BEST OF 1998

voted by Tamil Thirai Valai readers and avid Tamil cinema fans..



5   Prasanth.. Truly the leading man of this year's box office hits!.. Whoever said that Director Shankar couldn't turn a new leaf for his heroes (a la Arjun, Prabhudeva and now, Prasanth)?.. Despite the success in his grand comeback ventures, which includes two of Ashok Amritraj's productions, Jeans and Kaadhal Kavidhai, manidhar romba romba level head-ai maintain seigiraar!..  He surely has stiffened the competition for iLaya Thalapathi Vijay, who seemed to have enjoyed the throne all of 1997!   This year holds another promising set of films including R.B.Choudhri's Poo Magal Oorvalam, Director Cheran's En Iniya Kaadhalargalae and Azhagu, yet another production by Murali Manohar (Metro Film Corporation) with newcomer Balaji (former assistant to Director Shankar) taking up the directorial reins.  The biggest 'adhisayam' being Prasanth's comeback has happened... just that it has begun haunting a lot of other varisugal in town!..

4    Livingston..  Silence is golden!.. and that seemed to be the case for Liv this year.  What a memorable performance in Sollaamalae to salvage his name after the public had written him off as a 'no-show' after 1996.  Despite the fact that Aadi Maapillai wrapped up even before shooting began and a great performance in the disasterous Jolly, Livingston came out all smiles at the end of the year, by becoming a new father and by having one of the top grossers of 98 in Sollaamalae.   Liv's 1999 looks extremely bright with Love Pannunga Sir with Preetha Vijaykumar, Unakkum Enakkum Kalyaanam with Devayani and Swarna (a film with so many kisu kisus running around about Devayani being bossed by Livingston!) and Endrum Aanandham with Vignesh, Rasika and Anusha.  But if you keep going down the list of the "big-stars-of-tomorrow," surely, Liv knows that the competition will be 'cut-throat' in 1999!...  

3    Parthiban.. Wierd but true!.. Parthiban was in the very same position in the 1997 poll at No.3.   He seems to have etched himself in people's hearts, without shaking their beliefs in him too much.  A better than average year in 1998 for Parthi with relative ease in Swarnamukhi, where he plays a convict trying to set things right with his former kaadhali, Devayani, or even in Pudhumai Piththan, where his acting was brought out in full force (along with his weight :-)  Things are looking better even though audiences are not embracing Housefull with an alai modhing response in theatres as expected.  Regardless, there is nothing much to stop Parthi now!.. After all, fans are always in hot pursuit trying to find more information about his next venture!..

2    Vijay..  The iLaya Thalapathi of Tamil Cinema who has easily salvaged the credibility, commercial viability and reputation of producing a tamil movie and making it worthwhile (or atleast producers and distributors would say so!)  With the exception of Nilaave Vaa, Vijay's own production, with K.T.Kunjumon crying crocodile tears, both of Vijay's films last year, Ninaiththen Vandhaai and Priyamudan, had highly successful runs in Chennai.  While eagerly looking forward to his wedding in year 2000, excitement mounts for Vijay fans as the films slated for release in 1999 seems to send some chills down people's spines.  Udhaya, a Pyramid Natarajan's production with Simran and T.N.Seshan and for the first time with music by A.R.Rahman, Endrendrum Kaadhal, awaiting release with Music, Story, Screenplay and Direction by Manoj Bhatnagar (of Manoj-Gyan fame!) with dialogues by the inmitable kadi joke writer Crazy Mohan, a film under his dad, S.A.Chandrasekaran's direction, one in the works with K.Bhagyaraj (supposedly)...... and incidently, no credible films from Rajini and Kamal to compete with Mr. Vijay's box office earnings yet!.. No wonder things are almost perfect in the Vijay camp!.. Akkudhe Akkudhe adhukku meaning akkudhe akkudhe!.. AsathitOme Akkudhe Akkudhe.. AsandheengaLaa?

