New Delhi: 2022 has been a year of breaking records for the highest-grossing films and creating a huge pre-release buzz worldwide in the South Indian film industry. With the originality in their plots, extraordinary production quality, enthusiastic viewers, and popular actors, South Indian movies started gaining more popularity since the release of ‘Baahubali.’
There have been a handful of Bollywood films, like ‘Brahmastra,’ ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’ and ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi,’ which made headlines and garnered a lot of praise from the public this year. However, several South Indian regional movies captured people’s hearts and proved that Bollywood needs to reinvent itself and up its game.
Here is a list of some South Indian films that are a must-watch, according to IMDb.
Star cast: Ram Charan, N. T. Rama Rao Jr., Ajay Devgn, Alia Bhatt, Ray Stevenson, Alison Doody, Olivia Morris
Director: S. S. Rajamouli
Genre: Action, Historical drama
After ‘Baahubali: The Conclusion’ stunned the audience in 2017, Rajamouli won at the box office once more with the release of ‘RRR. Even though the story focuses on two historical revolutionaries, the plotline remains fictional. A commercial, action drama about the friendship between Ramaraju (Ram Charan) and Bheem (Jr NTR), this movie shows that brotherhood runs deeper than blood. With catchy songs and choreographies, the audience stays entertained throughout the duration of this action-packed film. ‘RRR’ has also surpassed ‘Muthu’ to become the highest-grossing Indian film in Japan.
2. K.G.F: Chapter 2
Star cast: Yash, Sanjay Dutt, Raveena Tandon, Srinidhi Shetty, Anant Nag, Ramachandra Raju
Director: Prashanth Neel
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
With ‘K.G.F: Chapter 1’ being the highest-grossing film of 2018, there was already quite a buzz around its sequel, and those expectations were certainly met. After killing Garuda, the story of Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) continues with its new overlord, Rocky (Yash). However, Rocky’s happily ever after is far from over, with the government viewing him as a threat and the brutal killer Adheera (Sanjay Dutt) on his tail. There is no dull moment in the almost 3-hour movie with the constant twists and turns, and drama. After being released in multiple languages, ‘K.G.F. 2’ has only been on the upward slope of popularity.
Star cast: Kamal Haasan, Vijay Sethupati, Fahadh Faasil, Narain
Director: Lokesh Kanagaraj
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Starring the powerhouse actors of South Indian cinema and a cameo by Suriya, ‘Vikram’ is an espionage-filled sequel to the 1986 movie of the same title. A perfect mix of the suspense in a spy film and the violence in an action movie, the plot revolves around Karnan (Kamal Haasan), who is a special agent and is assigned to uncover a group of masked men committing mass murder, calling it a “war against the system.” In the process of discovering these men, Karnan also reveals the many layers of his identity as the movie progresses. With a worldwide gross of approximately Rs 425 crores, ‘Vikram’ is definitely a momentous film in the history of South Indian cinema.
Star cast: Rishab Shetty, Kishore Kumar G., Achyuth Kumar, Sapthami Gowda
Director: Rishab Shetty
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Kantara is an action, mythology, and thrill film directed, written, and starring Rishab Shetty. The second-highest grosser of all time after ‘KGF2,’ this movie became a hot topic of discussion not only amongst the general public but also celebrities. ‘Kantara’ begins by being set in the 18th century, when the King gave a piece of land to the villagers in order to protect his peace and joy. Then the scene cuts to a few decades later at a Bhoota Kola (traditional dance) where the power of local deities is showcased. There is a leap again, and the audience is brought to the present situation, where Shiva (Rishab Shetty) stands up for the entire village with the support of the king’s descendant (Achyuth Kumar). However, a death provokes a war between the villagers and mythical evil forces, and it comes down to Shiva restoring peace in the village again. The film displays excellent performances by the entire cast and keeps the audience invested, with comic relief and emotional undertones.
