Genre Comedy, Drama, Musical
|Writer Priyadarshan, Sreenivasan (story)|
Release date 23 December 1988 (1988-12-23)(Kerala)
Music director Kannur Rajan, Ilayaraja, Johnson
Songs Eeran Megham
Cast Mohanlal (Vishnu), Ranjini (Kalyani), Nedumudi Venu (Kaimal), M.G Soman (Jail Superintendent), Lissy Priyadarshan (Revathy), Sreenivasan (Bhaskaran Nambiar)
Chithram (English: Picture) is a 1988 Indian Malayalam-language screwball comedy film written and directed by Priyadarshan. The film was produced by P. K. R. Pillai for Shirdi Sai Creations, and stars Mohanlal, Ranjini, Nedumudi Venu, Poornam Vishwanathan, Sreenivasan, M. G. Soman, Sukumari, Lizy, Maniyanpilla Raju, and Shanavas, while Thikkurissy Sukumaran Nair makes a cameo appearance. The songs were composed by Kannur Rajan and film score by Johnson.
Kalyani (Ranjini) decides to marry her boyfriend Ravi (Shanavas) against her father Ramachandra Menon's (Vishwanathan) wishes. But Ravi breaks up when he comes to know that she would be disinherited. Kalyani's father, who stays in the United States, is unaware of the break up and comes home in Kerala to spend time with his daughter and son-in-law. This prompts family friend and Advocate Kaimal (Venu) to hire a thief, Vishnu (Mohanlal) to act as Kalyani's husband during Menon's vacation stay.
Chithram was released during a Christmas weekend on 23 December 1988. The film was a phenomenal success at the Kerala box-office, it broke all existing records in Malayalam cinema until then. It had a theatrical run of more than 150 days in Ernakulam Little Shenoys,with regular shows, and theatrical run of 300 days in Thiruvananthapuram Ajantha and more than 200 days in Kottayam Asha, Palakkad Priya, Chengalai Chithra with noon shows. It is one of the highest-grossing films in Malayalam film history. It collected more than ���3 crore from theatres.
Kalyani (Ranjini) is the daughter of a wealthy NRI Ramachandra Menon (Poornam Vishwanathan) who resides in the United States. Kalyani, brought up in Chennai by her father's friend Kaimal (Nedumudi Venu), falls in love with another man and decides to marry against the wishes of her father. When her boyfriend finds out that she will be disinherited, he ditches her at the altar.
After a short while her father decides to retract his disapproval and spend a fortnight's vacation with his daughter and son-in-law in his estate near a tribal community where Menon is the chief. Because her father is already ill and because this may be his last vacation, Kalyani and Kaimal want to make it as happy for him as possible. They decide to conceal the fact that her boyfriend dumped her.
Kaimal hires Vishnu (Mohanlal) to play the part of the husband for a fortnight. Meanwhile, Kalyani's cousin Bhaskaran Nambiar (Sreenivasan) who is the caretaker of the estate was expected to inherit Menon's estate and property when Kalyani was disinherited, is determined not to let go without a fight. He knows that Vishnu is not Kalyani's boyfriend and makes various botched attempts to prove this.
Initially Vishnu and Kalyani do not get along and keep bickering. But as time passes, she develops an affection towards Vishnu and hopes to marry him for real. A couple of days after they have a mysterious visitor (Soman) who claims to be a relative of Vishnu.
Finally it is revealed that Vishnu is actually an escaped convict from jail who is sentenced to death and the visitor turns out to be the prison warden. Vishnu's past is shown in flashback and he was a freelance photographer who was married to a woman named Revathy (Lizy Priyadarshan), a mute dancer. They also had a child. Vishnu discovers that a man was visiting his wife when he was not around and begins to suspect her. Coming home one day he finds the man there and tries to attack him. Revathy dies in the scuffle, Vishnu discovers that the man is actually her brother who is a naxalite. He tells Kalyani that he escaped prison to make money for the surgery of his child.
On the last night of Vishnu's stay at the house, he asks Jail Warden, is it possible for him to live, as he started to like life again. The warden replies that it is too late, which further breaks Vishnu down. After a happy fortnight, Kalyani's father returns to the US. The final scene shows the warden taking Vishnu to jail, with Kalyani watching him leave, where his execution awaits him, indicating the film ends with Vishnu's tragic death.
The film's songs were composed by Kannur Rajan and lyrics penned by Shibu Chakravarthy. M. G. Sreekumar sang most of the songs in the film. Carnatic music singer Neyyattinkara Vasudevan was a guest singer. The classical Krithis like "Nagumo" and "Swaminatha" featured in the film gained a mass popularity. Playback singer Sujatha Mohan also sang in the film, marking her return after years of sabbatical. Mohanlal sang two songs "Kaadumi Naadumellam" and "Aey Monnu".
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