Muthu(Rajnikanth) is the loyal servant of a zamindar(Sarathbabu). The zamindar falls in love with Ranganayagi(Meena), a drama artiste, but circumstances cause Muthu and Ranganayagi, neither of whom know about the zamindar's love for her, to fall in love. The zamindar's mind is poisoned by his uncle(Radharavi), who harbors hopes that the zamindar would wed his own daughter and he drives Muthu out of the house. But his mother reveals the truth about Muthu's past and explains to him that it was Muthu who was actually the zamindar. As was the case with the recent Friends, Muthu is another movie that has its origins in Malayalam cinema but underwent several changes keeping in mind the requirements of tamil cinema with respect to the image of Rajnikanth. It is based on the Mohanlal-Shobana starrer Thenmaavin Kombathu and maintains the basic story of the original while adding the whole storyline about Rajnikanth's past. This enables introducing a double role for Rajnikanth, allowing him to spout even more philosophies about life and making his fans doubly happy.
Most of the comedy is seen in this film, first half with the segment where Rajnikanth and Meena get lost and end up in Kerala providing most of the laughs. Rajnikanth's encounters as Meena provides with the wrong translation for asking directions and the end result are wholeheartedly funny. His initial friction with her also provides some humor, especially during the fight sequence. Though Senthil, Vadivelu and co. are also at hand, their comedy is cheap and except for a few lines, rarely funny.
Enough political lines are scattered throughout the movie to keep the Rajnikanth fan delirious and applauding. Ravikumar does quite well by avoiding an overkill in this respect. Jayalalitha is the obvious target during Rajni's question-answer session with Meena, after he disturbs her performance on stage. The dialogs in this scene are designed to bring any fan to his feet. Even romantic songs are not left alone as Vairamuthu manages to introduce some obviously political lines in the songs, especially Kuluvaalile....
Apart from these, the movie has some segments that stand out. The segment with the older Rajnikanth is handled well, with the character of the quiet, good-hearted zamindar suiting Rajnikanth very well. Similarly, the whole sequence with the love letter(culminating in the Thillaanaa... song) is choreographed in a funny manner. But things get a little messy towards the end. Sarathbabu's appearance after his fall is nothing short of miraculous while his abrupt aboutface is a little too convenient.
As in any recent Rajnikanth movie, he dominates the proceedings, leaving little for the others to do as he successfully carries the movie on his shoulders. Meena looks sweet and acts cute, especially during her initial altercations with Rajnikanth. Sarathbabu has always been a lucky actor for Rajnikanth with all of the movies where they appeared together being hits. Muthu adds to this list. A.R.Rehman delivers a hit soundtrack with Oruvan Oruvan... and Kuluvaalile... being the picks. Thillaanaa Thillaanaa... is catchy and picturised extremely well with the bright colors and fast steps.
Punch Dialogue :
"Kedaikiradhu kedaikkaama irukkaadhu. Kedaikama irukuradhu kedaikkaathu" Naan eppo varuven eppadi varuvennu yarukkum theriyathu...eppo varunumo appo correctaa varuven... When I will make an entrance, where and how.. nobody will now. But when I do make one, it will be at the right time