11 must watch Tamil romantic films: From Mouna Ragam to ‘96

Romance is one of the most loved genres of cinema. Here are the top 11 must watch Tamil romantic films that are sure to provide the audiences with heartwarming moments.

Updated on Nov 08, 2023   |  06:52 PM IST  |  139.8K
Top 11 must watch romantic films in Tamil
11 must watch Tamil romantic films: From Mouna Ragam to ‘96 (PC. IMDb)
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Romance has been an integral part of the cinema in India, and romantic films have been a fan-favorite genre as well. Be it the Guru Dutt films in the 1950s, Gemini Ganesan, Sivaji Ganesan films in the 1970s and 80s, or even R Madhavan films in the 2000s, they all possess the ability to sway the emotions of the audience, making them tear up, smile, laugh, or even have a heavy heart. Here are the top 11 must-watch Tamil romantic films over the years:

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Top 11 romantic films in Tamil

1. Moondram Pirai (1982)

  • Director: Balu Mahendra
  • Cast: Kamal Haasan, Sridevi, YG Mahendran, Silk Smitha, Poornam Vishwanathan
  • Runtime: 2 hours 23 minutes

Moondram Pirai is a 1982 romantic drama film helmed by Balu Mahendra. The film revolves around a school teacher who rescues a woman suffering from retrograde amnesia, from a brothel. It talks about the woman slowly regaining memory over time. The vain love story between Viji and Cheenu gained widespread popularity at the time of release and has been considered one of the best Tamil romantic films to have ever been released. The song Kanne Kalaimaane from the film has received a cult status among cinephiles as well. The music composed by Ilayaraja helps bring a deeper outlook to the film as well. The film won several accolades and was remade in Hindi as Sadma in 1983 with Haasan, Sridevi, and Silk Smitha reprising their roles.


2. Mouna Ragam (1986)

  • Director: Mani Ratnam
  • Cast: Mic Mohan, Revathi, Karthik, VK Ramasamy, Ra. Sankaran
  • Runtime: 2 hours 26 minutes
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Mouna Ragam is undoubtedly one of Mani Ratnam’s most famous works. The film tells the tale of a college student, who is forced to marry against her wishes and her inner conflict between holding on to her past and coming to terms with the present. The film followed a unique style of storytelling, which kept the audience engaged throughout the film. The film is constantly praised for its music, which was composed by Ilayaraja, and the cinematography, which was handled by PC Sreeram.

3. Gunaa (1991)

  • Director: Santhana Bharathi
  • Cast: Kamal Haasan, Roshini, Rekha, SP Balasubrahmanyam, Girish Karnad, Janagaraj
  • Runtime: 2 hours 47 minutes
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

The Kamal Haasan starrer Gunaa is one of the first psychological romantic dramas in the country. The film shows the Vikram actor as a newly released psychiatric patient, who falls in love with a heiress, mistaking her to be the woman of his dreams. The film received multiple accolades at the time of release and has gained a cult status among cinephiles.

4. Roja (1992)

  • Director: Mani Ratnam
  • Cast: Aravind Swamy, Madhoo, Nassar, Janagaraj, Pankaj Kapur
  • Runtime: 2 hours 17 minutes
  • Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video

Mani Ratnam is known for his ability to make romantic films, and Roja is a perfect example. The story follows a girl from a village in Tamil Nadu, who is on a journey to find her husband who was kidnapped by militants during an undercover mission in Jammu & Kashmir. The film also marked AR Rahman’s debut as a film composer and even earned him the National Award for Best Music Direction. The film received much praise for its story, dialogue, cinematography, and music.


5. Thulladha Manamum Thullum(1999)

  • Director: Ezhil
  • Cast: Vijay, Simran, Manivannan, Ponnambalam, Dhamu
  • Runtime: 2 hours 50 minutes
  • Where to watch: YouTube

Thulladha Manamum Thullum was helmed by debutant director Ezhil. The film tells a simple tale of how two people overcome misunderstandings to embrace the feelings they have for each other. The film was widely successful and garnered positive reviews for its performances, screenplay, and music.