And the Best Actor of 1998 is:

Karthik1    Karthik..  In spite of the rumours flying around about his multiple affairs with heroines in tamil cinema and alledged lying tactics to escape from lenders, who pitiably gave him money to produce Udhavikku Varalaama?, Karthik had a miraculous year in 1998.  His work in Harischandra, Unnidaththil Ennai Koduththaen and Pooveli, bagged every kind of accolade possibly available to an artist this year.  Unnidaththil Ennai Koduththen recently crossed its 200th day and continues to do good business all over Tamilnadu.  Over the years, Karthik has drastically improved his process of choosing films and that seems to have made a tremendous difference this year.  Good or bad, it has been a long time since he actually won any awards poll and 1998 was probably the best time for him to try.  Karthik has a whole cart load of films to his credit in 1999 including Chitra Lakshman's Chinna Raja, still awaiting an auspicious time to release, Un Paartha Pinbu Dhaan by K. Selvabharathi, uLLamellaam Unakkaaga and Director Sundhar C.'s Aththai Magan, among the many other comedy/masala flicks that Karthik expected to sign this year.

Complete Results (Best Actor)

1. Karthik
2. Vijay
3. Parthiban
4. Livingston
5. Prasanth
6. Mammooty
7. Ajithkumar
8. Saratkumar
9. Prakashraj
10. Prabhu
11. Murali
12. Prabhudeva

Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai
Pudhumai Piththan
Kannedhiray ThondrinaaL
Uyirodu Uyiraaga
Guru Paarvai
Naam Iruvar Namakku Iruvar


5    Isha Gopikar.. The sweet-faced simple beauty from Mangalore seemed to have stolen many hearts in the latter end of 1998 with her stunning looks combined with great acting skills in Kaadhal Kavidhai.   Isha seems for real, compared to some of latest irakkumadhis in tamil cinema recently.  It appears that Ms. Gopikar hiked her salary soon after KK's release, in hopes of cashing in on KK's inevitable success at the box office.  With the exception of En Swaasa Kaatrae, yet to release, which was to be her debut film, Isha is waiting to be signed for her next tamil film.  Kodambakkam vambhu talkers predict that Isha will be the puyal to blow the Simrans, Rambhas etc. totally out of the picture in 1999 and into 2000.  We will definitely have to wait and see. 

4    Roja.. Her decision to star in other films besides her beau, R.K.Selvamani's directorial ventures, seemed to have Roja enjoying, by far, the highest point that she has ever had in tamil films.  With Unnidaththil Ennai Koduthaen still doing excellent business in parts of Tamilnadu, after 200 days, no wonder Roja is in demand today.  Having completed a guest role in Housefull, Roja looks forward to Azhagarsami with Sathyaraj, Chinna Raja with Karthik, Chinnadurai with Saratkumar, Indian Express with Saratkumar and Kushboo (another RKS on hold due to his involvement with directing another Sarat flick, Rajasthan with Vijayashanthi), a village background film, Karisalkaattu Kaadhal (another Chitra Lakshmanan film, besides Chinna Raja!) with a stunning star cast including Abbas, Napolean, Rajkiran, Suvalakshmi and Priya Raman.  Appears that Roja had her huge share of villagy roles last year including Veerathaalaattu, En Aasa Raasave and Veeram Velanja MaNNu.  Things look bright for Roja if the usual share of villagy roles continue to come her way this year!..

3    Kausalya..   The dark horse in 1998 with the least chance of picking up a market remarkably, since 1997 was no great shakes for her!.  Three films, Priyamudan with Vijay, Sollaamalae with Livingston and Pooveli with Karthik, show that Kausi played her cards right this time.  One of the few heroines who maintains the Devayani-Suvalakshmi policy of no aadai kuraippu and still manages to smile (act) her way to success.  Kausi's name was associated with Parthiban's Kalyaana Sundharam, which also has Suvalakshmi in the cast, no word on this now!.. Meanwhile, she is busy with two films, Penn Ondru Kandaen, her first with Sathyaraj and one film under Director Selva with Prasanth (another first!).  Watch out for Kausi to pick up sizeably maybe having Devayani bite the dust in 1999.   

