After a year full of multi-starrers, period dramas, pan-Indian films and experimental wonders, the south is all set to emulate the winning pattern in 2023 powered more by sequels, historical dramas and epics.
The South Indian film industry kicked off the year by delivering several amazing movies during the Pongal and Sankranti season. Halfway into January, with the release of action entertainers Thunivu, Varisu, Waltair Veerayya and Veera Simha Reddy, it is already panning out to be a blockbuster month for South Indian cinema.
And this is only the beginning of what south Indian cinema is set to offer us this year, with much-awaited sequels like Lucifer 2, Ponniyin Selvan 2, Indian 2 and of course, Allu Arjun’s Pushpa 2: The Rule all slated to hit the screens.
While there are mythologies set in historical periods like Samantha’s Shaakuntalam and Prabhas Adipurush, we also have films like Billa Ranga Baashaa that take us to the future awaiting us.
On that note, here are 23 south films to watch out for in 2023.
Cast: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Jimmy Jean- Louis, Amala Paul, Umesh Kaushik
The story will follow a migrant worker, Najee Muhammad (Prithviraj), who is forcefully migrated to the deserts of Saudi Arabia to herd goats. Based on Benyamin’s novel of the same name, the music for this survival drama is composed by none other than AR Rahman.
Thalapathy 67 (Tamil)
Director: Lokesh Kanagaraj
After the success of Master (2021), megastar Vijay is joining forces with Lokesh Kanagaraj for a gangster thriller. Rumoured to be a part of the Loki cinematic universe, the cast will feature Trisha Krishnan, Gautham Vasudev Menon, and Sanjay Dutt.
Ponniyin Selvan 2 (Tamil)
Director: Mani Ratnam
Cast: Vikram, Karthi, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Trisha Krishnan, Jayam Ravi
Based on Kalki Krishnamurthy’s novel Ponniyin Selvan, Mani Ratnam’s epic historical film was one of the biggest blockbusters of 2022. Set during the Chola dynasty, the second instalment will delve deeper into the story of the three siblings, their burgeoning rivalry and the battle of strategies and deception. The film is set to release on April 28, 2023.
Director: Amal Neerad
Cast: Mammootty, Dulquer Salmaan
After 15 years, Mammootty will be back to play his iconic character Bilal John Kurissingal from Big B (2007) which has a huge cult following. Amal Neerad announced this film with Mammootty back in 2017, marking his third collaboration with Mammootty after Big B and Bheeshma Parvam. There are whispers about Dulquer Salmaan being a part of this film, and this only gets better if true!
Pushpa 2: The Rule (Telugu)
Cast: Allu Arjun, Rashmika Mandanna, Fahadh Faasil
Described as “bigger and better than Pushpa: The Rise,” this highly-awaited sequel will see Allu Arjun, Rashmika Mandanna and Fahadh Faasil reprising their roles. In this instalment, fans will witness the final face off between Pushpa and the district’s police superintendent Bhanwar Singh, who will now plot to keep Pushpa and Srivalli (Rashmika Mandanna) from getting married in his hometown.
L2: Empuraan (Malayalam)
Director: Prithviraj Sukumaran
Cast: Mohanlal, Sachin Khedekar, Fazil, Prithviraj Sukumaran.
Prithviraj Sukumaran’s 2019 political thriller Lucifer featuring Mohanlal is getting both a sequel and prequel in Empuraan. The movie is expected to narrate the journey of Stephen Nedumpilly and how he became Khureshi Ab’Ram, the leader of an international crime organisation. But for those who have not watched Lucifer, Prithviraj revealed that Empuraan could be considered a standalone project too.
Indian 2 (Tamil)
Director: S Shankar
Cast: Kamal Hassan, Samurthirakani, Rakul Preet Singh
We saw Senapathy, an honest veteran, (Kamal Hassan) kill his own son before fleeing to a foreign nation in the final scene of the hit 1996 movie, Indian. Having served in the Indian Army, he decides to teach corrupt politicians a lesson and targets officials, ministers, and bureaucrats to make them work diligently without accepting bribes. Indian 2 will pick up where the first part left off, with Senapathy returning to India, swearing to rid the nation of corruption and ‘clean up’ the society. While Indian featured Kamal Haasan as both father Senapathy and son Chandrabose, its sequel is said to revolve around Senapathy and his father. Are we in for another dual-role thriller perhaps?
Cast: Mohanlal, Sara Vega, Guru Somasundaram
Based on Barroz: Guardian of Da Gama’s Treasure, the novel written by Jijo Punnoose, this 3D fantasy adventure marks the directorial debut of Mohanlal. The story will revolve around a 400-year-old spirit, Barroz, who is waiting to hand over Vasco da Gama’s treasure to his true descendants.
King of Kotha (Malayalam)
Director: Abhilash Joshiy
Cast: Dulquer Salmaan, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Chemban Vinod Jose, Gokul Suresh
Touted to be a gangster film set in a factory town, King of Kotha marks the directorial debut of Abhilash Joshiy, son of veteran director Joshiy. Written by Abhilash N. Chandran, the story is said to be about a young man who gets caught up in the activities of the criminal underworld.
Director: Rojin Thomas
One of the most expensive Malayalam films yet, Kathanar will follow the story of legendary exorcist priest Kadamattathu Kathanar from the 9th century, who is believed to have possessed supernatural powers. Blood-thirsty and vengeful folkloric vampires, sorcery, magic and the lone iron nail on a betel nut — the eventful life story of the powerful priest is mostly associated with such imagery. History and fables are expertly interwoven to form his story, but nevertheless the goodness that he stood for, transcends generations.
