Bhaskaran is a happy-go-lucky youth who is yet to complete his B. A. Degree, writing arrear examinations for years. His only friend, Nallathambi, owns a barber hair saloon shop named Thala-Thalapathi Saloon, which he received as dowry for marrying a woman who was two months pregnant. Bhaskaran, during an arrear exam, happens to meet Chandrika (Nayanthara), a lecturer, and instantly gets attracted to her, though she disapproves of him because he attempted to copy during the exam.
Bhaskaran lives with his widowed mother, Sivakami, his older brother Saravanan (a veterinarian) and his younger sister Nithya, who is a college student wanting to become a TV compere. When Saravanan falls in love and gets married to a woman named Nandhini, Bhaskaran discovers that Nandhini’s younger sister is Chandrika, and wishes to marry her. When he approaches his family for the alliance, everyone talks of his unemployed status which rankles him and causes him to leave his house to prove himself.
Bhaskaran faces many obstacles in his path to prove himself. He is insulted by Chandrika’s father, Shanmugasundaram, and does not even have a place to live. After many difficulties, Bhaskaran, with the support of Nallathambi, establishes a tutorial for Class X students. Nallathambi goes and gets money from Velpandi, a local don, who signs an agreement that if his son Paalpandi does not pass in his exam, he will take Nallathambi’s property and make him work in his cow dung place.
Velpandi reveals his family history: his father, in his Class X examination, forced his teacher to write the exam. Velpandi, during his exam, wrote only four words in his paper with a billhook symbol, blackmailing the teacher into making him pass or risk being killed. Velpandi’s son Paalpandi sleeps in the exam hall and if anybody tries to wake him, he will bite the teacher’s hand.
However, in the end, Paalpandi’s son starts to study and makes others listen in the class when Bhaskaran appoints a blind teacher. Despite early setbacks, Bhaskaran makes a very heavy profit on the deal, while his students top in the state and Paalpandi passes in his exam with good marks. Velpandi tears the agreement, offers Nallathambi a huge amount of money with no interest and appreciates him for making Paalpandi pass in the exams.
It also convinces Chandrika, who eventually reciprocates his love. However, Shanmugasundaram is against the marriage as he had once been insulted by a drunk Nallathambi as revenge for not having sanctioned a loan to Bhaskaran. Shiva, a supposed teetotaller and the son of a businessman who is Shanmugasundram’s friend, is introduced as Chandrika’s prospective groom. Bhaskaran then confronts Shiva, revealing to him that he loves Chandrika. The two get into a fight soon after, but when Shanmugasundaram arrives at the spot, he learns the truth: Shiva was hired by Bhaskaran to fool everyone about his identity. Under Shiva and Bhaskaran’s orders, a disappointed Shanmugasundaram is forced to unite Bhaskaran and Chandrika.