2  (tie)  Aishwarya Rai..  Ms. Rai is in a category of her own.  After all, she declares openly that the success or failure of a film doesn't affect her one bit!.  Curiously enough, the former Ms. World has a hatrick of flops in Hindi, a reasonable hit in Jeans (tamil) and a large sum as compensation (as much as 1 Crore on occasion, depending on when you catch her!)  Only two people have so far ventured to afford her salary in 1999.   One being Actor Vijay and dad S.A.Chandrasekaran who are planning to have a family koottani film with Aish Rai as heroine.  The other is Mani favorite, Rajeev Menon who intends on making a serious film with a pretty seriously hot starcast including Aish.   How 1999 will really turn out depends on what exactly Ice decides to sign as films. 

2    Shalini.. Only Director Fazil could have brought this current bookworm back to tamil cinema.   She actually preferred to act a few films in Malayalam and keep mum!.. But Fazil Uncle had other plans when he decided to cast Shalini (once one of the biggest child stars ever to hit tamil cinema!) opposite Vijay in Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai.  Little did we all know what Kumari Shalini's capacity really was, until we saw her in the film.   A shy, yet attractive looking Shalini had Chennai and the world talking in no time.   Yet, poor Shalini lost out to the so-called powerful manipulations of natchatra thambadhi, Manjula and Vijaykumar, who won their daughter Preetha Vijaykumar, the role which was to be Shalini's in Rajanikanth's Padaiyappa.  Not a terrible loss as Shalu prepares to star in yet another untitled film, with Vijay under Fazil Uncle's direction and (Kaadhal Mannan) Sharan's AmarkaLam with Ajeethkumar (his 25th film!) .  Padippu yenna aachu, Shalu dear?!.. kAththodu pOchchaa?


And the Best Actress of 1998 is:

Simran1    Simran..   The star who simultaneously discovered love in 1998 and the No.1 kavarchi nadigai spot in tamil cinema.  Her hot-hot romance with Dance Master/Actor Raju Sundharam had all of Kodambakkam talking, making some space for Prabhudeva and Ramalath to come to shooting together with their child these days.  Regardless, the grapevine states that Simmy is steadily supporting and trying to bail out Raju from some financial trouble and might soon break up with him if things don't improve for him.  Simmy and Ottaandi don't quite go hand in hand.  Besides the tremendously successful Nattpukkaaga, Kannedhiray ThondrinaaL (and a few blows including losing out on roles in Kaadhalaa Kaadhalaa and Naam Iruvar Namakku Iruvar), Simran was smiling for all the right reasons in 1998, which eventually won her the crown of 'kavarchi kaNNi' of 1998. While ThuLLaadha Manamum ThuLLum bags the dough at the box office, Simran anxiously awaits Udhaya with Vijay, T.N.Seshan, Manivannan under former Maniratnam Assistant and debutant director Azhagam Perumal, Agaayam with Murali under Nagaraj's (Dhinamdhorum) direction, K.T.Kunjumon's very tardy production, Kodieswaran with his son Ebi in the lead. Smart Simran.. KaatruLLa pOdhe Thuttri koLgiraar!..

Complete Results (Best Actress)

1. Simran
2. Shalini
2. (tie) Aishwarya Rai
3. Kausalya
4. Roja
5. Isha Gopikar
6. Devayani
7. Kushboo
8. Suvalakshmi
9. Meena
10. Maanu
10. (tie) Kavitha
10. (tie) Richa

Kannedhiray ThondrinaaL
Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai
Unnidaththil Ennai Koduthaen
Kaadhal Kavidhai
Thulli Thirindha Kaalam
Kaadhal Mannan
Kaadhalae Nimmadhi
Uyirodu Uyiraaga


5    Sasi..   Difficult times bring about the best directors in tamil tinsen town and that holds true for Sasi as well.  Having left his native village to move to Chennai in search of a job in cinema is a pretty standard scenario these days.  But neither Sasi nor R.B.Choudhri probably understood the magnitude of Sollaamalae's story and its overall effect on movie goers and box office grosses.  To many who shrugged off Sollaamalae as just another Oru Kai Osai, maybe you just missed out on something!..   In a year where a stunning 20 directors made their debut in tamil cinema, to see Sasi in the Top 5 directors in the poll, by itself, is a huge step forward in the right direction.

