Friends is a 2001 Tamil comedy-drama film directed by Siddique and produced by Appachan. The film features Vijay, Suriya and Ramesh Khanna, in the title roles, while Devayani, Abhinayashree, Vijayalakshmi, Sriman and Vadivelu amongst others play supporting roles. The music was composed by Ilaiyaraaja, while Anandakuttan handled cinematography.
The film is a remake of the Siddique's own Malayalam film by the same name with actors Jayaram, Mukesh and Meena. It was released in January 2001 and received positive critical acclaim. The movie completed a 175-day theatrical run at the box office making it fourth hit in a row for the actor Vijay. The movie was a commercial success and one among the top grossers of the year. Later it was remade in Telugu as Snehamante Idera starring Akkineni Nagarjuna, Sumanth, Bhumika Chawla. The Telugu remake was dubbed into Hindi in 2007 as Naya Jigar1.
Aravindan (Vijay), Chandru (Suriya) and Krishnamurthy (Ramesh Khanna) value friendship over everything else, even family, and for this reason, Chandru resists the advances of Aravindan's sister Amutha (Vijayalakshmi). When the trio take up a painter's job at a mansion, Aravindan falls in love with Padmini (Devayani), who lives there. Padmini's jealous cousin Abhirami (Abhinayashree) makes him believe that his overtures are reciprocated. When the truth is revealed and Padmini rejects him outright, Chandru stands up for his friend and speaks ill of her. This makes her swear to separate the Friends.
After the marriage, Aravindan realises the hand of Abhirami behind all the mishaps and Padmini too realises Chandru is innocent. Then the marriage of Chandru and Amutha is arranged. Gautham (Sriman), is Aravindan's cousin who is in love with Amutha from his young age. He plans and wants to separate the pair. He makes Chandru believe that Padmini is trying to kill Amutha. Padmini is now angry with Chandru. At last Aravindan tells the truth that in their young ages Chandru's deaf and dumb brother was unknowingly killed by Aravindan. Gautham records this and makes this to be heard by Chandru. Chandru and Aravindan had fight and go by their ways. Aravindan tries to convince Chandru but he falls from the top of a mountain. Chandru believes that Aravindan is dead and feels very much for him. But after five years, he comes to meet Aravindan's family, only to find out that Aravindan is not dead, but has ended up in coma. Gautham is now torturing his family a lot. When he comes to know that Chandru has come back, he goes and starts to beat him up. After hearing his beloved friend Chandru's cry of pain, Aravindan gets his memory back. Aravindan beats up Gautham, and everyone rejoins and lives happily.
After their teaming in Nerukku Ner, Vijay and Suriya came together again in this film, a remake of a successful Malayalam film of the same name that was produced by actress Saritha, and had her husband Mukesh co-starring with Jairam.Siddique who directed the original has directed the Tamil version too. Ramesh Khanna was selected to play the role which was enacted by Sreenivasan in original. First Jyothika was signed with Suvalakshmi to play the lead actresses in the film but soon Simran replaced Jyothika. Both Simran and Suvalakshmi also then too backed out due to date problems and were replaced by Devayani and new girl Vijayalakshmi from Mysore. Shooting was held in a fast pace on location in Ooty, Pollachi, Pazhani and Udumalaipettai.
The film featured music composed by Ilaiyaraaja received positive response and topped the charts. All lyrics of the songs were penned by Pazhani Bharathi.
The film received highly positive reviews from critics upon release in 2001.Bizhat stated "Friends is an engaging entertainer with the first part moving at a fast pace with ribtickling humour and slapstick comedy thrown in. The second half moves with the smooth transition and an effective climax and stated Vijay acting was brilliant in handling the emotional part of the movie while Surya who initially fits in the silent character struggles in emotional scenes.Balaji B wrote: "The premise and story line of the movie is strong and the movie is completely effective due to the hilarious comedy handled by director Siddique in the first half and sentiments in the second half.