2011: When Tamil cinema ruled with 'Kolaveri di' and films

The year gone by in Tamil cinema will be best remembered for Dhanush's 'Kolaveri di' sensation, which not only brought the actor into limelight but also became one of the most hummed songs of 2011.

The year also saw Tamil superstar Rajinikanth suffer a health scare, which left his millions of fans worried. 'Why this Kolaveri Di' (Why this murderous rage Girl?), a Tanglish song in Dhanush's unpolished voice, set the virtual world on fire and introduced the actor to the entire nation.

Dhanush's effortless Tamil slang interspersed in English lyrics soon became a national rage, earning him a fan like Amitabh Bachchan and a critic in Javed Akhtar, who seemed less amused with the song's popularity.

But the elder son-in-law of Rajinikanth struck an instant chord with the youth across the country with the song, directed by wife Aishwarya for his upcoming film '3'. Dhanush also shared the best actor award for 'Aadukalam' (Playground) with Salim Kumar of 'Adaminte Magan Abu'.

Saranya Ponvannan, a yesteryear heroine who had paired opposite the likes of Kamal Hassan, shared the best actress award with Marathi actor Mitalee Jagtap Varadkar. Saranya was chosen for essaying the role of a widowed mother Veerayi in the critically acclaimed 'Thenmerku Paruvakattru'.

Rajinikanth starrer 'Enthiran' was selected for the best visual effects at the national awards, making it a grand year for the multi-million Tamil film industry. The superstar fell ill while shooting his upcoming film 'Raana'. What started as a simple case of dehydration and exhaustion, turned out to be a reported kidney ailment, forcing Rajinikanth to fly to Singapore for treatment.

Prayers were held by the fans for the speedy recovery of their 'Thalaivar' (Leader), who was admitted to two different hospitals in the city before being taken to Singapore.

Upon gaining his health, the 62 year-old Rajinikanth acknowledged that it was his fans' prayers and goodwill that kept him in good shape. Another top star and a contemporary of Rajnikanth, Kamal Hassan had a relatively silent year. He has been busy with his mega-budget 'Viswaroopam'.

The two other big actors of Tamil cinema -- Ajith and Vijay, did not disappoint their fans. Vijay, who had suffered a string of flops over the last two years, managed to recapture lost ground with 'Velayudam,' touted to be a family entertainer with all necessary ingredients.

The stylish Ajith came out with a different venture, 'Mankatha' where he played a cop with negative shades. The film deals with the illegal betting racket with the story based in Mumbai in the backdrop of a cricket league. This was the actor-turned-racer's 50th film.

The 9th edition of the Chennai International Film Festival (CIFF) saw its share of controversies. An alleged boycott of two critically acclaimed films 'Senkadal' (the Dead Sea) and 'Thenmerku Paruvakattru' saw the Tamil Cinema Directors Association threatening to boycott the event. The movies were later squeezed into the schedule to avoid further controversy.

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