In the movie, the son wants his father to repent for the latter’s mistake even if he respects his father very much. The film revolves around Chakravarthy, middle-aged businessman who is a womaniser. In the process, he rapes a girl Radha. Rest of the film revolves around Chakravarthy's son and Radha teaching an lesson to his father to mend his ways. The film was released on 15 August 1981 became successful at the box office. The film received critical acclaim with Rajinikanth's performance as a middle-aged womaniser being widely praised. The movie title “Netrikkan" is believed to be inspired from the popular conversation between Sangam age poet Nakkeerar and Lord Shiva in Thiruvilayadal movie. The poet questions Lord Shiva, who is in the disguise of another poet, about the quality of the poem written by the Lord himself. Angered by Nakeerar’s question, the Lord reveals himself by opening His Third eye. Still poet Nakkerar is fearless, replying, “Netrikkan thirappinum kuttram kuttrame” which means 'A mistake is a mistake even if u are God (One who has the Third Eye)'. The film was dubbed in Telugu as Musalodiki Dasara Pandaga.
The story revolves around Chakravarthy (Older Rajini) who is a successful textile businessman in Coimbatore. He is a big womaniser (perhaps his only weakness) and picks up any women he wants. Other characters being wife Meenakshi (Lakshmi), his son Santosh (also Rajini) and his daughter Sangeetha (Vijayashanthi). It doesn't take long for Santosh to find his father's provocative behaviour and tries to mend his father's ways. Radha (Saritha) gets introduced as a candidate for PRO (Public Relations Officer) interview and eventually gets selected and is sent to Hong Kong for training. Chakravarthy unable to tolerate his son's growing menace also sets off to Hong Kong for a holiday. Here he meets Radha and at one point ends up raping her. Chakravarthy flies back to India where he is met with a number of changes which all points out to the new General Manager. This person turns out be Radha who has joined with Santosh to teach Chakravarthy a lesson for lifetime. How the duo succeed in changing Chakravarthy's behaviour forms the crux of the story.
Netrikann had Rajini playing the roles of father and son. Unlike other films where the father's character is portrayed as a positive person and the son is a bit of a wastrel, in this film it is the father who is lecherous and the son is the good guy. Balachander produced the film as he felt that the concept had a lot of scope for Rajini to perform. Muthuraman was initially hesitant to direct the film but Balachander encouraged him to direct. Cameraman Babu introduced the mask shots through this film, the film had 90 mask shots.
Soundtrack was composed by Ilaiyaraja and lyrics were written by Kannadasan.
Cinemalead wrote:"Netrikkan, one of the toughest roles ever portrayed by Rajini as a pervert father and righteous son. Father character was like walking on the edge of the knife as it had chances to go exhibit vulgarity but Rajini gave a mature performance". Indiaglitz wrote that the film: "trumpeted Rajini is one of the finest wholesome actors of Tamil cinema".