Open main menu

Tamil television soap opera or Tamil serials (Tamil: தமிழ் நெடுந்தொடர்கள்) are a popular genre of Tamil language television produced in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore.[1] All major TV networks in India[2] produce a variety of drama series including family,[3] comedy, romance, history stories, horror, devotional, fantasy[4] stories and many others.

Tamil serial started to broadcast television series in the 1990s.[5] Today's format of 100–500 episodes started in the 2000s. The television series industry has played a pivotal role in increasing Tamil popularity in India, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia. They are also broadcast in other parts of Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia and North America.

They are usually shown on Tamil television channels and start at 11:00 to 15:00 (daytime), 18:00 to 19:59 (early fringe) and every night at 20:00 to 23:00 (primetime).[6] A series will run for about three or four years. It may air five or six episodes a week, the pattern usually being Monday through Friday or Monday through Saturday.

A channel usually airs five to sixteen soap operas simultaneously at any given time.[citation needed][circular reference] Because they attract the most viewers, each channel competes for the most popular stars.



Tamil television serials are usually helmed by one director,one written by one screenwriter, thus having a distinct directing style and language, unlike American television series, where often several directors and writers work together.[7] Series are likely to have only one season, with 1–500 or 1–1000 episodes. Mini series may be longer, with 100 to 200 episodes, but they also run for only one season.

The broadcast time for flagship dramas is 11:00–15:00 to 17:30–23:00, with episodes on Five to Six consecutive nights:Monday–Friday or Monday–Saturday and weekends. Different dramas appear on each of the nationwide networks, Sun TV,[8] STAR Vijay,[9] Kalaignar TV, Colors Tamil, Zee Tamizh, Jaya TV, Raj TV, Polimer TV, Puthuyugam TV, Vendhar TV, Mega TV, Makkal TV, DD Podhigai, Shakthi TV, Vasantham TV, MediaCorp Vasantham, Astro Vaanavil, TV2 and Deepam TV.

The 11:00–15:00 to 17:30–23:00 time slot is usually for daily dramas that run from Monday through Friday or Monday through Saturday. Dramas in these slots are in the telenovella format, rarely running over 500 episodes.

Singapore and MalaysiaEdit

The broadcast time for flagship dramas is 22:00 to 23:00, with episodes on Four consecutive nights: Mondays to Thursday, Friday, and weekends. Different dramas appear on each of the nationwide networks, MediaCorp Vasantham, Astro Vaanavil and Astro Vinmeen HD. Series are likely to have one to three season, with 1–80 episodes. Mini series may be longer, with 1 to 16 episodes, they also run for one to three season.

Some popular contemporary dramas include: Vettai, Nijangal, Vettai : Pledged to Hunt, Sundharam Kudumpathinar, Annamalai, Ragasiyam, Vetri.

Contemporary seriesEdit

Series set in contemporary times usually run for one season, for 100–1000 episodes of 22 minutes. They are often centered on a family story, with love ties and relationships being in the focus. Characters are mostly idealised, with Tamil female protagonists described as the ideal women, and can focus on ethics and social issues in rural areas. The daily dramas are also usually set in contemporary times, describing a family conflict or family relationships, centered on Tamil women, who sacrifice themselves for family happiness.

Some popular contemporary dramas include: Shakthi, Chiti,[10] Anandham, Kalki, Kasalavu Nesam, Annamalai,[11] Metti Oli, Thangam, Thirumathi Selvam, Kolangal, Azhagi, Thendral, Kana Kaanum Kaalangal, Office, Madhurai, Marmadesam and Kadhalikka Neramillai.


Theme music and background music sets the overall tone of the Tamil series. Most series will start off with one to three minutes of opening theme music during the opening credits. Other series will have at the very least a catchy melody in the beginning, displaying the drama's name that lasts a few seconds, and then one to two minutes of ending theme background music during the closing credits. Background music is placed and used at strategic points of the episode in order to set the mood of that particular show.

Original soundtracks (OSTs) are made specifically for each series and play an important role in Tamil dramas (mostly in Singapore and Malaysia). They are generally recorded by professional playback singers and tend to enhance the reputation and popularity of dramas. OSTs help to heighten a situation, accentuate a mood, provide relief, or serve as background to an interior monologue.


They are often mass-produced under large production banners, with companies like AVM Productions, Saregama, Radaan Mediaworks, Vikatan Televistas and Balaji Telefilms running different language versions of the same serial on different television networks or channels.


Tamil TV soap operas are popular overseas in countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia. They are also broadcast in other parts of Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. The popularity of Tamil TV soap operas in India, European and the US markets is on the rise.[citation needed] Tamil serials are also dubbed in Malayalam, Telugu, Sinhalese and English and most serials air with English, Sinhalese and Malay subtitles.



In the Indian state of Kerala, Tamil series are popular and broadcast at prime time, Kolangal and Anandham were aired on Surya TV. Some Tamil series have also been remade into Malayalam versions such as Parvathi in 2002 which was a remake of the serial Chithi and Nilavilakku a remake of Thirumathi Selvam. Surya TV and Asianet Plus are examples of Malayalam television networks that airs Tamil series.


In the Indian state of Telangana, Tamil series have gained popularity and the Tamil series, Chithi, Kolangal, Anandham, Selvi, Arasi, Annamalai, Vasantham, Surya, Pasam, Chellamay, Kalyanam and Lakshmi were aired on Gemini TV, RVS TV, Zee Telugu and Vanitha TV. Some Tamil series have also been remade into Telugu language versions such as Devatha which was a remake of the serial Thirumathi Selvam, Aparanji a remake of Thangam, Sravani Subramanyam a remake of Thendral and Jabilamma a remake of Deivamagal.


