Thenali is a 2000 Indian Tamil-language comedy film produced and directed by K. S. Ravikumar and written by Crazy Mohan. The film stars Kamal Haasan in the title role, while Jayaram, Devayani and Jyothika did the supporting roles. The film's music was composed by A. R. Rahman. The film's cinematography and editing was handled by Priyan and K. Thanigachalam respectively.

Theatrical release poster
Directed byK. S. Ravikumar
Produced byK. S. Ravikumar
R. Karpagam
Written byCrazy Mohan
Screenplay byk.S. Ravikumar
StarringKamal Haasan
Music byA. R. Rahman
Edited byK. Thanikachalam
R. K. Celluloids
Distributed byR. K. Celluloids
Release date
  • 26 October 2000 (2000-10-26)
Running time
165 minutes[1]
Box office10 crore (equivalent to 33 crore or US$4.7 million in 2019)[2]

The film revolves around a senior psychiatrist who is jealous of his junior doctor Kailash getting all attention sends Thenali Soman, a disturbed Sri Lankan Tamil to prove his methods a failure. Kailash who is annoyed by the presence of Thenali tries various ways to throw him out of home, the rest of the film shows whether he succeeds or not.

The film opened in 26 October 2000[3] to positive reviews from critics and was a commercial success at the Tamil Nadu box-office. The film won three Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, including a Special Jury award for Jayaram's performance as Dr. Kailash. The story of the film was inspired by the 1991 American film What About Bob?.


Thenali Soman is a Sri Lankan Tamil refugee who has come to Chennai for psychiatric treatment. This is because of numerous phobias he has developed due to the Sri Lankan Civil War. Panchabhootham and his assistant, the doctors treating Thenali, are jealous of a relatively junior doctor Kailash getting all the media attention. They send Thenali over to him, believing his failure to cure Thenali of his phobias will derail his success. Soon after their first appointment, Kailash heads to his home in Kodaikanal on a vacation with his wife Jalaja and his two children Arjun and Aishwarya. Kailash tells Thenali to wait until after the vacation before his therapy can begin, but Panchabhootham asks for Thenali to go meet Kailash while on vacation.

Thenali reaches Kailash's Kodaikanal home. He falls in love with Janaki, Kailash's younger sister, which is vehemently opposed by the latter. The whole film is about how Kailash goes mad with Thenali's antics and even begins to suspect that his wife has an affair with Thenali, as she has a soft corner for the latter. He even tries to kill Thenali by tying him to a tree with a time bomb. Thenali, thinking it is a fake bomb used only to relieve him from his fears, removes it and puts it in Kailash's house where it explodes. Seeing this, Kailash suffers a paralytic attack. Thenali later marries Janaki.

While Thenali, Kailash, and family are at a picnic, Thenali's long-lost wife shows up and reunites with him. Enraged, Kailash jumps out of his wheelchair and berates Thenali for ruining Janaki's life, but soon realises this was all a set-up by Thenali to cure Kailash's paralysis through shock treatment, which succeeded; the woman was actually actress Meena, who Thenali hired to pose as his wife. Kailash thanks Thenali and realises his mistake. All of them reconcile to a happy ending.



Kamal Haasan approached K. S. Ravikumar to make the film after the success of the director's Padayappa featuring Rajinikanth and the film took four months to be scripted by K. S. Ravikumar, Kamal Haasan and Crazy Mohan.[4][5] The story of the film was inspired by the 1991 American film What About Bob? directed by Frank Oz.[6] Mohanlal and Simran were the original choice for the role of Kailash and Janaki, but Jayaram and Jyothika later took the roles.[7][8][9] Actress Meena was approached for the role of Jalaja but later on signed by the producers to appear in the second half of the film.[10][11] Vivek rejected the film as he felt that he "didn't have the best laugh lines".[12] The film was launched at the Kalaivanar Arangam in Chennai on 22 March 2000 with Y. Gee. Mahendra as compere and with Rajinikanth as chief guest.[13]

Kamal Haasan played a Sri Lankan Tamil in the film and to get the accent right, he took lessons from prominent television host, Abdul Hameed.[14][15] Scenes were shot predominantly in Ooty, while some song sequences were shot in New Zealand.[16] The shoot of the film was completed in 25 days.[17]


Soundtrack album by
RecordedPanchathan Record Inn
GenreFeature Film Soundtrack
LabelStar Music
Sa Re Ga Ma
ProducerA. R. Rahman
A. R. Rahman chronology

The soundtrack of the film was composed by A. R. Rahman, with lyrics written predominantly by newcomers. The album also featured the song "Injerungo", which became the first noted song of lyricist Thamarai, who used Jaffna slang within the song.[18] Due to the rift between Rahman and Vairamuthu the lyricist has been replaced by newcomers.[19] The song "Swasame Swasame" was re-used in the final scene of the American film The Accidental Husband.[20] The song is set in Hamirkalyani raga.[21]


