| Budget Padmanabhan is another movie that has obviously been inspired by the success
of Tirupati Ezhumalai Venkatesa. It revolves around a
middle class household that is struggling to overcome its problems but just sees the
problems multiplying. Director T.P.Gajendran, making a movie after a long time, has banked
on the comedy to carry the movie along and has succeeded in that with a comedy track
that is not lacking in laughs. This makes the movie tolerable.
Padmanabhan(Prabhu) has earned the first name 'Budget' because of his miserliness. He is
infact saving up for retrieving his father's house from a money lender('Nizhalgal' Ravi).
Ramya(Ramya Krishnan), who works with him, is in love with him and by gaining the support
of Padmanabhan's sister('Kovai Sarala) and her husband(Manivannan), succeeds in marrying
him. All of Padmanabhan's plans to save more money go awry when his family and Ramya's
brother(Vivek) move in with him. To compound his problems, he also becomes the father to
triplets. He brings Omana(Mumtaj) into the household as a servant maid to take care of the
children and all suspicion falls on him when she becomes pregnant.
Though Prabhu gets top billing, its Vivek who is the lifeline of the movie. Though the
comedy isn't exactly sophisticated and skirts vulgarity at some moments, it gets the job
done by making us laugh and Vivek is right at the center of it. He cements his growing
popularity with some very funny solo routines. His SUN TV reviewer-like description of
Prabhu as a potential mate for his sister and the mini 'Alaipayuthey' spoof are hilarious.
His attempts at impressing Mumtaj with his newfound links to Kerala are innovative, with the
laughs peaking with the final sequence where he dresses up as a Namboodiri. The sequences
where he and Manivannan put down each other in front of Mumtaj also have some funny moments.
The rest of the movie is a mix of comedy and sentiments with a little bit of suspense thrown
in regarding Mumtaj's past. Prabhu's frugality is not exploited fully with only a few incidents
highlighting it. But the way Manivannan and Sarala convince him to get married by pointing
out the benefits is clever. There are also some mild laughs in the latter half of the movie
because of Ramya's jealousy over Prabhu's closeness with Mumtaj. By providing a reason(getting
his house back) for Prabhu's economic lifestyle, the director ensures that there is no dearth of
sentiments. The problems over the house also pave the way for introducing an ineffective stunt
The issue of the father of Mumtaj's child is resolved cleanly. The director reduces the inherent
silliness in the situation by coming up with a good reason for why Prabhu cannot reveal the truth about
the father to Ramya. He does this by having a key scene earlier in the movie, which goes to show that
his thinking cap was not completely off! Sentiments are also introduced into the climax with a
twist that doesn't make a lot of sense. But it does allow Prabhu's character to come off with
Prabhu seems to be making a career out of such movies these days and is adequate. He gets a
chance to showcase his histrionic abilities when he loses his hard earned money. Ramya
Krishnan, not really getting the career boost she hoped for after the raves she earned for
Padaiyappa, is under utilised. As in
Paattaali, she brings a sense of naturalness to her dialogs.
Mumtaj doesn't stretch the
producer's budget as far as her clothes are concerned! She spends most of her on screen time
with Vivek and Manivannan and gets to participate in a Kushi-style
song sequence with Prabhu. Songs are forgettable and their picturisation make them even more