Help Me Make a Chennai Shopping List!!!

Wonderful news!  My sister is going to Chennai!  And I’m not!  Which is perfect, because going to India makes me violently deathly ill to the point of not being able to get up off the floor, and my sister is willing to take a shopping list with her.  And you get to help me write it!

I don’t want to waste this opportunity, so I’m not going to worry about Hindi films, except for my few white whales.  No, I want to focus on Tamil and Malayalam and Telugu.  But not the “you might as well watch it, it’s on einthusan” Tamil and Malayalam and Telugu.  I want the “So brilliant you will want to own it in high quality DVD and watch it over and over movies”.  Or the “not available with subtitles streaming anywhere and you really should watch it” movies.

So, help me out!  What should I ask for?

Here’s what I’ve got so far:


  1. Tamanna (1997, Pooja Bhatt film about a girl raised by a Hijra)
  2. Arth (surprisingly hard to find!)
  3. Shahrukh Bole Khoobsurat Hai Tu (possibly never even released on DVD)
  4. Ittefaq (Not that hard to find, but probably cheaper in India)


  1. City of God
  2. Amen
  3. Angamaly Diaries ALL THE COPIES IN THE WORLD!!!!  I may start just handing it out to random strangers at film festivals until it gets appreciated. And probably cheaper to get all those giveaway copies from India
  4. Nayakan (Malayalam Lijo Jose Pellissery version)
  5. Double Barrel
  6. Chenkol (by golly I’m going to find out what happens after Kireedam!)
  7. Manichitrathazhu
  8. Spadikam
  9. Whole CID series
  10. Kamattipadam
  11. Kali
  12. Jacobinte Swarigam


  1. Nayakan (the Ratnam one)
  2. Every Mani Ratnam film available including Roja because I only have the Hindi dubbed version. But not Geetanjali because I just bought that from a 99 cent bin.
  3. Moodru Mudichu
  4. Kabali
  5. Every K. Balanchander movie that the guy behind the counter at the store recommends?  Is that safe? Or will he rip us off?



  1. Siva, original Telugu version not the remake
  2. Kshana Kshanam
  3. Eega
  4. 1: Nenokkadine
  5. Oopiri (not available with subtitles anywhere online!)


So, what am I missing? Of the variety “so good you absolutely will need it on DVD to watch over and over” or alternatively “super hard to find so getting it from India is your only hope”?


I’ll keep updating and re-posting my list as we go, I’ve got about three weeks to figure it out.

23 thoughts on “Help Me Make a Chennai Shopping List!!!

  1. It’s really hard to get a DVD copy of OK Kanmani. I wonder if she’ll be able to find that Mani Ratnam one! I’ve tried to find it online. You can buy the digital copy, I think, but I like my DVDs!


    • I do too! Even though they are slowly eating my apartment. I am considering moving to a one bedroom mostly because I need the additional DVD storage space.

      On Wed, Apr 5, 2017 at 1:10 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



    • I know! This is the 5th time my family has ended up going to India in May. Starting back in 1978 when my parents went there for a wedding, which was re-scheduled after they had already bought their tickets because everyone went “wait, why would we have a wedding in India in May?” This time it’s a work trip, so the schedule is what it is and she just has to make the best of it.

      But on the other hand, this means spending all her time in air-conditioned malls looking for DVDs to bring back for me is probably the best thing she can do. Oh! And BAAHUBALI 2!!!! Do you know if there is any chance it will show with English subtitles anywhere in Chennai?


      • no mam as far as I know there’s no English version screening in Chennai.but ask your sister to enquire when she’s in Chennai and by the way my suggestion
        in Telugu movies is to see shekar kammula and Krish’s movies like godavari,gamyam,anand. They are like the normal,cool family movies.


  2. Let me just caution you that, for the Telugu films at least, it’s really hard to find dvd’s (everyone expects you to watch online), and almost impossible to find older films, on dvd. This might apply to the older K. Balachander Tamil films, too. Also he made a lot of pathbreaking TV serials, too. Some of them might be on dvd.

    OK, here are some Telugu films ones considered classic: Sagara Sangamam (Kamal Hassan, Jayaprada, dir. by K. Viswanath) — be sure to get this original Telugu version and not the Tamil dubbed one.

    – Also by K. Viswanath — Shankarabharanam, the film that started him off on the classical music and dance genre. Also Swarna Kamalam (unless you’ve already seen it? I think you wrote about it once). Srutilayalu, Swati Mutyam (Kamal Hassan again — they were frequent collaborators).

