Vedanarayanan Vedantham works at an e-commerce startup and moonlights as an author. His story Circle of Fear is a homage to the gangster films of the South, and here, he chooses the best of them:


The Godfather might be the “baap” of all gangster movies, but ever wondered what the “Anna” of all gangster movies could be? Let me attempt to present a curated selection, “coconut-picked” from the lands south of the Vindhyas that could possibly stake claim to this title. #machiknifepoduda

Maari (Tamil)

Dhanush (of Kolaveri Di & Ranjhaana fame) plays Maari, a local don who extorts money and Kajal Agarwal plays his love interest. The femme fatale tricks the don and gets him arrested, only for Dhanush to return and wrest back control. Kajal falls in love with Dhanush for real now, but its now our man’s turn to reject her overtures and go back to his life of extortion. Apart from Dhanush’s acting and attire, the movie is also famous for the catchy, peppy tune “Don Don Don” from GV Prakash.

Nayagan (Tamil)

“If doing something can benefit 4 people, it is not wrong.” This iconic line is from India’s version of The Godfather by our very own Marlon Brando – the one and only Kamal Haasan. The movie was released three decades ago, but remains relevant and close to the heart of several old South Indians (like me) and youngsters too. An era-defining movie that tracks the life and times of a young boy who escapes from Tamil Nadu, arrives in Mumbai penniless and rises to power only to be eventually killed by the mad son of a cop he kills years earlier, this movie is one of the most iconic films of India.

Thalapathi (Tamil) 

Thalapathi is an iconic movie from one of India’s greatest stars, the original “superstar” – Rajinikanth. Based on the story of Karna (and directed by Mani Ratnam), he plays an orphan adopted by a don and becomes the best of friends with the don’s son (Mamooty), who eventually takes over the mantle from his father. Misunderstandings crop up between the two friends before they eventually reconcile, but not before Mamooty loses his life in the process of proving his friendship.

Abhimanyu (Malayalam)

A movie not too dissimilar to Nayagan, Abhimanyu follow the trials and tribulations of a young Malayali boy (Mohanlal) who arrives in Mumbai, and through several quirks of fate and moments of serendipity, becomes a don. However, the same violence that takes him to the top also brings about his downfall. Fittingly, the movie’s tagline was: “Crime never pays”.

Gaayam (Telugu)

Jagapathi Babu is forced into the mafia after his brother is killed by the local MLA (Kota Srinivasa Rao). His conversion to mafia-hood results in his lover (Revathy) leaving him and marrying a cop. Lover and ex-lover join forces and eventually turn the tables on the corrupt MLA.


In Circle of Fear, matters come to a head when a beautiful woman comes in between a don and his protege in rural Tamil Nadu. Find out what happens here:


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