6. Alaipayuthey (2000)

  • Director: Mani Ratnam
  • Cast: R. Madhavan, Shalini, Vivek, Jayasudha, KPAC Lalitha, Azhagam Perumal
  • Runtime: 2 hours 36 minutes
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Aha

Alaipayuthey marks R. Madhavan’s Tamil debut. The film tells the tale of a married couple, and how their love grows over time, overcoming the various obstacles. Additionally, the film also has a philosophical undertone of traditionalism versus modernism. The film received positive reviews from fans and critics especially for the use of flashbacks as a medium to tell the story. The performances and the music by AR Rahman received praise as well. 

7. Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000)

  • Director: Rajiv Menon
  • Cast: Ajith Kumar, Tabu, Mammootty, Aishwarya Rai, Abbas, Manivannan, Srividya
  • Runtime: 2 hours 31 minutes
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Kandukondain Kandukondain is based on Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. The film follows two love stories, and how they get entangled due to fate. The film was well praised by both critics and audience, who also reiterated how the film encouraged female independence. Apart from that, the performances of the actors, as well as the music by AR Rahman garnered praise.

8. Vaaranam Aayiram (2008)

  • Director: Gautham Vasudev Menon
  • Cast: Suriya, Simran, Sameera Reddy, Divya Spandana, Ajay, Avishek Karthik
  • Runtime: 2 hours 49 minutes
  • Where to watch: Zee5

Vaaranam Aayiram marks the second collaboration between Suriya and Gautham Vasudev Menon after Kaakha Kaakha. The film has the actor playing dual roles, that of a father and a son, and the son reminiscing his moments with his dad, upon receiving the news of his demise. GVM dedicated the film to his father as well. The film received much acclaim for its storytelling, the uses of songs, as well as the music in the film, which was composed by Harris Jayaraj.


9. Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya (2010)

  • Director: Gautham Vasudev Menon
  • Cast: Silambarasan TR, Trisha, Babu Antony, Lakshmi Ramakrishnan, Subbalakshmi
  • Runtime: 2 hours 37 minutes

Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya, the immediate next film that Gautham Vasudev Menon made after Vaaranam Aayiram, was a major success among fans and critics as well. The film was a coming-of-age love story and was simultaneously shot in Telugu as well as Ye Maaya Chesave, with Naga Chaitanya and Samantha essaying the lead roles. The film was later remade in Hindi as Ekk Deewana Tha, as well.

10. O Kaadhal Kanmani (2015)

  • Director: Mani Ratnam
  • Cast: Dulquer Salmaan, Nithya Menen, Prakash Raj, Ramya S, Leela Samson, Vinodhini Vaidhyanathan
  • Runtime: 2 hours 19 minutes
  • Where to watch: Disney+ Hotstar

Mani Ratnam makes the list yet again, with his 2015 romantic drama film OK Kanmani. The film shows a young couple in Mumbai being in a live-in relationship and reflects the modern mindset of urban India. The film also showcased important conversations like marriage, traditional values, and more. The music for the film was composed by AR Rahman, while PC Sreedhar cranked the camera. The film became widely popular and was remade in Hindi as OK Jaanu, with Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor in the lead roles.

11. ‘96 (2018)

  • Director:  C. Premkumar
  • Cast: Vijay Sethupathi, Trisha Krishnan, Devadarshini, Janagaraj, Rajkumar
  • Runtime: 2 hours 38 minutes
  • Where to Watch: Aha Video

‘96 is undoubtedly one of the best romantic dramas to release in the 2010s. The film tells the story of two former lovers, from the batch 1996, who meet after 22 years. It addresses the various misunderstandings that stood in the way of them ever getting together. The film received widespread acclaim, especially for the cinematography, and the music, as well as the performances by Trisha Krishnan and Vijay Sethupathi.


ALSO READ: Top 10 Kamal Haasan films everyone needs to watch on Netflix, Prime Video and more

About The Author

A graduate in Economics, with heart made of cinema, Devasankar is vividly in love with world cinema! A true


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