lead. Nayanthara has Connect while Samantha has a bunch of releases, starting with her latest project Yashoda. Regina has Soorpanagai which is set in two timelines. Andrea has a number of films in the pipeline like Maaligai, Kaa, and director Mysskin's Pisaasu 2. Kajal Aggarwal, on the other hand, has films like Ghosty and Uma that's headlined by her. Kajal, Regina, Janani and Raiza are also teaming up for director Deekay's Karungaapiyam. Trisha's long-delayed Raangi will be out this year and so will Amala Paul's Adho Andha Paravai Pola and Cadaver. Hansika's 50th film and her first outing as the solo lead, Maha will be coming out soon. Aishwarya Rajesh has Driver Jamuna and the Tamil remake of The Great Indian Kitchen, apart from a film with Monster director Nelson Venkatesan and another with actor Arjun. Rakul Preet will headline director Vijay's October 31st Ladies Night that also stars Nivetha Pethuraj, Manjima Mohan, Megha Akash, and Reba Monica John. Lakshmi Menon will soon be seen in her first female-centred film titled AGP. Varalaxmi has a horde of films like Tatvamasi, Colours, and Kannamoochi. Shraddha Srinath has Kaliyugam while Parvati has Rubam. Behind the camera, Nayanthara's production banner, Rowdy Pictures will present Koozhangal which was India's official entry to this year's Oscars. Dance choreographer Brinda is making her directorial debut with Hey Sinamika this year while directors like Halitha Shameem, Madhumita, and Sudha Kongara are expected to have a release each this year.
Stars set to shine
Meanwhile, Rajinikanth is yet to confirm his next, while Kamal Haasan is almost done with Vikram and has also completed a big portion of Indian 2. Vijay, who recently completed the shoot for Beast, will soon begin work on his 66th project. After Valimai, Ajith's film with Vinoth will commence pre-production work immediately. Suriya has Etharkkum Thunindhavan ready for release and will soon start Vaadivaasal with Vetri Maaran and an untitled film with Bala, one of which can also release this year. Vikram's Mahaan is ready for release and so is Cobra. Dhanush has a slew of films like Maaran, Thiruchitrambalam, and Naane Varuven which can be slated for release this year. Silambarasan is currently shooting for Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu and Pathu Thala. Vijay Sethupathi has more than half a dozen completed films ready to hit the screens while Sivakarthikeyan has completed Don and Ayalaan. On the whole, fans can expect a star film almost every month this year.
The big villain
The Omicron variant could well throw a spanner in the works and ruin all these plans. For now, all we can do is hope, mask up, and get vaccinated.