The critical and commercial success of Dada proved that the audiences of Tamil movies are always willing to embrace well-made feel-good films with open arms. With star-led actioners dominating the space, simpler films about have taken a back seat. Dada (the Kavin starrer is streaming on Amazon Prime Video), which effectively managed to balance humour and seriousness, is a reminder that warm, light-hearted films that cheer us up at the end of a long day are essential.
Here we list out 10 must-watch Tamil films streaming on Amazon Prime Video that are guaranteed to leave you feeling optimistic about life:
A Tamil feel-good films list is incomplete without a mention of Anbe Sivam. Kamal Hassan’s meditative take on a wide array of themes such as humanity, God, communism and consumerism, to name some, is one for the ages. It grows on us upon every viewing. Anbe Sivam starts out as a comic caper exploring the disputes between two diametrically opposite humans: Sivam (Kamal Haasan) and Anbarasu (R Madhavan), whose paths cross during a natural calamity and have to embark on a journey from Bhuvneshwar to Chennai. The film quickly evolves into an epic philosophical odyssey exploring one of the most profound questions facing mankind: Does God exist? While the film was a box office failure upon release, there is no doubt that the Sundar C directorial is a gold standard for poignant Tamil films that tug at our heartstrings.
Alaiypayuthe is a rare entry in the canon of mainstream Tamil romantic cinema: a film that showcases the breezy, vivacious nature of college romance while also exploring the complications that arise in relationships after marriage. It ticks all the boxes for a Mani Ratnam film: incredible songs, a brilliant AR Rahman score, and picture-perfect frames by PC Sreeram. Add Madhavan and Shalini's electric chemistry to Mani Ratnam's filmmaking finesse, and what we have is one of the coolest romantic films ever made in Tamil. It’s a testament to the incredible power of the film that even two decades after its release, the film proves to be a refreshing watch upon every revisit.
Michael Madana Kama Rajan is a classic in every sense. A gold standard for inventive, humourous filmmaking, featuring arguably the funniest performance from Kamal Haasan, who also penned the screenplay. The film is a comedy of errors involving identical quadruplets, separated at birth, and the mayhem that follows when their paths cross. Directed by Singeetam Srinivas Rao, the movie is a masterwork of comic staging that's yet to be replicated with the same amount of creativity.
Kandukondain Kandukondain brims with warmth and vibrance in every frame. Inspired by Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, the film follows two sisters, Sowmya (Tabu) and Meenakshi (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) who are polar opposites of each other, and the complications that arise when their perspectives on life change after falling in love. Rajiv Menon brilliantly adapts Austen’s novel to the Tamil milieu, even creating the scope for AR Rahman to come up with an incredible array of songs that render the film timeless.
The film that put Mani Ratnam on the map as a unique mind in Tamil cinema, Mouna Ragam, was groundbreaking for its time. On the surface, it's the story of a couple in a forced arranged marriage, but look closer, the real conflict is alienation: both the physical and spiritual. Divya (Revathi) is yanked out of Chennai and has to live with her new husband, whom she isn't particularly fond of, in the unfamiliar city of New Delhi, having left her past behind. The film pushes the envelope in more ways than one, particularly for its portrayal of a fully fleshed-out female protagonist who has agency and isn’t afraid to speak her mind. Despite some harshness in the story, the film ends on a cheerful note.
Sandwiched between Indian and Mudhalvan, two of the most iconic Shankar films, is Jeans, a film that possesses the verve and charm of the late 90s in the best way possible. The film features a brilliant AR Rahman soundtrack, picturesque locations, an ambition to look and sound modern, and of course, some good old melodrama done right. The premise may be a bit wacky, but what makes the movie work is the finesse and quality of filmmaking on display. Despite being over three hours long, the runtime flies by. While Prashanth and Aishwarya Rai’s performances may appear over the top by today's standards, there is still enough innocence, quirk and appeal to keep even the millennials hooked.
Most romantic films revolve around the aspect of lovers fighting against all the odds that threaten their bond. Dum Dum Dum subverts this trope, as the film deals with two people who do everything possible to avoid getting married to each other. Yet another Maddy entry on this list, the film might not be as iconic as the other entries of the actor featured on this list, yet it still finds a spot ascribed to the perfect balance of humour and drama the story manages to strike.
Vasanth's Rhythm is one of those rare critically-acclaimed, crowd-pleasers that has aged beautifully. This poignant, emotional tale is about two people who find love after losing their partners in an accident. The casting is the biggest strength of this film, with Arjun and Meena underlining the vulnerability and sensitivity of their characters brilliantly. Unlike conventional mainstream films, it’s not just the lead characters who shine, even Jyotika and Ramesh Arvind are impactful as the partners of the leads.
Some films deserve to be watched purely to reminisce about a time long gone by. Even though some aspects of Kushi might have dated, it still is enjoyable, mostly attributed to the sheer charm of its leads, Vijay and Jyotika. A boy meets girl story may seem as regular as it gets, but what happens when their ego does not allow them to confess their love to each other?
Yet another remake that doesn't retains the essence of the original. An adaptation of the 2015 Malayalam film Charlie, Maara plays out like a fable, with every scene exuding a sense of magic that complements the spirit of the original while also being distinct in tonality. If you haven't seen the original, the film's visual treatment will surely keep you engaged. The film follows the story of Paaru (Shraddha Srinath), who comes across paintings of a fairytale she heard as a child in Kerala and sets out on a journey to find the artist behind them. Her path leads her to Maara (Madhavan) and the lives he has touched over the years. Shraddha Srinath and Madhavan essay their characters brilliantly, making this warm and visually striking film a special watch.