Vijay Sethupathi in 96; Dhanush in Vada Chennai: Ten best performances from Tamil cinema in 2018

Surendhar MK

Dec 28, 2018 17:25:29 IST

2018 has been a roller-coaster year for Tamil cinema with content-driven films headlined by newcomers and popular stars striking gold at the box-office. The year, which was marred by a historical 50-day-long strike due to a standoff between Tamil film producers and digital service provider Qube, has produced a string of stellar performances from debutants as well as established actors like Vijay Sethupathi, Dhanush, Trisha, and Keerthy Suresh to name a few. Here's the best of 2018 in performances:

1. Kathir - Pariyerum Perumal

Still from Pariyerum Perumal

Still from Pariyerum Perumal

Actor Kathir, who showed great promise with an assured performance in 2015's critically acclaimed drama Kirumi, turned in the best performance of 2018 through Pariyerum Perumal, helmed by debutant Mari Selvaraj. Kathir essayed the titular role in the film with great conviction and consummate ease. His portrayal as the oppressed Pariyan effortlessly made every viewer invest in the character and empathize with him. From shutting his eyes in anguish when his father gets humiliated in the college to running at lightning speed in the opening sequence to rescue his dog Karuppi, Kathir exhibited supreme verve and zeal needed to represent Pariyerum Perumal on screen.

2. Keerthy Suresh - Nadigaiyar Thilagam

Keerthy Suresh in a still from Mahanati. YouTube

Keerthy Suresh in Nadigaiyar Thilagam.

Keerthy Suresh delivered the performance of a lifetime with Nadigaiyar Thilagam (Mahanati) directed by Nag Ashwin. Essaying the titular role of Savitri in the critically and commercially acclaimed biopic, Keerthy Suresh walked the extra mile by dubbing in her voice for both the Tamil and Telugu versions to lend more weight to the role. With her expressive body language, Keerthy navigated the ups and downs in Savitri's life with a determined performance.

3. Antony - Merku Thodarchi Malai

Antony, who appeared in a blink-and-you-miss role in Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu, put on a breakthrough debut lead performance in director Lenin Bharathi's true-to-life story Merku Thodarchi Malai. His aching performance made the audiences believe and relate to the struggles of landless laborers in the Western Ghats in a hugely underrated film produced by Vijay Sethupathi.

4. Dinesh Kumar - Oru Kuppai Kathai

Although Oru Kuppai Kathai reeked of melodrama and contrivances, choreographer-turned-actor Dinesh Kumar churned out an impactful performance as Kumar. His role as a sanitary worker struggling to cope with the extramarital affair of his wife (played by Manisha Yadav) and win her love by compassion was just outstanding.

5. Vijay Sethupathi - 96, Seethakathi

A still from 96. Image via Twitter

A still from 96. Image via Twitter

After grappling with consecutive box-office debacles in Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren and Junga, Vijay Sethupathi turned the tables with back to back hits and brilliant performances in Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, 96 and Seethakaathi. While Vijay Sethupathi is known for his versatility and thoroughly unpretentious performances in a wide range of films, a full-fledged romance film was an unexplored genre for him before 96 hit screens. From pining with unrequited love in 96 to playing the role of a septuagenarian stage-play artist with great panache in Seethakaathi, Vijay Sethupathi proved once again that no other contemporary actor in Tamil cinema collaborates on diversified genres of films in quick succession.

5. Nayanthara - Kolamaavu Kokila

2018 has been an excellent year for Nayanthara, as her films Kolamaavu Kokila and Imaikkaa Nodigal set the cash registers ringing at the box-office. Pushed into the world of cocaine smuggling to save her mother who has lung cancer, Nayanthara played the role of a drug peddler with a gritty performance. She found strength in her humor and brought the roof down with an uber-cool attitude. Her laid-back charm was undiminished by Nelson Dilipkumar's world of grey characters. She embraced the shades of grey in Kokila with aplomb and won the hearts of audiences.

7. Dhanush - Vada Chennai

A still from Vada Chennai. Image via Twitter/@sridevisreedhar

A still from Vada Chennai. Image via Twitter/@sridevisreedhar

Through the character of Anbu in Vada Chennai, an aspiring carrom board champion, Dhanush demonstrated once again his penchant for author-backed roles. While Vetrimaaran extracted the best out of Dhanush in previous associations like Pollathavan and Aadukalam, Vada Chennai brought out the understated brilliance of Dhanush's incredible acting prowess.

8. Saravanan - Ratsasan

Supporting actor Saravanan produced the most surprising performance of the year in Ratsasan, where he played the role of villain Christopher. Essaying the role of a person afflicted with Werner syndrome by undergoing the grueling makeover session, Saravanan's deadly act as Christopher sent a shiver down the spine of audiences.

9. Aishwarya Rajesh - Vada Chennai, Kanaa

First look of Kanaa. YouTube

First look of Kanaa. YouTube

From mouthing expletives with her uninhibited performance as Padma in Vada Chennai to spearheading a women-centric film Kanaa where she played an aspiring cricket player, Aishwarya Rajesh proved that her ascent to stardom was no fluke. She once again lived up to the reputation of starring in content-led films which demand solid performances.

10. Anurag Kashyap - Imaikkaa Nodigal

In his debut role as the antagonist in Imaikkaa Nodigal, Anurag Kashyap delivered a menacing performance as serial killer Rudra. His cat-and-mouse game with Nayanthara, who played the role of IPS officer Anjali, was intriguing and Kashyap's histrionics as Rudra made the proceedings more entertaining.

Honorable Mentions: Andrea in Vada Chennai, Poorna in Savarakaththi, Prakash Raj in Sila Samayangalil.

Updated Date: Dec 28, 2018 17:25:29 IST