The top 10 films of 2020: Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada cinema

Posted on December 21, 2020

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It didn’t make sense to do individual “best-of” lists for each southern industry. There simply weren’t enough films to consider per language. So here goes.

If 2020 will be remembered as anything, it’s as the worst year in recent movie history. Were there worse years? Debatable! Few people alive now probably remember how things were during WWII, for instance — but the entertainment industry wasn’t as well-developed, as all-pervasive back then. The COVID-induced siege changed show business like the arrival of talking pictures did, like the arrival of colour did, like the arrival of television did, like the arrival of torrent sites did: as theatres shut down, OTT platforms flourished and now seem poised to dictate what movies will henceforth be seen as “theatre-worthy”, from the POV of the makers as well as the audience.

With the pipeline of releases being stopped in theatres and a handful of films being re-routed to our homes, it didn’t make sense to do individual “best-of” lists for each southern industry. There simply weren’t enough films to consider per language. So here’s a combined list. I haven’t included films released in December 2o19 that I saw this year — else, I would have certainly looked at Girmit (Ravi Basrur’s “mass” movie with an all-child cast), the Rakshit Shetty-starring Avane Srimannarayana (directed  by Sachin Ravi), and especially Rosshan Andrrews’ superb Prathi Poovankozhi (with Manju Warrier). Also out of this list are the excellent films I watched at or through festivals: Arun Karthick’s Rotterdam-prize winner Nasir, J Geetha’s Run Kalyani, and Rahul Riji Nair’s Kalla Nottam, which sees only what a GoPro camera sees.

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