4    K.S.Ravikumar..   Does anyone actually know the secret to KSR's success?  If you do, then you have probably guessed it to be his impeccable mastery of the family sentiment drama over the years. Ravikumar has made everything from Naattaamai, Puriyaadha Puthir, Purusha Latchanam to pathetic attempts like Muthu KuLLikka VariyaLaa and Kondattam.   Yet, fans always bounce back to support films like Nattpukkaaga, which did record business in 1998, when just about every other film fell on its face.  The immediate future looks incredibly promising, as KSR has successfully completed Rajanikanth's Padaiyappa, awaiting release on Tamil New Year's Day (April 14, 1999).  As you can probably assume, regardless of Padaiyappa's outcome, KSR will continue featuring his speciality for this century: family sentiment masalas.

3    Cheran.. He continues to be one of the most promising younger directors that tamil cinema has seen in recent time.  Despite Desiya Geetham's contrived story telling on occassion, Cheran tries hard to bring light to important issues that concern normal people walking on the street.  With a few years of experience under his belt,  he might show all the signs of taking Bharathiraja's reins in the very near future for village background subjects.  But that's not all Cheran wants to try his hand at.  His next venture titled En Iniya Kadhalargalae is a city-based love story to be produced by Pyramid Natarajan, stars Prasanth and newcomer Shivani, alongside Nasar and Raghuvaran and music by Deva.   

2    Fazil.. This Malayalam film director was more busy clearing up the mess left by the Harikrishnans, a Malayalam film which was the focus of a law suit for releasing the film two different climaxes.  But his Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai released in December '97 had a distinct appeal unlike so many films based on the love theme.  Vijay, Shalini and Srividya (at her best in recent time!) all built a wonderful story up to a very acceptable and welcome climax to tamil cinema - all credit should go to Fazil, who is currently working on yet another venture with Vijay and Shalini playing the lead pair.  The rest is left for you to watch on the silver screen!.  

And the Best Director of 1998 is:

Director Shankar1    Shankar.. He has NOT failed to amaze us even once!.. and it has been four films already.  His ability to think of something fresh and original for each of his films has made Shankar a name to admire (and fear in Kodambakkam!).  Even Rajini made it a point to tell Shankar that he would like advanced notice if Shankar were planning to release his next film, Mudhalvan on Tamil New Year's Day to avoid clashing with Padaiyappa.   With Jeans having done well at the Chennai box office, Shankar has promoted himself to proprietor of S Films, which produces Mudhalvan starring Arjun, Manisha Koirala, Shilpa Shetty and many others.  Shankar's aasthaana technicians with the exception of K.V.Anand (first time cinematographer for a Shankar film!), Music Director A.R.Rahman, Vairamuthu, Raju Sundharam and Farah Khan are also present.  A comparatively low budget flick by Producer/Director Shankar comes to the theaters sometime in 1999.

Complete Results (Best Director)

1. Shankar
2. Fazil
3. Cheran
4. K.S.Ravikumar
5. Sasi
6. Bharathi

Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai
Desiya Geetham

Complete Results (Best Supporting Actor)

1. Nasar
2. Karan
3. Raghuvaran
4. Ajeethkumar
5. Vijayakumar
6. Nagesh
7. Ranjith
8. Nagaraj
9. Gemini Ganesan

Kannedhiray ThondrinaaL
ThuLLi Thirindha Kaalam
Unnidaththil Ennai Koduthaen
Desiya Geetham
Naam Iruvar Namakku Iruvar

Complete Results (Supporting Actress)

1. Radhika
2. Srividya
3. Lakshmi
4. Manorama
5. Renuka
6. Sitara
7. Priya Raman

Kannedhiray ThondrinaaL
ThuLLi Thirindha Kaalam
Unnidaththil Ennai Koduthaen
Desiya Geetham

