Tenali Raman Review

by Sai Shyam G

There was a time when the audience used to go for a movie, just because Vadivelu is a part of the cast. Due to pressurizing circumstances, Vadivelu had to stay away from films for about 2 years. He is now back as a lead star in a film that is majorly based on famous bedtime story’s character for children – Tenali Raman. The movie’s promos reminded us of his smash hit ‘Imsai Arasan 23m Pulikesi’. Has ‘Tenlai Raman’ lived up to the hype it created? Read on.


The movie revolves around how Tenali Raman (Vadivelu), a revolutionist, gets into the kingdom led by Maamannar (Vadivelu again), and brings about the changes that would benefit the people. The king’s daughter Madhulai (Meenakshi Dixit) falls for Tenali Raman right away, while there are 8 selfish ministers who want to trade with Chinese people to make more money. However, it also means many localites losing jobs. How Tenali Raman influences the king and do good to people forms the rest of the story.


It looks like Vadivelu is least affected by the long break of 2 years. He shows tremendous versatility and marked difference between the two characters he portrays. While Tenali Raman character requires him to be wise and composed, the king role brings out the animated Vadivelu we all know. His body language and timing sense are in tact, which is a delight for the audience.

Meenakshi Dixit appears for couple of songs, but she has very little scope in this film otherwise, which is dominated by Vadivelu. However, she does look elegant and beautiful in the few scenes she appears. There are a lot of experienced supporting actors like Manobala, Mansoor Ali Khan and Radha Ravi, all of them coming good in their respective roles.


Shockingly, Imman’s songs are far from impressive. Although the movie is of periodic comedy genre, Imman could have come up with couple of hummable numbers. Most songs use heavy orchestration and are not soothing to ears. However, his background score does bring the necessary period feel to the movie. Camera work is adequate, while CG and art departments have done a wonderful job, given the budget of the film. The long shots to show palaces using CG is an intelligent idea, rather than spending too much on sets. Also, the CG is not gimmicky and passes muster.

Direction – Yuvaraj

For Yuvaraj, the main challenge would have been is to differentiate this movie from ‘Imsai Arasan’. There would be obvious comparisons between the two film, as both the films are period kingdom based movies. While ‘Imsai Arasan’ was completely a political satire, ‘Tenali Raman’ delves into serious issues such as FDI. The movie also touches upon contemporary politicians, but does not harm anyone or make subjective opinions. The movie can also be nostalgic to people who have read ‘Tenali Raman’ stories.

While the first half is open to Tenali Raman to show his intelligence, the second half shows how the king realizes the plight of people. The second half has some dull moments, due to songs hampering the flow and few unwanted scenes. The movie is not a complete laugh riot like ‘Imsai Arasan’, but does provide good amount of laughable moments throughout. Barring the flaws, ‘Tenali Raman’ is worth watching, for marking Vadivelu’s return in style.