Movie - Chattambinaadu (Malayalam)
Director - Shafi
Cast - Mammootty, Lakshmi Rai, Vinu Mohan, Mythili, Meenakshi, Siddique, Suraaj Venjarammood, Salimkumar, Manoj K Jayan, Saikumar, Janardhanan and others.
Music - Alex Paul
Cinematography - Manoj Pilla
Editing - V Saajan
Art Director - Joseph Nellickal
Story, Screenplay, Dialogues - Benny P Nayarambalam
Release Date - 25th December 2009
If you're not yet tired of the innumerable flicks with a tamil/kannada nativity shot in Pollachi, based on the same formula, you might just end up liking this film. I had written a post with 30 steps to make a Tamil mass movie. The same can be done for this one. But this movie is not worth it to take so much efforts in writing that. Even the makers have made it only as a concoction of all their films. Thus, we get a mixture of Rajamanikyam, Thommanum Makkalum,Annan Thambi and even Gillie. The only difference is brought by Mammootty. If he was a buffalo seller who spoke in a crass Thiruvananthapuram accent inRajamanikyam, here he is a rich Kannada rogue who speaks Malayalam with a heavy Kannada accent. Other than that, most of it is the same.
The story roughly goes like this - Chembattu Naadu had officially turned into Chattambi Naadu because of the several notorious activities and fights that kept happening there. Siddique and Manoj K Jayan are members of 2 of the biggest families there and are at constant loggerheads because of an old flashback (Cliche No.1). Manoj K Jayan is the weaker one, so he seeks the help of Veerendra Mallayya (Mammootty) to buy his house from him and give him money to pay back his debts. (Cliche No.2). Mammootty also has a reason in coming back to this place, something which connects him also to the old flashback. (Biggest Cliche in the movie :P). Mammootty has a trusted aide, Vinu Mohan, who is obviously younger and more educated than him. (a la Rahman in Rajamanikyam). As soon as he lands in the village, trouble starts brewing between him and Siddique and Siddique waits for the right opportunity to get back at him. In the meanwhile, Lakshmi Rai, the heroine is also introduced in a song and constantly fights with our hero, to finally fall head over heels for him. The rest of the story moves on very predictably with the addition of goondas like Salimkumar and Suraaj for comic relief.
There is absolutely no novelty in the story, and the movie holds interest only because of the presence of Mammootty. He looks dapper in his white and white costumes, Ray Ban glasses and white shoes. And with a really funny Kannada accent, he makes sure that the audience do not get reminded of the 100 odd cliches in the movie. Even though his character, and the change in accent were all first brought in the much more effective and entertainingRajamanikyam, the actor manages to succeed in his portrayal of this Kannada man also. He is the only good thing in the movie. Siddique repeats his villainous act seen in several other films and has even the same look he sported in Madambi. Manoj K Jayan plays a useless guy, whose destiny is to be saved by our great hero, yet again. Salimkumar and Suraaj Venjarammood try to provide comic relief with many stale and old jokes, which rarely work. Thankfully, Suraaj has not used many of his vulgar jokes in this one, even though he tries to show that side of him at some parts of the movie. Lakshmi Rai looks beautiful and has precious little to do. Mythili hardly has any dialogue. Meenakshi was the better one among the lot, but then she gets married off to Boban Alummoodan (whose main job in movies is to marry females whose marriages dont happen due to various reasons. :P) and is conveniently forgotten after that. Janardhanan, Saikumar, Vijayaraghavan and all are just there to be part of the ridiculous flashback, something which we have been seeing in all such movies.
When would our filmmakers get enough of this Pollachi location!! That same house is shown in a 100 movies, right fromThenkasippattanam to Love in Singaporeand has been the main location in most of them. The stories are based in this Tamil Nadu-Kerala-Karnataka border and are mostly about goondas or rowdies. Lots of gags in the name of comedy, fight scenes, colourful songs with Tamil extras, stupid villagers, menacing villain and a God-like hero with a troubled past. This is the formula for most of them. Movies likeRajamanikyam were at least successful in giving the right treatment to this formula and making a very entertaining film out of it. Now, yet another such film is being shot there, which stars Mammoootty along with the younger actor Prithviraj - Pokkiri Raja. Lets hope at least that one has to offer some difference in treatment. Benny P Nayarambalam, who used to write very entertaining scripts like Kalyanaraman, Chanthupottu, Kunjikkoonan, Thommanum Makkalum and Chotta Mumbai, has turned into a very mediocre writer off-late with films like Lollipop and Chattambinaadu. Shafi has not taken any extra effort to make this movie different from all the above mentioned movies based on the same formula. I think all their attention was diverted towards Mammootty and his accent, more than the whole movie itself.
Alex Paul's music is very sub-standard. Lakshmi Rai's introduction song sounds like a readymade copy of the Jassie Gift song 'Themma Themma Themmadikkatte'. Manoj Pilla's cinematography and Joseph Nellickal's art direction were very good. There is nothing more to say about the other technical aspects of the film.
The success of this movie proves that the audience are not yet bored of these formula films in Malayalam. While the Tamil audience have begun showing indifference to such formula films (the most recent example being the lukewarm business of Vettaikkaran) and started appreciating different films, our people still loathe such formula films in our language and even in Tamil and the dubbed Telugu movies. (People are more excited about Vettaikkaran and Arya 2 in Kerala than in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh respectively). There is nothing wrong in making entertainers. But making the same movie again and again, without even changing the setting and only changing the characters and characterizations, is a really sad thing. If such movies keep becoming hits, then more such movies would keep coming. And our superstars would again be forced to act in such films. Why blame them when the audience themselves, along with the producers and distributors are asking for more such movies?? Disappointing!!! Watch only if you're a hard-core Mammootty fan and if you're not yet tired of these formula movies.
Rating - 2.5/5 (Just for the entertainment that Mammootty provides).