Tamil series have also been remade into Kannada versions such as Rangoli was a remake of the serial Kolangal, Chikamma a remake of Chithi, Bangara a remake of Thangam, Thangaali a remake of Thendral, Mangalya a remake of Metti Oli and Chandra Chakori a remake of Deivamagal. The Udaya TV air Tamil series remade in the Kannada language.


Tamil series have also been remade into Hindi versions such as choti maa broadcast on Zee TV was a remake of the serial Chithi, Pavitra Rishta broadcast on Zee TV a remake of Thirumathi Selvam, Shubh Vivah broadcast on Sony TV a remake of Metti Oli and Dil Se Diya Vachan broadcast on Zee TV a remake of Idhayam.

Sri LankaEdit

In Sri Lanka Tamil channels air Tamil series, and also dub and subtitle in the Sinhalese language. The first Tamil Language serial to be dubbed in Sinhalese was Chithi. Tamil television series are extremely popular in Sri Lanka, with ratings higher than the traditional Tamil Nadu TV series that Sri Lankan watched.[citation needed] Most Tamil serial airs in Tamil language with Sinhalese subtitle.

Singapore and MalaysiaEdit

In Singapore and Malaysia Tamil Channel airs Tamil Series and subtitle in the English language. Among the most popular series are Vettai, Nijangal, Ennuyire, Annamalai, Ragasiyam and Neeya.

Other countriesEdit

Tamil Series and television shows are also popular among the Tamil diaspora. Tamil television shows are aired on certain cable television channels in various countries such as the Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, the Middle East, North Africa, Réunion, South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles, Fiji, Guyana, Burma, Trinidad and Tobago, the French West Indies, Europe, Australia, Canada and the United States.

Running timeEdit

An episode of a popular Tamil television drama from the 2010s is usually between 30 and 60 minutes in length (excluding advertisements), which is much longer than a typical episode of an Indian or Western European series.

List of longest-running Tamil Language television seriesEdit

This is a list of the longest-running Tamil Language television series, ordered by number of episodes the show has aired. This list includes only programs aired five years and above.

Series shaded in light blue are currently in production.
Title First broadcast Last broadcast Episodes Network(s)
17 December 2012 (2012-12-17) Present 1941+ Sun TV
சரவணன் மீனாட்சி
Saravanan Meenatchi
7 November 2011 (2011-11-07) 17 August 2018 (2018-08-17) 1,765 Vijay TV
வாணி ராணி
Vani Rani
21 January 2013 (2013-01-21) 8 December 2018 (2018-12-08) 1,743 Sun TV
Kalyana Parisu
10 February 2014 (2014-02-10) Present 1651+ Sun TV
29 May 2003 (2003-05-29) 4 December 2009 (2009-12-04) 1533 Sun TV
21 August 2006 (2006-08-21) 31 August 2012 (2012-08-31) 1532 Sun TV
25 March 2013 (2013-03-25) 17 February 2018 (2018-02-17) 1466 Sun TV
Chandralekha (TV series)
6 October 2014 (2014-10-06) Present 1458+ Sun TV
7 January 2002 2 November 2007 1372 Sun TV
திருமதி செல்வம்
Thirumathi Selvam
5 November 2007 (2007-11-05) 22 March 2013 (2013-03-22) 1360 Sun TV
19 April 2010 (2010-04-19) 9 May 2015 (2015-05-09) 1356 Sun TV
தற்காப்பு கலை தீர்த்த
Therkappu kalai Theeratha
14 January 2002 5 October 2007 1352 Sun TV
7 December 2009 (2009-12-07) 17 January 2015 (2015-01-17) 1340 Sun TV


Guinness World Records
  • Nadhaswaram: This serial on 5 March 2014 achieved the feat of being the First Indian soap opera and Tamil television soap opera to be aired live. This was done to commemorate the Soap opera's 1000th Episode on 5 March 2014. By airing a 23-minutes 25seconds long live telecast in a single shot, the soap opera has earned a place in the Guinness World Records.[13][14][15][16]
  • Marmadesam: It was an extremely successful tele-serial. It was ranked first in viewership among the television programmes telecast from Chennai in 1997.[17]
  • Chithi: It holds the credit of most watched regional Language television program in India ever.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Lit of Tamil language Channels".
  2. ^ "Why is the Tamil serial so gender-insensitive?". The Hindu.
  3. ^ "Shreekumar Tamil TV Actor".
  4. ^ "Neeli Fantasy Tamil Serial on Vijay TV". The Times of India.
  5. ^ "1990s Serials நாகாவின் மர்மதேசம், பாலச்சந்தரின் பிரேமி" (in Tamil).
  6. ^ "Sun TV Schedule". The Times of India.
  7. ^ Chosun Ilbo 2007.
  8. ^ "Sun TV". The Economic Times.
  9. ^ "Vijay TV".
  10. ^ "Chithi serial happened, probably in the early 1990s". The Hindu.
  11. ^ "`Annamalai'gains from`Chithi'". The Hindu.
  12. ^ "India's first 3D TV serial, 'Mayavi' debuts on Jaya TV". Retrieved 7 October 2006.
  13. ^ Naig, Udhav (22 March 2014). "Sounds of celebration". The Hindu. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  14. ^ "சன் டிவி தொடர் உலக சாதனை".
  15. ^ "சன் டிவி தொடர் உலக சாதனை".
  16. ^ "Gopi wins Guinness award for best villain". (in Tamil).
  17. ^ Amos Owen Thomas (2005). Imagi-nations and borderless television: media, culture and politics across Asia. SAGE. p. 115. ISBN 0761933956, ISBN 978-0-7619-3395-3.
  18. ^ "TAM's top 10 in Cable & Satellite homes". Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2011.