Some of our blockbusters in recent years make you wonder if they are really worth all its success. 28 years back when Chithram ran for around 400 days in theaters, no one would have really doubted if it was deserving of its phenomenal success. It might still be the all time highest grossing Malayalam movie if adjusted to inflation. A stranger who is hired for a daily wage of 1000Rs to act as a husband – Who else but Priyadarshan could have transformed such an improbable story to a clean and enjoyable family entertainer that each of us still watch when it comes in TV ?
What helped him was a ravishing location, beautiful music and his own screen play that had a perfect mix of great comedy, romance ,emotions , dance and fights. And also the fact that he had a leading actor who could handle all these departments with equal amazing ease.
Mohanlal literally did it all in Chithram. He handled almost the entire comedy in the movie with the absence of any major comedy actors. He danced , he emoted , he did stunts , he romanced and what more he even lend his voice to the beautiful ‘Kaadumi Naadumellam’ song. Its a known fact that Mohanlal is unmatchable when it comes to acting drunk and here he rocked in a sequence where he first says Sukumari – ‘Ningal sumukhayaaanu sundariyaanu subhashiniyaanu’ and later Ranjini -‘ Ente hridayathinte snehappookal muzhuvan vaari erinja maharaani njan ninaku vendi ente metha ozhinju tharunnu’ .
Starting off as an untrustworthy outsider , at the end when Mohanlal asks Soman -‘Enne kollaathirikkan pattumo’ ,our hearts went out to him because Mohanlal’s amazing performance meant that Vishnu not only won over Kalyani and her family but also the entire cinegoers.
Mohanlal has this ability to form a great chemistry with anyone else he share the screen with and in Chithram he had Nedumudi Venu for company. The scene where Mohanlal threatens to leave the house after Nedumudi Venu says he can longer pay him is a treat to watch even today because these versatile actors were so fantastic together. As Kalyani’s uncle who comes to her rescue at every point, you couldn’t imagine anyone else but the versatile Nedumudi Venu. Priyadarshan’s first choice for Kalyani was his favorite actress, Revathi. Though Revathi might have fitted the character better , Ranjini nevertheless made Kalyani memorable.
Priyadarshan just got everything right in Chithram. Usually Priyadarshan movies have other side comedy sub-tracks but in Chithram all the jokes emerges from the main story and I guess that’s one reason the movie is an enjoyable experience even today. Its a gift to make it look so easy to write and direct the terrific ‘ Ethra manoharamaya aacharangal’ sequences where Mohanlal and Ranjini outplay each other. Songs are a treat to eyes just like any other Priyadarshan movie and we continue to listen and hum to them even today. If it is a beautiful background music in the 80’s ,it has to be by Johnson Master and Chithram had one other masterful work by the musical genius .
Priyadarshan-Mohanlal is the most successful director-actor pair in Malayalam Cinema and there’s no two ways about it. Sibi Malayil and Lohithadas showed us Mohanlal’s strength in histrionics, Padmarajan made Mohanlal romance,Sathyan Anthikad brought us Mohanlal’s lighter side, Joshy and Shaji Kailas used Mohanlal’s mass hero image but if there is one film maker who made full use of Mohanlal’s multifaceted talents, its the actor’s close friend – Priyadarshan.
Starting off from 1984’s Poochakkoru Mookuthi ,these men have given us some of our finest movies ever ranging from comedies like Kilukkam, tragedies like Thalavattom, periodic epics like Kalapaani and action movies like Aryan and Abhimanyu. On top of all these lies this beautiful gem – Chithram. Who else but these two men could have made an entire generation of kids and elders emulate Vishnu at least once when they pretended they were taking a snap with their fingers
Also Read : Those Magical Mohanlal Moments