    – Films directed by Bapu. There are quite a few. Do you want ones about social issues, or ones based on the Ramayana?

    — Mayabazaar. You can probably find the colorized version easily (it’s on youtube), but see if your sister can also pick up the original b&w version, too, even if it doesn’t have subtitles. Similarly, see if she can find one of the original Malleeswari film (made in 1951 or so). Again, there is no subtitled version of this available, but this film and Maya Bazaar are considered the undisputed “musn’t miss” classics of Telugu films. NTR made a lot of films based on the Mahabharata, playing various roles. If you’re interested in that type of films, I can recommend a bunch (the Cinema Chaat girls have reviewed some of them.)

    If you liked Guide, you might want to get dvd’s of some TV series also made from R. K. Narayanan’s books, especially one called Malgudi Days.

    I’d better stop, or your sister’s entire baggage allowance will be taken up with dvd’s, if she can find them that is.


    • I bought Mayabazaar online months ago when I saw it pop-up on sale, but I still haven’t seen it.

      The other suggestions are great though! From my experience of DVD shopping in India, if you go in with a generally direction like “any film by Bapu”, once you narrow it down to the ones that are all region with subtitles, it turns out being not that many. So the longer the list, the better!


      • OK, here are a few more relatively recent recommendations:

        – Grahanam
        – Mithunam

        Both of these are non-mainstream, somewhat “art” films, with well-known solid actors. Both are based on well known short stories.

        – Ashta Chemma — a full on commercial movie, delightfully funny, based on a well-known non-Indian literary work. You’ll recognize it soon enough, I think. It was also Nani’s debut movie.

        — I don’t know how many older films will be available on dvd’s. But I’d suggest getting any film of both Savitri or Bhanumathi (older generation actresses who were phenomenal). Though they are both Telugu, they both acted in Telugu and Tamil films with equal facility, so anything you can get a hold of in either language should be OK.


  3. Malayalam -Kilukkam ( Mohanlal, Revathy sirected by priyadarshan), Summer in Bethaleham ( Jayaram, suresh gopi, manju warrier, mohanlal), Paleri Manikyam ( Mammootty), Guru ( Mohanlal, Suersh gopi it is available in youtube), Munnariyppu ( Mammootty), Godfather ( Malayalam original of halchal), In harihar nagar ( Mukesh), To harihar Nagar ( Mukesh second part), Vietnam colony ( Mohanlal), Ramji Rao Speaking ( Hera pheri original) , Mannar Mathai Speaking ( Second Part), Swapna Koodu (Prithviraj, Jayasuriya, Kunchako boban), Thirakadha ( Prithviraj), Su Sudhi Vathmeekam ( Jayasuriya), Niram ( Kunchako boban), No 20 madras mail ( Mohanlal, Mammootty), Harikrishnans ( Mohanlal, Mammootty, Juhi Chawla)

    Tamil – Mozhi ( Prithviraj), M kumaran S/O Mahalakshmi (Jayam Revi, Genelia), Saroja


  4. Below are my favorite Malayalam movies that you don’t seem to have. The best part of Summer in Chennai is, there is bound to be less mosquitoes, and really Chennai functions better in heat than during rainy season. And there is no real winter… only a less hot period. So its a great time, I myself am going in a week.

    Thoovanathumbikal (Mohanlal), Moonnam Pakkam (Thilakan) << Both Directed by Padmarajan.

    Sandhesham (Sreenivasan & Jayaram), Nadodikkattu ( A Malayalees love this movie.. Mohanlal & Sreenivasan), Both these movies are Directed by Sathyan Anthikad.

    Vadakkunokkiyantram Directed by Sreenivasan


    • Thanks! Thoovanathumbikal is a great one. I was able to watch it on youtube, but only with great difficulty, and I would love to be able to see it again on DVD.

      On Thu, Apr 6, 2017 at 9:44 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  5. Please see if you can get hold of any of Padmarajan movies. Think you’ve watched two , and you liked it. Innale and Thoovanathumbikal. Most of his movies are still liked even after so many years. I would recommend Namukkuparkkan Munthirithoppukal, Moonnam Pakkam and Deshadanakili karayarilla.

    Sanal Kumar Sashidharan is another new malayalam director who’s earning a name in the international circuit. Recently his movie, Sexy Durga won the tiger at International Film Festival Rotterdam, the first for an Indian Film. His other movie Ozhivudivasathe Kali (An off day game) was also highly appreciated.