5. 777 Charlie
Star cast: Rakshit Shetty, Charlie, Sangeetha Sringeri, and Raj B. Shetty
Director: Kiranraj K
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama
It is impossible to not be in tears after watching this movie. Opening with the quote “If you are lucky, a dog will come into your life,” ‘777 Charlie’ is about the friendship between Dharma (Rakshit) and a dog (Charlie). Dharma meets a friend who has the polar opposite personality, despite having a brutal destiny, no one to provide any kind of support, and struggling with negative thoughts. She is full of life, naughty, and a turning point in his life. Charlie gradually becomes everything to Dharma. There is an underlying message of ‘adopt, don’t shop’ in the film too, as it showcases the struggles of dogs at breeding places.
6. Sita Raman
Star cast: Dulquer Salmaan, Mrunal Thakur, Rashmika Mandanna, Sumanth
Director: Hanu Raghavapudi
Genre: Romance, Drama, Action
A periodic drama, ‘Sita Ramam’ explores beyond the genre of romance through this love story by showing that humanity comes above wars and the so-called lines that we have termed boundaries. Afreen (Rashmika Mandanna) travels to India from London in order to locate Sita (Mrunal Thakur) and hand her a letter that was written 20 years ago by none other than Ram (Dulquer Salmaan). There she is taken back to 1964, when pen pals Sita and Lt. Ram, belonging to ‘different worlds,’ fell in love. Underneath the romantic story of the star-crossed lovers is a deeper meaning that addresses the stigma of “them and us.” Although some parts of the movie can be seen as illogical, Raghavapudi still delivers a moving film.
Star cast: Pranav Mohanlal, Kalyani Priyadarshan, Darshana Rajendran, and Vijayaraghavan
Director: Vineeth Sreenivasan
Genre: Drama, Musical, Romance
If you have completed your college life, this movie will definitely take you down a road of nostalgia and make you reminisce about the good old days. In a heartwarming coming-of-age drama, Arun (Pranav Mohanlal) experiences love at first sight after seeing Darshana (Darshana Rajendran) when he joins an engineering college in Chennai. However, this romantic journey isn’t all rainbows and sunshine, as breakups and heartaches are part of the discourse. The second half of the movie focuses more on how certain discoveries about life during college impact the protagonists as they move forward with their lives.
8. Rocketry: The Nambi Effect
Star cast: Madhavan, Simran, Rajit Kapoor, Ravi Raghavendra
Genre: Biography, Drama
A biopic directed and starring Madhavan himself, ‘Rocketry’ is based on the life of ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan, who is known for his contribution to the project ‘Mission Mangal’. It gives insight into the various challenges the scientist has faced, especially after being framed for treason and then arrested. Although he is free now, there are labels attached to his name to this day, which he continues to justify. As a first-time filmmaker, Madhavan takes on an unconventional role to tell a story outside of many people’s comfort zones and makes sure to deliver it in the right manner, highlighting how it took 20 years for the government to free Narayanan from this claim.
9. Love Today
Star cast: Pradeep Ranganathan, Ivana, Yogi Babu, Raveena Ravi
Director: Pradeep Ranganathan
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Drama
One of the most realistic films filled with witty dialogue and flawed characters, ‘Love Today’ is based on a scenario where a young couple, Pradeep and Nikitha (Ivana), exchange phones for a day, and a series of events follow after that. Both the partners discover some dark secrets about one another, with each half of the movie focusing on one of them, but the main question is whether they will still be able to find their way back to each other after these rather interesting discoveries.
Star cast: Adivi Sesh, Prakash Raj, Revathi, Saiee Manjrekar
Director: Sashi Kiran Tikka
Genre: Action, Biography, Drama
‘Major’ is based on the life of an officer in the Indian Army, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, who got killed in action during the deadly 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai. The late officer was awarded India’s highest peacetime gallantry award, the Ashoka Chakra. Although this movie is a fictionalised account of his life, it is still heartbreaking as the narration is done through the eyes of the protagonist’s father (Prakash Raj). Along with the action choreography and sweet romantic story, the film’s emotional appeal makes it quite poignant.