Song Singer(s) Lyrics Duration
"Athini Sithini" Hariharan, Chitra Sivaraman, Kamal Haasan Arivumathi 5:32
"Swasame Swasame" S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, Sadhana Sargam Pa. Vijay 5:42
"Injerungo Injerungo" Kamal Haasan, K. S. Chithra Thamarai 6:16
"Porkalam Ange" Srinivas, Gopika Poornima Piraisoodan 6:32
"Alangatti Mazhai" Kamal Haasan, Srinivas, Sujatha Mohan, Baby Silono Rath & Baby Sharanya Srinivas Kalaikumar 5:24
"Thenali" Shankar Mahadevan, Clinton Cerejo Ilayakamban 6:10


Song Singer(s) Lyrics Duration
"Poredabatai" S. P. B. Charan, Pallavi Veturi 6:32
"Praname" S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, K. S. Chithra Vennelakanti 5:42
"Taalalato Vaana" S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, S. P. Sailaja, Saloni, Pardhasarathi & Saranya Veturi 5:24
"Thenali" S. P. B. Charan, Clinton Cerejo Vennelakanti 6:10
"Yevayo Yevayo" S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, K. S. Chithra Samavedam Shanmukha Sarma 6:16
"Ikkada Tadite Hastini" S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, S. P. Sailaja Bhuvana Chandra 5:46


The film released on 26 October 2000. The Hindu gave a verdict that the film was "a wholesome mix of rip-roaring action, witty dialogues and exotic locales".[22] Rediff stated, "the comedy is on a single track in Thenali" and that "it is more tiresome than humorous".[23]

Thenali completed 175-day runs across halls in South India.[24] A success meet was also held with Rajinikanth again attending the function, where Ravikumar revealed that it was the actor who picked the title, Thenali.[25] It went on to win three Tamil Nadu State Film Awards with Thamarai picking up the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Lyricist and S. Maniraj won the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Art Director in the technical award categories. Jayaram received a Tamil Nadu State Film Award Special Prize for his role in the film.[26] The satellite rights of the film were sold to Raj TV at a very high price.

The film was dubbed into the Telugu language as Tenali under the production of singer, S. P. Balasubrahmanyam and won good reviews.[27][28] The film was blockbuster at box office


  1. ^
  2. ^ Krishna Gopalan (29 July 2007). "The boss, no doubt". Business Today. Archived from the original on 12 August 2019. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  3. ^ "#20YearsOfThenali: The film which made Kamal Haasan Ulaga Nayagan - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Thenali". Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  6. ^ "From 'Ghajini' to 'Yaan': Remake, inspiration or plagiarism?". Sify. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  7. ^ Jeevi (26 October 2000). "Tenali". Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  8. ^ "Slap in the face for Kamal". 18 August 2000. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  9. ^ "Jothika: 'Critics have compared my acting to Savitri's'". Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  10. ^ Rajitha (4 August 2000). "No kiss for this miss". Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  11. ^ "Interview with Meena". 9 February 2010. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  12. ^ Rajitha (7 June 2000). "Vivek turns down Tenali". Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  13. ^ "thennali". Tamilstar. 15 August 2000. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  14. ^ Rajitha (21 September 2000). "Thenali: A Kisstory!". Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  15. ^ Rasika (2000). "Good Teacher, Good Pupil". Chennai Online. Archived from the original on 3 November 2004. Retrieved 23 February 2018.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  16. ^ Ashok Kumar, S. R. (11 September 2000). ""Crorepathi" spin-offs are here". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 23 February 2018. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  17. ^
  18. ^ Ashok Kumar, S. R. (22 August 2008). "Grillmill". The Hindu. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  19. ^ " – news". Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  20. ^ "40 times world celebrated Rahman's legacy". 6 January 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  21. ^ Mani, Charulatha (13 September 2013). "The joy of Hamirkalyani". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  22. ^ "Film Review: Thenali". The Hindu. 3 November 2000. Archived from the original on 20 February 2002. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  23. ^ Rajitha (6 November 2000). "The comedy that wasn't". Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  24. ^ "Drop in releases". Screen india. Archived from the original on 5 October 2009. Retrieved 19 October 2009.
  25. ^ "Latest News about Rajnikanth". Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  26. ^ "Tamil Nadu announces film awards for three years". IndiaGlitz. 1 October 2004. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  27. ^ "Telugu Cinema Etc". 11 September 2000. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  28. ^ "Tenali review: Tenali (Telugu) Movie Review –". Retrieved 18 October 2012.

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