    • Thanks! I wouldn’t mind owning Innale either, although that one was pretty easy to find streaming. I may need to do some research on these suggestions, assuming my sister has limited luggage space and I have limited funds to pay her back, I may have to try to whittle this down to only the films that I truly cannot get anywhere else.


  6. Movies which became part of our culture
    Some are mentioned above so Iam not repeating again

    Starring mohanlal * sad

    Meesha Madhavan (2002)
    Dileep and kavya * fun

    Namukku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal (1986)
    Mohanlal * happy ending movie

    Perumthachan (1990)
    Thilakan * myth

    1993 film by Sangeeth Sivan
    Actor unknown to me * love story with sad ending

    1983 (2014)
    Nivin pauley * sports movie with no underdogs more about relationship between father and son

    The Car (1997)
    Jayaram * comedy

    Sadayam (1992)
    Mohan Lal *very very sad movie

    Veendum Chila Veettukaryangal
    1998 film by Sathyan Anthikad
    Jayaram comedy.drama

    Yathrakarude Sradhakku (2002)
    Comedy, Drama, Romance

    Sreenivasan special(written and directed

    Vadakkunokkiyantram (1989)
    120 min | Comedy, Drama

    Chinthavishtayaya Shyamala (1998)
    158 min | Comedy, Drama

    Thalayanamanthram (1990)
    135 min | Comedy, Drama


  7. Hi! I got to find your site around 6 months ago. Been following it ever since. Your enthusiasm, if that’s a suitable word to describe it, for Indian films is quite interesting to read about. Keep up the good work and all the best for your future endeavours too. You should also try to get the Kamal-Rajini starter “Aval Appadithaan”, a cult classic of sorts and also “Aaranya Kaandam” if possible.
    P.S. Thought these couple of interviews with Mani Ratnam would interest you:


    • Thanks for the kind words (and feel free to put in your information to get a greeting card from me on my thank you post!)

      And thanks for the recommendations and the interview links! My first reaction is “that is not what I thought Baradwaj looked like at all!”

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I hope I’m not too late.

    Chenkol spoiler * mildly depressing *

    I’ll second the Padmarajan recommendations.Namukku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal deals with the issue of abuse from a step parent, Desatanakkili Karayarilla is about to two school girls who run away from boarding school (one of whom is obviously a lesbian though the film doesn’t come out and say it openly), Moonnam pakkam deals with the relationship between a grand father and his grandson who gets lost in the sea.And you mustn’t miss Padmarajan’s last film Njan Gandharvan which is about a Gandharvan (Similar to Irish Sidhe) who falls in life with a mortal.All but one of the above films have a tragic ending.

    Now for the comedies.

    Vadakkunokkiyantram (1989),Chinthavishtayaya Shyamala (1998) and Sandhesam are satires penned by Sreenivasan with the last one being a particular favorite of mine.Thalayanamanthram (1990) is a family drama with plenty of laughs about a hen pecked husband who’s too much under his wife’s thumb.Veendum Chila Veettukaryangal is about Jayaram being an irresponsible son who is aided and abetted in everything by his father.Though Dad turns against him when he decides to marry a girl from a different socio economical background.I’d also like to recommend Shubhayatra about the travails of a newly wed couple who can’t find an apartment in Mumbai.And Mukhachitram is about an impersonator who makes up an imaginary wife only for her to turn up and create chaos in his life.

    Perumthachan is remarkably similar to the same tale of Daedalus (who created the Labyrinth) and his envy for his nephew from the Greek mythology.

    I’ll end with Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha. I really haven’t seen its DVD anywhere.But your sister may have better luck.


    • Chenkol is “mildly depressing”????? I gave in and read the wiki summary after I realized I wouldn’t easily be able to watch it, and to me it sounds “oh my god what is the point of living there is no justice in the world and the good always suffer” depressing.

      And thanks for the recs! I’ve still got ages to perfect my list, I’m planning to update and re-post the post sometime next week, after I spend time going through and finding out which ones I can easily get on DVD or some other way and shouldn’t “waste” a special Chennai delivery on asking for them.

      On Sat, Apr 8, 2017 at 1:54 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  9. I didn’t connect with the protagonist that much in Chenkol (unlike Kireedom). So I was able to distance myself emotionally when bad things happened to him and all his family. It is no Akashadooth where you want to rail at the injustice of life. Mohanlal made the choices he did.He had some agency.And thank God it’s not like Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s films which leaves the viewer feeling depressed and suicidal.So it’s way better than Adoor’s films but not up to Kireedom’s mark.


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