Complete Results (Comedian)

1. Manivannan
2. Ramesh Kanna
3. S.V.Sekhar
4. Vivek
5. Charlie
6. Goundamani
7. Vaiyapuri
8. Dhamu
9. Chinni Jayanth
10. Janakaraj

Desiya Geetham
Unnidaththil Ennai Koduthaen
Naam Iruvar Namakku Iruvar
Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai
Aval VaruvaaLa
ThuLLi Thirindha Kaalam
Kannedhiray ThondrinaaL
Kavalaippadaadhe Sagothara

Complete Results (Dialogue Writer)

1. Balakumaran
2. Crazy Mohan
3. Cheran
4. K. S. Ravikumar
5. Gokulakrishna
6. Sujatha
7. R.N.R.
8. Suresh Bala

Kaadhalaa Kaadhalaa
Desiya Geetham
Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai
Kannedhiray ThondrinaaL
Pudhumai Piththan
Naam Iruvar Namakku Iruvar

Complete Results (Cinematographer)

1. Ashok Kumar
2. Santosh Sivan
3. Thangar Bachan
4. Anandakuttan
5. Ilavarasu

Kannedhiray ThondrinaaL
Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai
Ninaiththen Vandhaai

Complete Results (Playback Singer - Male)                          Complete Results (Playback Singer - Female)

1. Hariharan
2. S.P. Subrahmanyam
3. Unnikrishnan
4. Sukwindar Singh
5. Krishnaraj

1. Harini
2. Chitra
3. Sujatha
4. Nithyasree
5. S. Janaki

Complete Results (Lyricist)                                                    

1. Vairamuthu
2. Pazhani Bharathi
3. Vaali
4. Agathiyan
5. Vasan
6. Arivumathi

Complete Results (Song) 

1. Ennai Thaalaatta Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai Ilaiyaraja
2. Kannodu Kaanbadhellam Jeans A.R.Rahman
3. Thayya Thayya Uyire A.R.Rahman
4. Adhisayam Jeans A.R.Rahman
5. Edho Oru Paattu Unnidaththil Ennai Koduthaen S.A.Rajkumar
6. Poovukkellaam Uyirodu Uyiraaga Vidyasagar
7. Kaasumelae Kaadhalaa Kaadhalaa Karthik Raja
7. (tie) Nee Kaatru Nilaave Vaa Vidyasagar
8. Vaanum Mannum Kaadhal Mannan Bharadhwaj
8. (tie) Nadodi Paattu Harichandra Agosh



4  (tie) Karthikaraja.. Ilaiyaraja's son had a tough year in 1998 with neither Naam Iruvar Namakku Iruvar nor Kaadhalaa Kaadhalaa receiving the praise that he had expected.  With the exception of the song Kaasumalae, Karthikraja had a washout year, which resulted in him turning to hibernation for the last six months of 1998.  There is word that KR might be singing in Bharathiraja's Taj Mahal under A.R.Rahman's music, yet no concrete news confirming this!.   Honestly, no cause for KR to be cheering this year either - he has not signed to compose for a single tamil film or maybe nobody wants to sign him anymore! :-(

4    Deva..   Some may say that Deva lost some ground in 1998 as a music director as both Vidyasagar and S.A.Rajkumar steadily brought their act together.  Still Deva walked away with honors of composing for the most number of films of 18 for 1998 compared to 32 from 1997.  But only two of Deva's albums had the audience actually tapping their feet this year.  One was Ninaiththen Vandhaai (remake of the Telegu film, Belli Sandhadi) where Deva was accused of lifting every single tune from Keeravani's (Maragadhamani) compositions for the original Telegu film.  The other was Kannedhiray Thondrinaal: Sivashakthi Pandiyan's big hit of the year (somehow Deva has a soft corner for all of Pandiyan's productions!  He tends to score better than average songs for his films).  Nattppukaaga, Unnudan and Guru Paarvai with one or two good songs, was not enough to sustain audience interest in the albums.

