Kuberan, director Rama Narayanan's return to family drama, that has any richness. The movie itself is marked by poorness in almost all departments - story, screenplay, direction and songs. To make the link between the title and the movie even more tenuous, the Kuberan in this movie isn't even rich. He is the sole money-earner for his family and his story is one of sacrifices for his near and dear. Karnan would probably have been a better name but Rama.Narayanan probably opted for Kuberan since Karnan was already taken!
Kuberan(Karthik), who works as a tourist guide in Kodaikanal, is the sole money-earner for a large family consisting of his good-for-nothing father(Manivannan) and his two wives, their children, his sister(Anju) and her unemployed husband(Thyagu). Kavitha(Kousalya), a singer, becomes a new addition to the house when she is cheated off her money by Kuberan's father. Romance blooms between her and Kuberan, and Chandra(Manthra), who also harbors feelings for him, opts out. Kuberan and Kavitha are married and Kavitha too takes part in the sacrifices Kuberan commits for his family.
After Kandha Kadamba Kathir-vela , comedy is not something I look forward to in a Rama.Narayanan film but that is one department which has saved this film somewhat. There are several one-liners and wordplays that bring a smile to our lips. And unlike Doubles , none of these stray into vulgarity. The song one stepmother sings to the baby of the other stepmother is one such funny moment. But the longer routines are not as successful. Manivannan's acts with his son are cheap and one of them, where he asks his son to pose dead, is actually distasteful. But the sequence where his son cheats Rs 200 off him is quite clever and funny.
Characters come, go and behave as they please. The director hasn't really bothered with backgrounds of characters or in fact, anything that doesn't propel the story forward. So we know absolutely nothing about Kousalya's or Manthra's background. Kousalya apparently has no job(she gets introduced as a street singer but doesn't do that either) while Manthra is introduced as a petty thief but quickly turns into a shop owner after one moralising speech from Karthik. And then disappears abruptly after sacrificing her love. Thyagu's character is the weakest of the lot as he moves from a happy father to a hard-hearted villain who is ready to sell his child and kill another man.
The sacrifices that Karthik does throughout the movie are regular and easily predictable. Scenes like him buying things for his sister and not for Kousalya and Kousalya later acting like he has bought stuff for her too are quite amateurish. But Karthik's big sacrifice for his sister is impressive and the scene brings out the best in both Karthik and Kousalya. Though this is towards the end of the movie, this is probably the place where there is some hint of a story. The fight at the end seems like an effort by Rama.Narayanan to include every single aspect of a masala movie.
Karthik overacts initially but impresses during the heavier scenes. Kousalya and Manthra are adequate. S.A.Rajkumar survives by using tunes from older songs as background music in many places. None of the songs stand out either.