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Thanks to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's efforts to curb video piracy, more Tamil films made money compared to previous years. But unlike Bengali or Malayalam cinema, Tamil filmmakers prefered the beaten path, rarely experimenting with either themes or presentation.

That could be the reason why Tamil films do not win National Awards. Technically though, Tamil films are far superior to most other regional language films.

2004 was significant for Tamil cinema as, after a long gap, Tamil actor Vikram won the Best Actor award at the national level, for his performance in Bala's Pitamahan.

rediff.com looks at the 10 Best Tamil films of 2004.

Virumaandi
Director: Kamal Haasan

The honour for best Tamil film of 2004 goes to Virumaandi. Though made in the commercial format, the film was different in its presentation.

Kamal, along with his brother Chandra, produced the film. He also wrote, directed and played the main role.

He said he wanted to convey the message of non-violence through a violent film. Virumaandi is an extremely violent film -- full of blood, gory deaths, mutilated bodies and abusive language. But the film does convey the intended message. It is gripping and well executed.

What is interesting is the film's narrative. The story of Virumaandi is told in flashback through the eyes of two people, Virumaandi (Haasan) and Kotthalathevar (Pasupathy), both lodged in the Chennai central jail.

The film did excellent business. Kamal also won a couple of international awards.

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Design: Uday Kuckian | Text: Shobha Warrier



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