Best Political Awakening Movies in Tamil Cinema

Tamil Nadu is one state where cinema and politics go hand-in-hand. Political Cinemas hold a special place in the hearts of  Movie buffs and Leading Kollywood stars are keen on acting in political genres as it architects their stardom and clicks well with the masses. From movies like Amaidhi padai to Sarkar, they have invariably made a strong political statement, taking upon the issues of people, and even making fun of the leaders who use their money and power to have people vote in favor of them. Political Satire and Politically preachy movies have always made it big in the box and rakes in the moolah for producers.

Now being the season for politics, I present you with a list of remarkable Tamil cinemas with the best political storyline. These movies have made the headlines with their hard-hitting social messages, politics-based story plots, and witty political dialogues that have echoed with the masses becoming cult movies. Now is the good time to go back on the timeline to invoke the magic of these political movies. 

  • Iruvar (released in 1997)- “The Political masterpiece of Two historical leaders” 

The film Iruvar is the story of a struggling actor Anandan (Mohan Lal) and a scriptwriter Tamilselvan (Prakash Raj) who strike a friendship while fighting for the same political cause. After the death of their party leader, they become raging rivals clashing for the chair of leadership. The film was made on the lives of M.G Ramachandran and M.Karunanidhi and their political aspirations in Tamil Nadu post-independence. Director Mani Ratnam brings these two political peaks of Indian history into the frames of his movie. The movie starts with two leaders showing their idealism and social upliftment dream towards downtrodden people of Tamil Nadu but with gaining of power, domination, fame, and wealth turn them a blind eye. It transitions from an inspirational leader to a dirty politician who consumes the Dravidian land. With an intense screenplay and a magnificent cinematic take, who among these two friends gets to the chair of leadership and who bites the dust forms the rest of the story. 

Never miss out on this raw and politically brilliant real-life masterpiece for knowing the harsh reality of Tamil Nadu politics. 

  • Mudhalvan (1999)- “The leader in a commoner” 

Director Shankar made this blockbuster movie with Actor Arjun Sarja as the lead with Manisha Koirala, Raghuvaran, Manivanan, Vadivelu, and a big list of stellar cast that made the entire Indian audience turn their heads admiring the storyline. The story of the film is about Pugazhendhi (Arjun) who decides to accept the challenge of becoming a chief minister for Tamil Nadu for a single day. What happens when a common man becomes the chief minister for a day? How does political responsibility affect the life of a common man? What happens to the personal and professional life of Pugazhendhi?- The answer to all these questions unravel in the rest of the story. The depiction of Raghuvaran playing the role of a wicked chief minister who tricks Pugazhendhi to accept the challenge was critically appreciated among the movie buffs. In this suspense political thriller, Director Shankar has successfully managed to voice out the issues of the general public and the attributes expected from a leader to lead this generation. 

Watch this movie to get reminded of what qualities a leader must possess and you will enjoy the interview scene featuring Arjun and Raghuvaran as it is a nail-biting sequence. 

  • Ayutha Ezhuthu (2004)- “A Political Awakening in a Student’s Life” 

It is a triangular story from the directional brilliance of Mani Ratnam. The story of the film depicts the intersection of the lives of three different individuals- A rowdy (Madhavan) who wishes to make it big in his life, a student leader (Surya) who struggles to have a clean college election without the interference of a local corrupt politician (Bharathiraja), and a rich guy (Siddharth) who wishes to go abroad and settle. All three lives happen to intersect at a bridge and how it changes their life individually or collectively is the rest of the story. With a promising cast, the director brings a tinge of love, family, and friendship mixed with politics to the viewers to enjoy this brilliant movie.

 Are you a youngster who has a political interest? Go ahead and start with this movie. 

  • Madras (2014)- “The war for wall politics in North Madras”

Director Pa Ranjith gives us a story of revenge from the life of Kaali (Karthi) who works in an IT firm trying to avenge the death of his dear friend Anbu (Kalaiarasan) by his political rivals for the dispute of pride over ownership of a wall in north madras. The conflict revolves around a 30 feet wall where the picture of a leader is painted. One faction tries to take back the wall while the others fight to retain it. The leader of two political parties is entangled in this turf war. The rest of the story is about how Kaali takes revenge for his friend’s death and how he reforms his locality shown in a gritty, raw, crisp narration and screenplay. The director showcases the practice of political parties trying to bring in a culture of violence among youths in the locality. 

