Andha Naal To Thupparivaalan: 9 Quirky Tamil Detective Thrillers to Watch

Harshini S V

Andha Naal (1954)

Andha Naal could arguably be the first detective film in Kollywood. Set in 1943, during World War II, the film traces the murder of radio engineer Rajan (Sivaji Ganesan), a day after three consecutive bomb blasts take place in Madras. For a film that is almost 70 years old, Andha Naal remains a thoroughly engaging affair.

Thupparivaalan (2017)

Mysskin’s take on detectives is both cliched and layered. In a stark lonely house, detective Kaniyan Poongundran’s attitude, the dark gloomy lighting and shaky camera movements often remind you of Sherlock Holmes. But there are a lot of Myskkin-isms as well in both writing and framing that make this a satisfying thriller.

Cheena Thaana 001 (2007)

What if a layman like us who is interested in investigative thrillers becomes a detective? Perhaps we would share a lot of similarities with Tamizharasu from Cheena Thaana 001 (yes, it’s inspired by James Bond 007) — amateurish, excited and ready to fight any big obstacle.

Vallavan Oruvan (1966)

Detective thrillers are sparse in Kollywood today but it was a favourite genre in the 60s, thanks to Jaishankar, known fondly as Thennakathu James Bond (South Indian James Bond). Having acted as a detective officer in a slew of films, Vallavan Oruvan, which is based on the French Film Shadow of Evil (1964), is one of his most prominent investigative thrillers.

Thegidi (2014)

Detectives are, for sure, skilled people who have a sharp eye for details. But what if someone lures them and uses their skills to do evil deeds? Similar to Ashok’s recent outing Por Thozhil, Thegidi focuses on the investigation, while also exploring how his character understands the dangers of the crime world and comes to terms with the demands of his job.