3   (tie) S.A.Rajkumar..  One of the victors in the race for the top music director spot in 1998.  With AvaL VaruvaaLaa, Unnidaththil Ennai Koduththaen, a few songs from Ponmanam and Marumalarchchi, S.A.Rajkumar had his way with listeners this year.  People who were tired of Deva's churn-style music, turned to SAR at the right time.  Though many still accuse Rajkumar to repeatedly copying his own tunes and recycling songs, there still seems to be a quiet following for him.  With the recent ThuLLaadha Manamum ThuLLum to this credit, this might be Rajkumar's year to tentatively attempt to capture Deva's throne.

3    Vidyasagar..   Hard to believe that Vidyasagar won third spot in this poll.  Last year, he did not even receive one vote for his music and this year, the response has been overwhelmingly in his favor.  He showed good signs with melodious and jana ranjakka songs in all of his films, Uyirodu Uyiraaga, Nilaave Vaa and Thaayin Manikodi.  With songs from Ananthakrishna releasing in early 1998, but no signs of the film, and the Edhirum Pudhirum album releasing recently, Vidyasagar is associated with one major project this year titled Pooparikka Varugirom, a small film that stars two newcomers, Ajay and MaLavika (Unnai Thedi debutant!) and Sivaji Ganesan star with direction by A. Venkatesan (Mahaprabhu, Nilaave Vaa)

2    A.R.Rahman.. The conservative that ARR is, who would have thought that he would sign 14 films and bring them one after another from the beginning of 1999?  Well, that seems to be his strategy for the new year and so far, let's recollect, including the newly released En Swaasa Kaatrae, we have Taj Mahal, Kaadhalar Dhinam, Sangamam, Udhaya, Rhythm, Engineer, Mudhalvan, Padaiyappa, Mudhal Mudhalaaga, Rajeev Menon's new film, Murali Manohar's new production with Director Praveen Gandhi, a whole load of Hindi films to add to the mixture and a separate album for Sony with the Bharathiyar songs which he has been working on for quite sometime now.  Now you see that ARR has become busier than ever after all the dancing and singing his fans did for songs from Jeans and Uyire (Dil Se)!..  Doesn't look like Mr. Rahman is slowing down for anyone or anything in 1999!.. Only time will tell!..

And the Best Song of 1998 is:

Ilaiyaraja1    Ilaiyaraja..   IR composed for exactly ten films last year, of which Kanngalin VaarthaigaL, Poonthottam, Dharma, Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai (December '97) and Kaadhal Kavidhai won the laurels that IR has been long awaiting.  Hariharan's first singing experience under Ilaiyaraja might have been a great moment for HH, but a much bigger one for the fans who flocked to music stores to buy the KM album in the hoards into the first six months of 1998.  Nobody expected that Ennai Thaalaatta VaruvaaLaa would really thaalaattu-fy and shokku-fy so many so remarkably.  Hats off to Ilaiyaraja as 1999 awaits a lot more goodies, including Agaayam, Rajasthan, Time, Chinnadurai, Nilavae Mugam Kaattu, Kelviyin Naayakan, Kummi Paattu and more!..


Complete Results (Best Music Director)

1. Ilaiyaraja Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai
2. A.R.Rahman Jeans
3. Vidyasagar Uyirodu Uyiraaga
3. (tie) S.A.Rajkumar Unnidaththil Ennai Koduthaen
4. Deva Kannedhiray ThondrinaaL
4. (tie) Karthikraja Kaadhalaa Kaadhalaa



* The top five films in the TTV Awards Poll this year achieved a unique distinction that Kodambakkam can be proud of for 1997-98.  All five films crossed the hundred day mark in Chennai and Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai was the only film to celebrate a silver jubilee for the entire year, 1998 (which is actually a depressing statistic, but regardless, one that we can proud of!).

5    Unnidaththil Ennai Koduthaen.. Vikraman's highly underplayed, under-marketed film in 1998 but clean and pure as a Vikraman film could possibly be.  Major turning point film for Roja and Ajeethkumar as both have been looking for a jump start for the past couple of years.  The biggest leap is for Ramesh Kanna, who played Karthik's sidekick in the film and eventually won a promotion to direct his own film, Thodarum, which released recently.  Vikraman is a happy man once again, despite being a slow poke, making eight films in eight years. Triumph all year for Lakshmi Movie Makers' with Priyamudan and UEK.

