The film starts with Jyothi (Mahesh) and Kani (Anjali) playing and making fun of each other in night time asking many people "How is the match between us?" They get into a bus and the song "Kadaigalai Pesum" starts. Not owning a house, the two then find a place to sleep in the street where masonry workers are sleeping. While they are dreaming, a fire engine completely loses its control after colliding with another vehicle and hits the people sleeping in street. The next scene shows the jammed vehicle, blood, crying people and the hospital where Jothi is lying on a stretcher with blood all over his body. When some policemen ask Jothi, "What is your name? Where are you from?", he just murmurs "Kani, Kani, Kani...". The flashback now starts and the scene takes us to a village in Tirunelveli.
Jyothi Lingam (Mahesh) is a bright student and son of a mason who leads a happy life in his village near Tirunelveli. One day tragedy strikes as his father, the only earning member dies in an accident while crossing an unmanned railway gate. The young boy now has to look after his mother and two sisters.
Due to circumstances, he is forced to abandon his studies, though he comes first in his school in the board exam. Through a canvassing agent, he and his friend Marimuthu get jobs as sales-boys in a textile showroom in Ranganathan Street in Chennai.
Jyothi, along with hundreds of others, is employed at the Senthil Murugan Stores run by a big businessman. On each floor at the textile showroom, there are around 50 to 60 sales boys and girls who work in pitiable conditions from early in the morning to late night, without any rest.
He meets Kani (Anjali), a fiery independent girl. The difficult and harrowing times in the store bring them together as they face up to a cruel and lewd store supervisor Karungali (A. Venkatesh), who beats up the boys and molests the girls if they are caught playing around during duty hours. Jyothi says there is no escape from the “jail like” atmosphere in the shop where employees are treated more like slave labour in a concentration camp without any human dignity. Aftet some arguments slowly Jyoti and Kani falls in love with each other.
In the meantime, actress Sneha visits the showroom for the shooting of an advertisement. Marimuthu is a die-hard fan of Sneha. He has made an album with his collection of Sneha's childhood pictures and also written out her biography in the album. He is very keen on meeting Sneha. Amidst of the security, he catches Sneha's attention and shows her the album he has made. Sneha is surprised and she likes the album very much. She tells Marimuthu that she will keep the album herself. Meanwhile, Jyothi and Kani sneak out of the crowd to go somewhere private. While they are talking in the showroom, the supervisor unexpectedly arrives. On seeing this, they quickly find places to hide between the counters. Unfortunately the security guard then locks them in the showroom without knowing. Not knowing what to do, Kani shouts at Jyothi for taking her to the showroom in the first place. Jyothi walks away but then starts to sing. Kani joins in the song and after some time they are putting on the dresses in that room one by one, singing and dancing to their hearts' content.
After sharing this special night dancing and singing, the two change back into their working clothes and go to their usual places the next day morning as if they arrived only in the morning. Unfortunately their dance was recorded in the CCTV of the store. Their boss Annachi sees this and calls the supervisor. The supervisor catches both Jyothi and Kani and beats them up. The supervisor lodges a police report about Jyothi stealing a costly saree from the shop and the police takes Jyothi away. At the police station an inspector beats him up to make him admit he has committed this made-up crime. Jyothi refuses to do so but tells the inspector that he knows all the fraud activities done by Annachi. The inspector calls Annachi and advises him to take back the complaint, otherwise it will make things difficult if Jyothi tells all these things to media. The next morning Jyothi is released from the custody.
Having Kani in mind, Jyothi goes back to the showroom and threatens the supervisor that if they do not release Kani, he will tell the ugly truth about the store to the people shopping there. On hearing this, Annachi orders the supervisor to send Kani with Jyothi. They both leave the place and search for jobs in every shop on that street. Finally a blind old man who is selling clothes on the platform tells Jyothi that he will give commission to them if they help him sell clothes. So they start selling clothes and earn some money for the day. The old man tells them a place where they can safely sleep. They go to the place to sleep and the flashback ends.
The following scene shows the hospital where Jyothi and Kani are admitted. Jyothi regains his consciousness and sees Marimathu. Marimuthu has joined Sneha's team as a makeup man. Jyothi, who has slight injuries on his head, legs and hands, asks Marimuthu desperately about Kani. But Marimuthu refuses to answer. Despite Marimuthu's attempts at stopping him, Jyothi gets out of bed irrespective of his leg injuries and looks for Kani. He was shocked to see Kani in another room with both her legs amputated. Marimuthu advises Jyothi to forget about Kani as she will not be able do things on her own and she needs someone's care. He says if Jyothi takes care of her then nobody will earn for his family.
Jyothi thinks for a while and finally decides to marry Kani. Kani, who has just woken up, cries hysterically as she has lost her legs. She thinks she will be abandoned and sent to the house for the disabled. So when Jyothi asks to marry her, she cries happily and agrees. The film ends with the scene showing Kani sitting on the platform selling things and Jyothi sells things by walking in the street.
Angadi Theru is about how these two survive in a concentration-camp-like condition and what happens when fate perpetually smiles very cruelly at them. Sneha lights up the happenings in a small cameo as herself by doing a commercial advertisement for the stores.
This film is considered to be a milestone in Tamil cinema due its raw content. This movie reflects few happening at the two Popular Stores in Ranganathan Street in Chennai.Mahesh as Jyothi Lingam
Anjali as Kani
A. Venkatesh as Karungali
Pandi as Marimuthu
Sneha as herself (Cameo appearance)
John Vijay as Director
The film met with widespread critical acclaim. Behindwoods mentioned, "Angadi Theru is an eye opener to all those who are on the rosier side of life,it’s an overdose of emotions, but you don’t mind it: simply because the characters have handled the scenes so skilfully". Parvathi Srinivasan from Rediff described the film as a, "kind of cinema you keep hoping for and only rarely get," labeling it, "A must watch." Many reviewers appreciated Anjali's performance with Behindwoods commenting that, "The girl looks every bit her role with an impressive gamut of emotions running through her face." Chennaionline.com gave credit to the theme of the film by stating that, "Vasanthabalan must be applauded for courageously presenting us a film that looks into the darker side of the glittery world of massive show rooms.
Angaadi Theru won the 2010 Best Film Award at the Chennai International Film Festival on 24 December 2010. It also won accolades in the following award ceremonies.Best Actress – Anjali
Best Story – Vasanthabalan
Best Film – K. Karunamoorthy, C. Arunpandian
Best Actress – Anjali
Best Film – K. Karunamoorthy, C. Arunpandian
Best Director – Vasanthabalan
Best Actress – Anjali
Best Director – Tamil – Vasanthabalan
Best Actress – Tamil – Anjali
Best Female Playback Singer – Tamil – Shreya Ghoshal
Tamil Nadu State Film Award Special Prize- Best Film
The soundtrack album was composed by G. V. Prakash Kumar, while Vijay Antony composed two songs and also scored the background music . Lyrics were penned by Na. Muthukumar. Shreya Ghoshal won Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer – Tamil for the song 'Un Perai Sollum Podhe'.
All lyrics written by Na. Muthukumar.