15 Tamil Films That Dealt With Love Triangles Before Kaathu Vaakula Rendu Kadhal

As Vijay Sethupathi’s KRK releases today, here are some of Kollywood's most interesting love triangles from the 90s to the present

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Be it the ‘Two Two Two’ song or the leads Vijay Sethupathi, Nayanthara and Samantha recreating the Titanic pose with a triangular touch, Kaathu Vaakula Rendu Kadhal (KRK) is promoted as a fun love triangle story.

The love triangle concept is not a fancy new idea in Tamil cinema. From Rajinikanth’s famous Padaiyappa to Dhanush’s Yaaradi Nee Mohini and the recent Dulquer Salmaan’s Hey Sinamika, Kollywood has time and again explored the three-lovers-caught-in-a-tangle concept with different plots. Here is a list of celebrated Tamil films that incorporate the famous love triangle concept similar to Vignesh Shivan’s KRK.

Minsaara Kanavu (1997)

Starring Prabhu Deva, Kajol and Arvind Swamy, Minsara Kanavu is an entertaining musical love triangle film. Kajol’s character wants to become a nun. Arvind Swamy, who loves her, sends Prabhu Deva as a cupid. When Prabhu Deva tries to change Kajol’s mind, things get complicated as they both fall in love with each other.

The score by AR Rahman was a hit and went on to receive many awards. The film received mixed responses from the critics but was a biggie at the box office. It is available on Amazon Prime Video.

Muthu (1995)

A landlord and his most trusted servant fall for the same girl. With trust issues and revelations of secret pasts, the plot moves from who loves whom to the blurring identity between the landlord and the servant. Starring Rajinikanth and Meena, Muthu was a remake of the Malayalam film Thenmavin Kombath (1994). It was dubbed in Japanese and remade in Kannada too. You can watch the film on Netflix.

Kadhal Desam (1996)

Kadhal Desam is about the friendship between Karthik and Arun, who are from different social classes and how their relationship turns hostile when they both fall for the same girl. The film’s success led to a new wave of youth-oriented stories in the late 90s. The song ‘Mustafa Mustafa’ by AR Rahman is still celebrated as one of the most iconic friendship songs. It is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Padaiyappa (1999)

Padaiyappa is arguably one of the most popular love triangle films. It is about how the hero regains his lost wealth and fights off people around him who are greedy and jealous. With the central conflict driven by wealth, Rajinikanth, Soundarya and Ramya Krishnan are caught in a tangled love triangle that triggers jealousy and revenge. It gave Tamil cinema one of the strongest female villains, Neelambari, played by Ramya Krishnan. You can watch the film on YouTube.

Shahjahan (2001)

Shahjahan has Vijay play a cupid who unites lovers. He falls in love with an engineering student named Mahee but does not confess his love. Parallelly, he helps his friend win the heart of an unknown girl, who happens to be Mahee herself. When he learns the truth towards the climax, he is put in a difficult position of having to sacrifice his love. Presented as a compelling tale of romance and friendship, it explores the pain of one-sided love and a mysterious love triangle. You can watch the film on Jio Cinema.

Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000)

Directed by Rajiv Menon, Kandukondain Kandukondain is based on the novel Sense and Sensibility. The story navigates through the lives of two sisters played by Tabu and Aishwarya Rai. In the form of a family tale, the film talks about female independence, war heroes and bad luck. Amidst this is the love triangle involving Aishwarya Rai, Mammootty and Abbas where the former goes through betrayal and breakup to find her true love. The film is available on Amazon Prime Video.

Ninaithen Vandhai (1998)

In Ninaithen Vandhai, the characters played by Devayani and Rambha fall for Vijay. But the plot twist is that they both are sisters. The film then takes a sentimental turn where both sisters are ready to sacrifice their love. The central conflict is entirely focused on the love triangle and is nothing new, but good music and performances keep the audience entertained. The film is available on Jio Cinema.

Yaaradi Nee Mohini (2008)

Mithran Jawahar’s debut film Yaaradi Nee Mohini is a remake of the Telugu film Aadavari Matalaku Arthale Verule. It presents the simple concept of Vasu (Dhanush) falling in love with his boss Keerthi (Nayanthara), who happens to be the fiance of his close friend Cheenu. As her marriage date inches closer, Keerthi also realizes her love for Vasu but fears that it will affect her family’s happiness.

The film has notable supporting characters played by Raghuvaran, Karthik Kumar, Sukumari and others who add more humour and sentiment to the film. You can watch the film on Jio Cinema.

