From China Visiri to The Affair, ten Tamil short films that deserve your time and attention

The idea of hitting the right mark in the world of short films is currently riding on the wings of fancy due to the success of shows like Naalaya Iyakunar (a talent hunt where people make short films) and cheap internet plans that make even silly YouTube videos go viral.

Aspiring filmmakers are strictly following the paths laid down by filmmakers like Karthik Subbaraj (Pizza, Jigarthanda, Iraivi), and Nalan Kumarasamy (Soodhu Kavvum, Kadhalum Kadandhu Pogum). They believe that the YouTube hits will reflect on their resumes and help them walk into the offices of production houses to have discussions regarding their features.

This has been happening for quite some time now and the industry folks are pretty happy with the way this method is turning out. Let’s hope that more original voices emerge through this medium.

Here is a list of 10 Tamil short films in which filmmakers cross the boundaries of the limiting factors (money, locations, etc) that plague them. They are romantic, heart-warming, funny, and silly.

China Visiri: If Slumdog Millionaire popularized the slums and people living in the grand margins, China Visiri looks at a similar, yet different, story with a new eye. The short takes us through the routine of two appalam (papad) selling boys. The boys might be beating up each other one minute but in the next, they are seen talking about something else altogether. There’s also a couple that puts a spin to the divide between the rich and the struggling.

Nanba: Nanba is a children’s short film wherein two boys study hard to get the badge of the class topper. It’s the sort of competition we all would have faced during our adolescent years. The competition need not have been academic-oriented only. It could have been in sports, extra-curricular activities, and maybe even anti-social activities. Nanba doesn’t try to make a point with a large brush. It just brings the naivety of school boys to the screen.

Chronos: Balaji Mohan, the director of Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi, Vaayai MoodiPesavum, Maari, and the web series As I’m Suffering From Kadhal, made short films before jumping into the field of feature films. One of his earlier works, Chronos, deals with the subject of time travel in a funny manner. His regular collaborator Arjunan features in the short as a small time criminal who reverses the handles of the world clock for his advantage.

En Iniya Pon Nilave: En Iniya Pon Nilave is the kind of love story that one would narrate to one’s friends. In this short film too, there is one person narrating a story to another. Some would call the film ‘cute’, whereas some would call it ‘foolish’; nevertheless, this film is on this list as it is neat. The film has been shot and presented in a viewable manner. You wouldn’t have to close your eyes and wonder about the engulfing stupidity.

Mugaputhagam: Mugaputhagam came at a time when love stories revolved around social networking sites (mainly Facebook). Sivakarthikeyan and Sathish, who star in the short, are big names in Tamil cinema today, as a lead and a supporting actor respectively. They have starred in several feature films since then. Mugaputhagam’s director, Atlee, is equally a big name in the filmmakers’ category. This particular short deals with the positives and negatives of strangers connecting over a chat room.

App(a) Lock: App(a) Lock is a hilarious take on modern-day relationships. When a girl tells her father that she likes a boy, the father, without shifting a wrinkle on his face, asks his daughter to bring her boyfriend home. The father gives the boy and his daughter a simple task to complete. But, it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever done!

Thirantha Puthagam: Thirantha Puthagam is a classic locked-room murder mystery. In fact, one of the characters asks if the person investigating the case (a lawyer) is Sherlock Holmes. A middle-aged man is killed and his son (who was in the room on the night of the murder) is sent to jail. The film reveals the dark secrets of the real murderer in 32 minutes.

7 Adi: We all know the one person we hate in the theatre. Yes, that one person who does not stop talking. He talks on the phone, he talks with the person sitting next to him; he even talks to the air around him. If your wish is to silence that man, 7 Adi gives you an excellent idea you can try.

Highway Kaadhali: Highway Kaadhali is a fantasy comedy. It comes from a genre that isn’t usually seen on the big screen, or the small screen. Though the angle of fantasy is the backbone of this film, there are no special effects. The dialogues are filled with ridiculousness. Still, they work because they bring the laughs.

The Affair: Whenever the word “affair” pops up, we either laugh out loud or cringe in disgust. The Affair totally stands out from the crowd by not indulging in such clichés. It scratches the human mind gently, along with leaving the viewer asking for clues in the dark. Here’s a question for you: What would you do if you found out that your father was having an affair?

Which one is your favorite short film?

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