Vadivelu is back with a bang in Tenaliraman playing a dual role as a king and his intelligent minister who saves him on many occasions. Director Yuvaraj has largely succeeded because making a comedy film work depends largely on the script and plot gimmicks.
Tenaliraman (Vadivelu) is an intelligent guy and a rebel leader who is fighting a battle against Maamannar (Vadivelu) the King who has no time for his people and is controlled by his corrupt ministers.
The king with 36 wives and 52 children believes his nine ministers are Navarathnams (nine jewels) of his court. Soon Tenaliraman is able to infiltrate into the court as he is able to charm the king with his all-round talent including singing, dancing, sharp wit and amazing sense of humour.
Meanwhile other ministers in the court sell out to Chinese who want to take over the kingdom and expand their market. Tenaliraman comes to the king’s rescue and how he does it single-handedly forms the rest of the story.
The basic story of the film is applicable to modern times, as it is a fight between the exploited common man and the corrupt bureaucracy which has sold out to the rich and powerful. Yuvaraj through his dialogues takes a dig at modern day politics and the craze for FDI (foreign direct investment) in retail.
However, the film does not have mass slapstick comedy that one associates with a Vadivelu film. It becomes preachy beyond a point and second half drags, especially those long drawn out scene showing Mansoor Ali Khan and his team as cannibals. The music of D Imman is a downer, not even one hummable number.
The film’s major asset is Vadivelu as the kind-hearted, lovable king who does not know what is happening in his kingdom and the smart alec Tenaliraman. He holds the film together with his perfect comic timing. Meenakshi Dixit as a princess looks good but has hardly anything to do in the story. The large supporting cast of Manobala, GM Kumar, Santhanabharathy, Radha Ravi, Bala Singh, Divya Darshini and others are adequate.
On the whole, Tenaliraman is perfect family outing this summer, as some laughs are guaranteed. Watch it for Vadivelu!
Verdict: Above Average