Top 7 underrated Tamil movies that everyone needs to watch right now: Aaranya Kaandam, Iraivi to Dhanush starrer Pudhupettai

If you’re planning to watch some entertaining flicks, then surely check out these top underrated Tamil movies that everyone must watch at least once!

Published on May 14, 2024  |  07:21 PM IST |  72.2K
Top 7 underrated Tamil movies that are a must-watch: Aaranya Kaandam to Pudhupettai
Top 7 underrated Tamil movies that are a must-watch: Aaranya Kaandam to Pudhupettai (PC: Pinkvilla)

Are you a fan of Tamil cinema, and are you always trying to explore the realms of stylish filmmaking and epic dialogues? Well, if so, you are in for a treat in the arsenal of picks we have sorted out today, which are underrated among the general audience.

The Tamil film industry not only has massive and big-scale action movies starring superstars but also offers some cinematic gems with their realistic movies. So here are some of the best underrated Tamil movies you have to watch right now!

Top 7 underrated Tamil movies

1. Aaranya Kaandam (2010)

  • Cast: Jackie Shroff, Ravi Krishna, Sampath Raj, Yasmin Ponnappa, Guru Somasundaram, Master Vasanth, Boxer Arumugam, Sai Dheena, Ajay Raj
  • Genre: Noir Action
  • Where to watch: Disney+ Hotstar
  • IMDb rating: 8.5/10
  • Timeline: 2 hours and 33 minutes

A must-watch underrated Tamil film if you enjoy noir-style gangster films is the Thiagarajan Kumararaja debut directorial flick, Aaranya Kaandam. The film focuses on the tale of six protagonists led by Jackie Shroff as the aging but feared gangster, Singaperumal.

Despite being in his old age for the game, he tries to win over his arch-nemesis, Gajendran, but his plans start to unravel. The rest of the film is filled with incidents that open a pandora’s box and how his plan to overthrow his enemy becomes a dog-eat-dog situation.



2. Iruvar (1997)

Iruvar still (PC: IMDb)

  • Cast: Mohanlal, Prakash Raj, Aishwarya Rai, Revathi, Gautami, Tabu, Nassar
  • Genre: Political Drama
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Disney+ Hotstar
  • IMDb rating: 8.4/10
  • Timeline: 2 hours and 20 minutes

A Mani Ratnam classic that might be well-known among cinephiles but still underrated by the general audience is the film Iruvar. Starring Mohanlal and Prakash Raj in the lead roles, the movie tells the tale of two friends, Anandan and Tamizhselvan.

Anandan is an aspiring actor in the late 1940s who struggles to find any good acting jobs in Madras, where he meets his best friend, Tamizhselvan. Tamizhselvan is a rationalist writer who deeply believes in Dravidian ideas, and with the help of his writing, Anandan lands his initial film roles, making him a superstar. The rest of the movie focuses on how power, money, and reputation come in between the individuals and their friendship, creating a wedge between them.

Interestingly, the movie is inspired by the lives of late Tamil Nadu Chief Ministers M Karunanidhi, MG Ramachandran, and J Jayalalithaa. The film also marked the first on-screen appearance of Aishwarya Rai.

3. Aayirathil Oruvan (2010)

Aayirathil Oruvan still (PC: IMDb)

  • Cast: Karthi, Reema Sen, Andrea Jeremiah, R Parthiban, Pratap K Pothen, Azhagam Perumal 
  • Genre: Action Adventure
  • Where to watch: Sun NXT
  • IMDb rating: 8/10
  • Timeline: 2 hours and 22 minutes

An underrated and still left to be explored by many audiences is the Tamil movie Aayirathil Oruvan, directed by Selvaraghavan. The film features the story of three people, Muthu, Anitha, and Lavanya, who set out on a journey to find the latter’s father, Chandramouli, who was on the brink of discovering an insane archaeological truth but went missing. In their journey, the trio discovers prophetic truths about themselves along with mindblowing twists, making it one of the best-underrated movies in Tamil.