Kaathal: The Core (Malayalam)
Director: Jeo Baby
Cast: Mammootty, Jyothika
After a long hiatus, Jyothika is all set to make her highly anticipated comeback in Malayalam cinema and how - paired opposite superstar Mammootty for the first time. Directed by Jeo Baby of The Great Indian Kitchen fame, Kaathal’s poster strongly suggests the film will be along the lines of a poetic love story backed by powerful emotions and we can expect both actors to come up with top-notch performances once again. Mammootty will be playing a political candidate named Mathew Devassy.
Director: Nelson Dilipkumar
Cast:Rajinikanth, Shiva Rajkumar
Slated to release on April 14, Jailer is an action comedy film featuring the superstar Rajinikanth as the titular jailer named Muthuvel Pandian. While the plot remains under wraps, a vintage-style Rajinikanth teaser, Malayalam superstar Mohanlal’s cameo and Shiva Rajkumar essaying an important role, have definitely captured their fans’ attention and how.
Suriya 42 (Tamil)
Cast: Suriya, Disha Patani, Yogi Babu
Tentatively titled Suriya 42, the epic fantasy adventure film will be narrated through two different timelines - 17th century and present-day. The story will focus on a warrior from the past and a young woman who is curious about the disease that ended the warrior’s life.
AK 62 (Tamil)
Director: Vignesh Shivan
Cast: Ajith Kumar
Riding on the success of his recent film, Thunivu, Ajith will be next seen in AK62, helmed by Vignesh Shivan. Touted to be a bank heist film, the director revealed that the project will be one of a kind thanks to the creative freedom granted to him by the movie’s team.
Director: Trivikram Srinivas
Cast: Mahesh Babu
Mahesh Babu and Trivikram Srinivas have teamed up for the third time after 13 years for SSMB28, an action entertainer. They had previously worked together for Athadu (2005) and Khaleja (2010). Pooja Hegde has been roped in to play the female lead in the film.
Director: Prashanth Neel
Cast: Prabhas, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Shruthi Hassan
What happens when the brains behind Baahubali and KGF come together? A Salaar is born. One of the most anticipated films of the year, Prabhas is collaborating with Prashanth Neel and Hombale Films for the first time for what the producers call, a grander project. Set to release on September 28, the film will follow a gang leader who tries to keep a promise made to his dying friend and takes on the other criminal gangs.
Hari Hara Veera Mallu (Telugu)
Director: Krish Jagarlamudi
Cast: Pawan Kalyan, Nidhhi Agerwal, Bobby Deol
Set during the Mughal era, the historical action drama will follow the story of an outlaw Veera Mallu who embarks on a mission to steal a Kohinoor-esque diamond. Bollywood actor Bobby Deol, in his Telugu debut, will essay the role of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. The man of the hour, Golden Globe recipient, MM Keeravaani has composed the music for this pan-Indian film. The movie is scheduled to release on March 30.
Director: SS Rajamouli
Cast: Mahesh Babu
Superstar Mahesh Babu is joining forces with SS Rajamouli for an ambitious globe-trotting action-adventure film, which is said to be a franchise with many stars joining the cinematic universe in later parts.
Director: Om Raut
Cast: Prabhas, Saif Ali Khan, Kriti Sanon
Adipurush is an adaptation of the epic Ramayana and Prabhas will be seen essaying the role of Lord Ram. This 3D pan-Indian magnum opus has Saif Ali Khan playing Ravana and Kriti Sanon playing Sita.
Cast:Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Dev Mohan, Allu Arha
Based on Kalidasa’s play Shakuntala, this pan-Indian 3D film explores the epic love story of King Dushyant and daughter of sage Vishwamitra and nymph Menaka, Shakuntala from the Mahabharatha. Due to a sage’s curse, Dushyant forgets all about Shakuntala, until destiny brings them together again. The film is set to release on February 17.
Billa Ranga Baashaa (Kannada)
Director: Anup Bhandari
Cast: Kiccha Sudeep
Billa Ranga Baashaa is a futuristic adventure thriller set in 2209 AD. Vikrant Rona director Anup Bhandari and Kiccha Sudeep reunite for this film. Interestingly, the duo will also work together on Ashwatthama and the sequel to Vikrant Rona.
Sapta Sagaradaache Yello (Kannada)
Director: Hemanth M. Rao
Cast: Rakshit Shetty, Pavitra Lokesh, Achyuth Kumar
While Sapta Sagaradaache Yello is a romantic tale at the crux of it, this intense drama will see Rakshit Shetty essaying two different roles, set a decade apart from one another. The actor also went through a body transformation for the same and appears more rugged in the second look.
Director: R Chandru
Cast: Upendra, Sudeep, Shriya Saran
Set during both pre and post-independence India, Kabzaa is a period gangster film narrating the journey of a freedom fighter’s son who gets trapped into the world of mafia after a Gandhi follower and his father are brutally attacked in 1947. Leading up to the year 1986, the son goes on to become the King of the underworld.
RPSG Group and HELLO! India are delighted to announce the first-ever South Edition of the HELLO! Hall Of Fame Awards on the 24th of January. Stay tuned and keep following us on Instagram for more behind the scenes action, exclusive celebrity interviews, and much more!