Do watch this movie to relate to the politics dwelling in the street corners of your locality. 

  • Ko (2011)- “Nothing is Wrong in the Political Game”

It is the story of Ashwin (Jiiva) a photographer for a leading Tamil newspaper who covers the election news in the state. He grabs the attention with his timely exposing of wrongdoers with his photographs. With corrupt politicians Yogeshwaran (Prakash Raj) and Alavandhaan (Kota Srinivasa Rao), Ashwin exposes their true colors and indirectly favors his good friend Vasanthan (Ajmal) who starts a new upcoming party of educated youth, and eventually, Vasanthan comes to power. Is Vasanthan the real do-gooder or is everything as good as it seems to be? – forms the rest of the story. Director K.V Anand gives a thrilling and commercial political entertainer. 

This film will show you to never trust even your dear friend when it comes to politics.

  • Joker (2016)- “A strong Political Satire”

Director Raju Murugan gives us a brilliant political satire in the form of Joker. Mannar Mannan (Guru Somasundaram) is a middle-aged ordinary villager who wishes to call himself the president of the country. Villagers consider him as a lunatic as he questions the loopholes of democracy. What is his agenda and what makes him protest or question the government forms the rest of the story. With a fantastic performance from Guru Somasundaram, he drives the movie forward with his acting to bring out the shortfalls in the government. 

Watch out for this movie for harsh realities in our society. 

  • Amaidhi Padai (1994)- “An All-time political cult-classic”

The story revolves around Amavasai (Sathyaraj) who is witty and has mesmerizing speaking skills joins a political party under Manimaran (Manivannan). When Amavasai gets an opportunity to contest on behalf of Manimaran’s political party, he begins to show his true colors while gaining authority within the village and party. The depiction of transformation from Amavasai to Nagaraja Cholan is a masterpiece and the director (Manivanan) slays it with his genius screenplay. With this simple storyline, the movie turns out to be a political mastermind with the direction skills and charisma of the lead actor. There is a brilliant touch on socio-political topics like the misuse of political power, caste discrimination, violation of women’s rights, and ignorance of Tamil people. Director Manivanan gives a genius blending of these ideologies in a single character Amavasai. With all these elements infused into the plot, what does a man of such nature do for his people when he comes to power? It is a close mind game and guessing of sorts that makes this film a must-watch for all ages. 

Get ready for this political riddle (Amaidhi Padai) and watch it at GudSho to know the climax of this masterpiece. 

  • Makkal Aatchi (1995)- “Money makes a Politician”

The story of Sethupathi (Mammootty) being a common man finds a huge amount of money accidentally and he uses it to become a politician. It had a strong political milieu as it shows the idea of a common man wishing to become the chief minister of the state. Director R.K Selvamani gives a commercial and politically engaging story as he takes the story with aspirations and lets the consequences decide the rest of the story. 

  • Muhammad Bin Tughluq (1971)- “Take on politics from ancient times”

Even four decades after its release, this script seems very relevant in today’s electoral politics with its humor and unique content. Cho Ramasamy- the writer, the director, the actor of this movie is a contemporary visionary of Indian Politics. He helmed the play that inspired the movie as well. The story goes by Rangachari who unearths the graves of two historical characters, Mohammed-Bin-Tughlaq and Ibn Batuta. With both men being alive and happening to impersonate politicians in Madras, what happens with their identity forms will be the story that unfollows. 

  • Sarkar (released in 2018)- “The Power of a Single Vote”

Director A.R Murugadoss brings the story of Sundar Ramaswamy (Vijay) who is an NRI businessman returning home to cast his vote. He is shown as a corporate monster who sets foot in Tamil Nadu to do his electoral duty. But he finds his vote already cast, and he decides to investigate to fight for his voting right. With two corrupt politicians striving to block his path, How does he succeed? How far does he go? forms the rest of the story. 

Don’t miss out on this movie, as it is an eye-opener for valuing your voting rights 

Tamil Cinema can never be separated from politics as actors, producers, and directors cash in on this political mileage. With the audience having the mindset of celebrating political heroics on-screen, the success of such movies keeps echoing amidst the masses.

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Naresh Balachander

Naresh Balachander is a Content Marketer who specializes in Content Innovation and marketing campaigns. He is a former journalist and a social media strategist who is a motivational speaker of politics, people, and life. A voracious reader of poetry and philosophy with a persuasive skill to enthrall the audience.

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