The movie is said to be loosely inspired by the historical decline of the Chola dynasty and the rise of the Pandya dynasty. A sequel film called Aayirathil Oruvan 2 headlined by Dhanush was announced back in 2021 but has been delayed for unclear reasons.


4. Uriyadi (2016)

  • Cast: Vijay Kumar, Mime Gopi, Citizen Sivakumar, Chandru Kumar, Henna Bella, Jeyakanth Velu
  • Genre: Political Thriller
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Disney+ Hotstar
  • IMDb rating: 7.9/10
  • Timeline: 1 hour and 40 minutes

Headlined, written, and directed by Vijay Kumar, the movie Uriyadi offers a highly engaging political thriller unlike any before in Tamil cinema. This underrated Tamil movie tells the tale of four bachelors who lead a carefree life set in the 1990s.

However, their lives take a turn when they get involved in a political fight based on caste orchestrated by corrupt politicians, which further reveals the mutual connections they share. The film not only offers a well-written screenplay, acting, and action sequences but also has a goosebumps-filled soundtrack and balanced editing.

5. Iraivi (2016)

  • Cast: SJ Surya, Vijay Sethupathi, Bobby Simha, Kamalinee Mukherjee, Anjali, Pooja Devariya, Karunakaran, Radha Ravi, Vadivukkarasi 
  • Genre: Crime Thriller
  • Where to watch: Jio Cinema
  • IMDb rating: 8/10
  • Timeline: 2 hours and 40 minutes

Iraivi, which translates to Goddess, is an underrated Tamil movie written and directed by Karthik Subbaraj. The film focuses on the story of three men who are struggling financially and get involved in criminal activities in order to improve their status. However, in doing so, they inadvertently impact the women in their lives, forcing them to become independent from these men.

If you love to watch SJ Suryah and give a mind-boggling performance as an alcoholic filmmaker, with the film also offering a reflection on the self-threatening male personification of pride and honor, then surely watch this gem of a movie.

6. Aandavan Kattalai (2016)

  • Cast: Vijay Sethupathi, Ritika Singh, Pooja Devariya, Nassar, Yogi Babu, A Venkatesh, Singampuli 
  • Genre: Satirical Comedy Drama
  • Where to watch: Sun NXT
  • IMDb rating: 8/10
  • Timeline: 2 hours and 31 minutes

A fun and satirical underrated Tamil movie directed by M Manikandan is the 2016 Vijay Sethupathi starrer Aandavan Kattalai. The film features the tale of Gandhi Arumugam, an accountant in Chennai who faces a lot of debts and wants to move to London to pay them off. While applying for a visa, two middlemen advise him to apply as a married person, prompting him to name his fake wife, Karmeghakuzhali.


However, Gandhi’s visa was rejected, causing him to take up an acting job in a drama group. His life changes as he becomes the lead in the show, although now he has to correct his passport to perform in London itself. To rectify this, he must now undergo a fake divorce with some girl of the same name.

7. Pudhupettai (2006)

  • Cast: Dhanush, Sonia Agarwal, Sneha, Azhagam Perumal, Bala Singh, Prudhvi Raj
  • Genre: Crime Action
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Disney+ Hotstar
  • IMDb rating: 8.4/10
  • Timeline: 2 hours and 59 minutes

A movie that attained cult status in later years since its release is the Dhanush starrer Pudhupettai, directed by his brother Selvaraghavan. The film features the story of Kokki Kumar, a slum-dwelling student from Pudhupettai who runs away from his area and is later taken in as the right-hand man of a dreaded gangster.

In his service to the gangster, Kumar rises to the high ranks of the North Chennai underworld, making more than enough enemies around him. A staple in crime movies of Tamil cinema, Pudhupettai is a must-watch, with an unhinged Dhanush giving a banger performance.

All these movies mentioned above are surely a must-watch if you’re a movie lover. For anyone looking for some underrated Tamil films, then these are the best to pick out from, with many more still existing in the industry, left to be explored.

ALSO READ: South movies releasing this week: Kajal Aggarwal starrer Satyabhama to Prithviraj Sukumaran's Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil

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About The Author

Goutham S is a native of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. A writer for a few years now, particularly following Indian


Credits: Pinkvilla/IMDb

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