The year 2011 belonged to Dhanush, as the hugely talented young actor was way ahead of all others in Tamil cinema.
Here's our pick of the best performances by male actors in Tamil cinema in 2011.
As Karthik Subramaninan, who dreams of becoming a well known wild life photographer, Dhanush was scintillating. The pain and agony of the young photographer when he realises that he was cheated of his creations was heart-wrenching. The one scene where he pleads with the world-renowned wild life photographer not to steal his work is unforgettable.
His performance as Karuppu in Aadukalam, for which he won a National Award, has been much lauded.
The year definitely belongs to Dhanush -- the added bonus being his song, Kolaveri Di, which has become the rage all over India.
Who would have expected a commercial hero like Vishal to come up with such a vibrant performance in National Award winning director Bala's Avan Ivan?
As the squint-eyed Vanangamudi, Vishal was a revelation. His performance reaffirms the fact that under Bala's direction, even mediocre actors can give award-winning performances.
Prasanna is a highly talented actor who pushes the envelope in each of his films. Not lured by commercial success, he chooses his films with care.
In 2009, he wowed everyone with his memorable performance as a software professional in Achamundu Achamundu. This year, in Muran, as the wild Arjun who kills people for the thrill of it, he was mind blowing.
He portrayed with great aplomb the wickedness and villainy of the character. The film, incidentally, was inspired by Alfred Hitchcock Strangers on a Train.
Venkat Prabhu's Mankatha is Ajith's 50th film and was Ajith's show all the way. He dared to sport a salt and pepper hairstyle, which heroes who are the darling of the masses rarely dare to do.
His character in the film also has negative shades, something else that few actors of his stature are willing to do.
It was one of the most courageous acts of a commercial hero. Sarath Kumar played the role of a eunuch in Kanchana and did so remarkably well. This daring attempt has to be appreciated and applauded.
P.S. We have not included Vikram's performance in Deivathirumagal, the remake of I am Sam and also Suriya's performnace in 7 Aum Arivu. No doubt, Vikram's performance was praiseworthy but he was nowhere near the Oscar winning performance of Sean Penn, and he had a benchmark to follow.
Though Suriya was mesmerising as Bodhidharman in the first 20 minutes of the film, in the rest of the film, he was nowhere near his best.