| Budget Padmanabhan was one of Prabhu's modest
successes in 2000. As is the norm in tamil cinema, its success has immediately inspired
the director to develop another movie along the same lines. So we get Middle Class
Madhavan, another movie that deals with the travails of a man from a middle class
family. The earlier movie was enjoyable with some great comedy and a story that included
some real issues(even if the sentiments were overdone). But this movie has a single
plot point that it stretches beyond breaking point and the comedy is also less funny.
Madhavan(Prabhu) is a lawyer, but not a very successful one. He is the breadwinner
for his large family that includes his parents, two sisters and a brother. Circumstances
force him to web Abirami(Abirami), an orphan and she struggles to gain acceptance
from his family. Meanwhile Madhavan conducts the weddings of both his sisters but in the
struggle to keep the rest of his family happy, he and Abirami are unable to enjoy
even the basic pleasures of married life.
The film tackles a single issue - that of Prabhu and Abirami, a married couple, being
unable to consummate their marriage. Initial potential issues such as the problems
with getting the sisters married are quickly abandoned and the movie turns into a
series of mostly comic sketches about interruptions to the plans of Prabhu and
Abirami to conduct their first night. While this is a little fun initially, it gets
repetitive once we realise that this is all the movie is about. There are a couple
of scenes, like the couple's plight when they rent a room at a seedy hotel, which
play out differently from our expectations but most situations are predictable.
Another important issue that is brought up only to be abandoned is the treatment of
Abirami at the hands of Prabhu's family members. Her constant comments about wanting
to have a big family around raise expectations about the issue being given some
weightage but nothing happens. Aside from a couple of scenes where she becomes sad on
hearing some harsh comments from Prabhu's parents, she seems quite happy trying to find
a place to conduct the first night. Prabhu's behavior of hiding the one thing that could
have earned her a place in his family members' hearts doesnt make much sense either.
As in Budget Padmanabhan, comedy occupies a major portion of this movie too
with Vadivelu and Vivek being the husbands for Prabhu's sisters. While making them
part of the story instead of a separate comedy track is wecome, the laughs are not
as numerous. Vadivelu surprises us with his initial softness but reverts to his
usual loud ways soon. Vivek has some funny lines with his royal heritage. The
sequence where Vadivelu burns his rear end and becomes the butt(no pun intended!) of
Vivek's jokes is crude but contains some of the funniest lines in the movie.
Prabhu looks old but the role is no stretch for him. Abirami, last seen in
Vaanavil, plays the homely role well. Visu shows
up in another of his trademark, advise-giving roles while director T.P.Gajendran
himself makes an appearance at several spots in various roles. Songs by Dhina are
not particularly memorable.