4    Sollaamalae.. A proud moment for Producer R.B.Choudhri as he unveiled his ninth debutant director to the world through Sollaamalae, a sensible and sentimental love story (the tested and improved kind) that pulls on all the heart strings forcefully.   Strong performances from Livingston and Kausalya alongside a great comedy track led by Vivek, make this a memorable film that you might not mind seeing again soon!..  New Music Director Bobby's composition, Sollaadhe Solla Sollaadhae also keeps reminding you of Ilaiyaraja and the good old days.  A heavy movie but told in a clean, tasteful and enjoyable fashion!.. Another of R.B.C.'s gems.

3    Jeans.. THE entertainment riot for 1998 and probably for many years to come on video and DVD, with the camera and Director Shankar taking you to every important place in the world, with a skeleton dancing and dozens of dancers in just about every song, the movie was itself the biggest wonder for Chennai-ites this year.  The movie did not fare as well as predicted, but did pull in repeat audience, especially for the songs and their picturization.  A strong team of producers including Ashok Amritraj (U.S.A.) and Dr. Murali Manohar (India) with a thinking masala-loving man's director, Shankar at the helm, just about everyone remained happy with the outcome when Jeans was nominated as India's submission to the oscars for 1998.  If this team were to ever rejoin hands again, surely all the eyebrows will raise once again in overblown expectations :-)

2    Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai..  The film that even we thought would win hands down the poll this year, expect for the underdog that cashed in at the last minute. (We will talk about Number 1 a little later!)  A turning point unlike any before for Actor Vijay who has road rolled competition ever since.  KM strengthened tamil cinema's belief that there was such a thing as a silver jubilee celebration after the dismal financial situation Kodambakkam has been in, since 1997.  Srividya became a force to contend with in the supporting actress arena and been in demand ever since.  Actually, Fazil remains the same, almost unchanged by the fame and fortune the film generated.  He moves on to his next venture with KM only as a pleasant memory, not being pressured by its overwhelming success.  Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai also served as a pedestal with one huge step up for Ilaiyaraja, who had quietened down considerably until its release.  Once in a while, family dramas that are worth a penny or two, actually surface in tamil cinema and Kaadhaluku Mariyaadhai was one of them.   If you missed it, you may want to find out why!

And the Best Film of 1998 is:


Prasanth and Isha in "Kaadhal Kavidhai"

1    Kaadhal Kavidhai..  Call it an underdog or a dark horse or whatever to describe a film with a remote chance to beat Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai at the polls.  No doubt Kaadhal Kavidhai had its share of excellent technical qualities and talented artists, but the fact that it narrowly edged out Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai to be the Best Film of 1998 still puzzles us.  The Kaadhal Kottai story has been reworked by Agathiyan for Kaadhal Kavidhai, but so fashionably with astute use of dialogue and situations.  With even stronger performances from Prasanth, Isha Gopikar, Charlie, Rajeev and Srividya (than Ajeethkumar, Devayani, exception: Heera (easily overshadowing Kasthuri in Kaa. Kavidhai), Indhu and 'Thalaivaasal' Vijay), and a nice background score from Ilaiyaraja, Kaa. Kavidhai is still rocking box offices in Chennai.  There is something about LOVE that tamil cinema can't get enough of, maybe you might never get enough of Kaa. Kavidhai too.  Check it out!...




Complete Results (Best Film)

1. Kaadhal Kavidhai
2. Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai
3. Jeans
4. Sollaamalae
5. Unnidaththil Ennai Koduthaen
6. Desiya Geetham
7. Nattppukkaaga
8. Kannedhiray ThondrinaaL
9. Harichandra
10. Dhinamdhorum
10. (tie) Uyirodu Uyiraaga


My Sources: Cinema Express, Dhina Malar.