Bollywood's saving grace in 2021 has been Shershaah, a film that people from around the world loved. However, we can safely say that apart from - maybe 2, the rest of the Bollywood releases in 2021 have ranged from unbearable to just blah. Which is why, thanks to streaming services, many of us switched to regional cinema and struck gold. 

The highlight of 2021 have definitely been some of these movies from the Tamil film industry that were refreshing and broke ground, not just in India. 

Source: Amazon Prime Video

The Tamil legal drama, Jai Bhim made a mark internationally by becoming the highest rated film on IMDb, ever. The Suriya starrer is based on a true incident in 1993, which involves a case fought by Justice K. Chandru and focuses on the caste divide in the legal system. Suriya's brilliant acting skills coupled with an unapologetic script definitely set this film apart. 

Source: Amazon Prime Video

But that isn't all, Sarpatta Parambarai, a film about boxing and the politics that grew behind it in the 1970s in North Chennai, has everything it takes to tell a great story. Starring Arya, who completely transformed himself for this film, this film took on a delicate subject like clan politics and made a gritty and honest sports film that we couldn't look away from. And don't even get us started on the soundtrack, Neeye Oli was stuck in our heads for days!

Source: Amazon Prime Video
Source: Amazon Prime Video

Apart from these films, we had Karnan and Mandela, which explored different aspects of a small town's workings. And Maara, which was a romantic remake done right and gave us a soft and soothing romance for the soul. 

Source: Netflix
Source: Amazon Prime Video
Source: Amazon Prime Video

However, the film that definitely made a mark is Nayanthara's Netrikann, a remake of the South Korean film Blind, which showed her as an ex-police cadet who lost her eyesight. Nayanthara's portrayal of a woman who becomes the only witness to a serial killer, coupled with Ajmal Ameer's groundbreaking performance as a barbaric murderer with no remorse, this movie is bound to leave you with chills. 

Source: YouTube
Source: YouTube

From brilliant storytelling to the initiative to try something new, Tamil cinema has proven in 2021 that it is ready to do so much more than just a cliche boy-meets-girl action romance film. Moving out of its comfort zone, we're so glad we got to see a new side of what the Tamil film industry is capable of.