Panchabhootam (Delhi Ganesh) is a senior psychiatrist in Vizag. Kailash (Jayaram) is an upcoming psychiatrist. As Kailash takes over Panchabhootam over popularity, Panchabhootam wants to ruin the happiness of Kailash by sending him the coward 'Tenali' as the patient. Since Kailash wanted to go for family vacation to Kodaikanal with his wife Jalaja (Devyani) and two kids, he asks Tenali to wait for a month so that he can begin the treatment after Kailash Vacation.
Panchabhootam, who wants to make the life of Kailash miserable, takes Tenali with him and travel to Kodaikanal. Meantime Janaki (Jyotika), the sister of Kailash joins the gang for vacation. Kailash also invites Diamond Babu (a millionaire) so that Diamond Babu can get close to Janaki and marry her. As Kailash is trying to get away with Tenali, he gets closer to his family. And Janaki and Tenali becomes and inseparable and love each other.
The rest of the film is about how Tenali becomes wiser after the treatment and marries Janaki and proves that he is an able man.
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Kamal: This character of Tenali is tailor-made for Kamal Hassan and he proved his versatility in his acting with his superb histrionics. He can make people cry by making them laugh.
Jyotika: The newfound glamour doll of Tamilnadu dished out a feast for eyes with this film. No wonder, with an angelic face, childlike attitude, plump figure and fine assets, Jyotika will turnout to be the next Goddess for the Tamil people.
Jayaram: His has done justice to his role. But the clincher of his role is voice dubbing given by Rajedra Prasad, which is going to be a definite plus point.
Music: AR Rehman wielded his baton again to give a soothing music for this film. Though all the songs all slow songs, the winner turned out to be 'Emayyo' song (last but one song in this film).
Direction: A slick direction by KS Ravi Kumar makes sure the viewers do not get bored though there is no story in this film. He made sure that limitations like the entire movie focused on 9 characters do not become a hindrance. Director KS Ravi Kumar gave a special apperance in this film just like his two earlier films, 'Narasimha' and 'Sneham Kosam'.
Analysis: First half of the film is full of fun and frolic. The second half becomes little boring, as there is no story. But Kamal's action and KS Ravi Kumar's direction makes the viewers to be glued to their seats. This film is best recommended for the family viewing, where one can laugh their heart out for the laugh riot created by Kamal.
Mohanlal was slated to play a role but will not be found in it, finally.
- The talking point of 'Tenali' at the moment is the fee paid to Kamal, which is said to be a few crores and a career high for him.
- Meena was replaced by Simran who later was replaced by Joythika. All for Aesthetics Speaking of Jyotika and 'Tenali'. While there are many heroines who shy away from kissing on screen, Jyotika is said to be an exception. "I find nothing wrong in doing a kissing scene. In 'Khushi' (Cheppalani Vundi in telugu) too, there was a kissing scene with Vijay in the climax scene," says the actress. Jyotika is teamed with Kamal Hassan in 'Tenali". And everybody knows how Kamal loves to have these kissing scenes in his films. All aesthetically taken and for the betterment of the film, of course.