Johny(Rajnikanth) is a petty thief who steals from the rich to pay off the debt his father has accumulated. Vidyasagar(Rajnikanth), a barber by profession and a lazy, stingy man by habit, is his look-alike. Johny falls in love with Chitra(Sridevi), a singer and pretty soon, Chitra, who is as lonely as he is, falls for him too. Vidyasagar helps out Bama(Deepa), a poor woman, and soon falls in love with her. But Bama, who always has an eye on the better things in life, cheats him. The lives of Johny and Vidyasagar then intersect in unexpected ways.
The most impressive part of the movie is ofcourse the clever way that the two roles have been made to interact. Director Mahendran keeps us guessing all the way. First, regarding the way the lives of the two completely unrelated persons will intersect and then, the way in which the interesting puzzle will be resolved. And neither of these disappoints. The pieces are set up cleverly and they fall into place one by one. The way it all ends is low-key but clever and satisfying. The reason for Vidyasagar's action is believable and touching.
The director succeeds in making both roles interesting to begin with. The scams that Johny carries out, especially the first one in the jewellery store, are very smart. His romance with Sridevi seems a little quick though. Vidyasagar makes us smile with his frugality and sloppiness. We are given ample hint of Deepa's character by her behavior in the sari shop and this sets up her actions later. The unnecessary diversion in the form of Johny's meeting with the tribals can be forgiven for the Aasaiya Kaathula song sequence. There is also a trying scene where the two Rajnikanths are running in slow motion, that extends for a lot more time than necessary. The scene concludes in a meeting and a fight between the two that is not too convincing or well-staged.
Rajnikanth differentiates sufficiently between the two roles. His comic ability is evident in the barber's role. This was one of the few movies released when he was known as an action star, that doesn't have any fight sequences for him. Sridevi looks cute and plays a role sans glamour and fun. Deepa is believable as the greedy woman. Surulirajan raises some laughs in his own inimitable style as Johny's assistant.
Ilaiyaraja delivers a blockbuster soundtrack that is a mix of different kinds of songs. En Vaanile and Kaatril Endhan Geetham are very melodious. The latter is soulfully rendered by S.Janaki and she has said, on record, that this is her favorite among the songs she has sung. Senorita I Love You is filled with beautiful lyrics and the exuberance of the song is well brought out by SPB and the song sequence. Aasaiya Kaathula is very catchy with its tribal beats and music lingering in our ears for a long time. .