2011: Kolaveri Di reigned Tamil screen

Chennai: 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.