Unnai Ninaithu (2002)

Unnai Ninaithu stars Suriya, Laila and Sneha. When Suriya helps his ex-lover, there seems to be a chance for them to patch up. Meanwhile, there is another woman who waits for over five years to marry Suriya. Caught up between his past and present, what Suriya does takes the film forward. Though Unnai Ninaithu has a predictable plotline and some lengthy comedy scenes that don’t work, it was a huge success and was remade in Telugu and Kannada. You can watch the film on Amazon Prime Video.

Kutty (2010)

Dhanush plays Kutty, a happy-go-lucky guy, who falls in love with Geeta (Shriya Saran). But Geeta is already in a relationship with the college rowdy Arjun. The film portrays the incessant efforts of Kutty as the one-sided lover who tries to build a bond with his crush.

Directed by Mithran Jawahar, it is a remake of the Telugu film Arya. But unlike his debut film Yaaradi Nee Mohini, which was also a remake, Kutty failed to match the energy of the original. It was majorly due to slow narration and the romances that don’t really connect. Both Kutty and Arya are available on Jio Cinema.

Roja Kootam (2002)

Ilango falls in love with Mano. But he later learns that his friend Sriram and Mano are in love. Already heartbroken, Ilango is asked to look after Mano until Sriram returns from Libya. Due to some events, Ilango and Mano live under the pretext of being lovers. How he battles his feelings and who ends up together form the rest of the plot. Though the long climax and predictable scenes in the second half slow down the film, the narration and performances make it a good watch, if not great. Starring Srikanth, Bhumika and Akash, Roja Koottam is available on Jio Cinema.

Sillunu Oru Kaadhal (2006)

Sillunu Oru Kaadhal travels along two timelines featuring the marriage life of Suriya and Jyothika and the college romance that Suriya shares with Bhumika. The happy life of the married couple is disturbed when Jyothika learns about his past and Bhumika comes back pursuing her lost love.

Exploring intimate relationships and how time and situations change things, the film presents us with an engaging romantic drama. The mood of the film is best captured by the songs ‘Munbe Vaa’ and ‘New York Nagaram’ that manages to rule many hearts to date. It was also later dubbed in Telugu and Hindi. You can tune into Sony Liv to watch the film.

Poove Unakkaga (1996)

Raja, played by Vijay, gets to know that the girl he loves is already in love with another man. When he learns that there are some disputes between their families, he decides to take it upon himself to unite them. Considered a breakthrough in Vijay’s career, the film also talks about religious beliefs and interfaith marriages. The film was a blockbuster and was remade in Telugu, Kannada and Hindi. With a mix of romance, emotions, comedy and drama, the film is a pleasant watch and is available on Jio Cinema.

Oh My Kadavule (2020)

Oh My Kadavule is a refreshing rom-com featuring Ashok Selvan, Ritika Singh and Vani Bhojan. Ashok and Ritika play two childhood besties who get married. But Ashok does not have romantic feelings for Ritika. When he meets his childhood crush, there is a sudden surge of unexplainable emotions and a possible romance blooms. The couple then decides to call it quits and reach the court’s gate.

But thanks to some mystic appearances, Ashok gets the luxury of a second chance at love. Whom does he choose to love forms the rest of the story. Oh My Kadavule is a modern tale of love, marriage and romantic affairs with surprising plot twists, pleasant music and a feel-good plot. Watch this film on Zee5.

Hey Sinamika (2022)

A more recent example of the love triangle formula in Kollywood is Hey Sinamika. Starring Dulquer Salmaan, Aditi Rao Hydari and Kajal Aggarwal, the film narrates how a married woman falls out of love with her husband and tries to set him up with another woman. What starts as a serious ploy by Aditi to get freed from the clutches of her husband quickly turns into a yearning for his love and companionship.

Hey Sinamika is a whirlwind of emotions that does not fully translate into action. Though it sets out to talk about relationships and individual space, the writing loses track. The film is still worth a watch owing to good performances by the actors and the visual aesthetics it offers. You can watch Hey Sinamika on Netflix.

Which films would you add to this list?

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"Harshini S V: Harshini's ambitions shifted with every character she saw on screen. One day it finally hit her that it wasn't the characters she was fond of but the films in totality. Be it conversation over a coffee or endless rants, she loves bringing in film references. A journalism graduate, she found her love for writing and films carve out a path together.."
  
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