Dec 26, 2011 at 04:08pm IST

2011: Dhanush, Mahesh Babu ruled the game in South

New Delhi: The year 2011 saw the emergence of a potential superstar Dhanush as his 'Kolaveri Di' garnered unprecedented success in all quarters. Probably this is the first time when a South Indian song has become so successful in the northern part of the country. However there were many more successes in the South Indian film industry.

Here is a list of films and faces that made news in South Indian films this year:

ALSO SEE 'Kolaveri Di' is a silly, small song, says Dhanush

Tamil Films

2011: Dhanush, Babu ruled the game in South

This year saw the emergence of a potential superstar Dhanush as his 'Kolaveri Di' garnered unprecedented success.

Actor of the Year: Dhanush

ALSO SEE 'Why this Kolaveri B', Dhanush's tribute to Big B

The boy-next-door roles seem to have been invented just for Dhanush. But then, here is an actor who is not afraid to experiment, be it as the psychopathic lover in 'Kadhal Kondein', a gangster in 'Puddupettai' or a jobless love-struck youngster in 'Yaaradi Nee Mohini'. Hardly anybody was surprised when he won the National Award for best actor for 'Aadukalam' this year, a bucolic tale dictated by rooster fights and the fierce rivalry thereof. Also, his sensitive portrayal of a struggling wildlife photographer in 'Mayakkam Enna' was praise-worthy.

Actress of the Year: Richa Gangopadhyay

ALSO SEE Dhanush to cast Hrithik in his directorial debut

Tamil cinema's latest find Richa Gangopadhyay, a former beauty queen (Miss India USA 2007), gave enough evidence in her debut film, 'Mayakkam Enna', that she's not only stunning, but is a consummate actress as well, pitting her skills against Dhanush in scene after scene. The Bengali beauty's role in her second film 'Osthe' (remake of 'Dabangg') might not be as significant as her debut film, but Richa still manages to hold one's attention.

Song of the year: The Kolaveri Song

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It is one of those web 2.0 fairy tales. A song with nonsensical Tanglish lyrics comes out, goes viral and pervades the general consciousness. Penned and hummed by Dhanush, not just dominated YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, but also became the first Tamil song to be aired nationally.

Telugu Films

ALSO SEE Dhanush, Vidya Balan, Sonu Sood lead in veg celebrity contest

Actor of the Year: Mahesh Babu

The most bankable star has set the cash registers ringing so fast and furious as to make even the slumbering taxman sit up and take notice. His latest release, 'Dookudu', grossed Rs 25 crore in the first week and Rs 100 crore in 50 days — a first for a Telugu film. It silenced his self-styled competitors. On the flip side, the taxman was only too happy to pay a visit to the star and his producers.

Villain Of the Year: Jackie Shroff

Though a number of Bollywood actors—from Sonu Sood to Jackie Shroff—have come down to take on the heroes of the south, the element of surprise and novelty besides of course intensity in the portrayal of a vengeful don in Panjaa have made Jackie the villain of Tollywood.

Actress of the Year: Samantha Ruth Prabhu

This girl from Chennai stormed Tollywood with her debut Ye Maya Chesave last year and hasn't looked back since. Her latest film, Dookudu, has smashed all records making Samantha the new 'hit' girl, and giving Anushka Shetty, the reigning No. 1, a run for her money.

Director of the Year: Srinu Vaitla

The man who prefers to maintain a low profile is now one of the most sought-after directors. Though one reason cited for Dookudu's smashing success is the failure of others, Vaitla is perceived as a director who knows the comic pulse of the people like no other. Vaitla is now booked for the next three years.

Song of the Year: Panjaa

Pawan Kalyan's 'Panjaa' may have got mixed reviews but its title song, Panjaa, is ruling the airwaves. Composed by Ilayaraja's son Yuvan Shankar Raja, it has not only elevated the film but has also got youngsters grooving to its racy tune.

Hit of the Year: Dookudu

Despite a thin story line and long-winding sentimental plot, garnered 100 crore in 50 days, raising the bar for a Telugu film. Directed by Srinu Vaitla, the film's USP was undoubtedly Mahesh and his comic timing.

Malayalam Films

Actor of the Year: Prithviraj

Though it wasn't a good year for most of leading actors in Malayalam cinema, the young actor Prithviraj succeeded in coming out with nine movies, including hits like 'Urumi' and 'Indian Rupee'. The actor was also the newsmaker of the year. When the media asked whether he was marrying the girl he eventually did, he denied it.

Actress of the Year: Shwetha Menon

Starting the year with 'Kayam', Shwetha was also in the news for filing a case against a herbal Viagra manufacturing company which used her stills from the movie. Two of her five movies this year — the new version of 'Rathinirvedam' and 'Salt 'n' Pepper' — turned to be super hits.

Kannada Films

Actress of the Year: Ramya

Besides being in news for wrong reasons — fights with the producers and co-stars — Ramya continues to be the Sandalwood Queen. Her film 'Sanju Weds Geetha' successfully completed 100 days at many theatres across the state. She also made her political debut this year, when she joined the Youth Congress.

Actor of the Year: Puneeth Rajkumar

Power Star Puneeth's 'Hudugaru' proved why he has retained his numero uno position for the last nine years. His 'Paramathma' too brought cheers to its producers. After all, it's not for no reason that he's considered a safe bet for producers.