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Chithram poster.jpg
Directed byPriyadarshan
Screenplay byPriyadarshan
Produced byP. K. R. Pillai
CinematographyS. Kumar
Edited byN. Gopalakrishnan
Music byKannur Rajan
Johnson (Score)
Shirdi Sai Creations
Distributed byShirdi Sai Release
Release date
  • 23 December 1988 (1988-12-23) (Kerala)
Running time
160 minutes
Budget44 lakh[1]
Box office3.5 crore[1]

Chithram (transl. Picture) is a 1988 Indian Malayalam-language screwball comedy film written and directed by Priyadarshan. The film was produced by P. K. R. Pillai under his production house 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. Mohanlal won the Kerala State Film Award - Special Jury Award for his performance in this film.

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. Made on a budget of 44 lakh, the film grossed 3.5 crore at the box office, becoming the highest-grossing Malayalam film at its time. .[1]


Kalyani (Ranjini) is the daughter of a wealthy NRI Ramachandran Menon (Poornam Vishwanathan) who resides in the United States. Kalyani, brought up in Madras by her father's friend Purushothaman 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.Then her father wrote a letter that he decides to approve her husband and wanted to spend a fortnight's vacation with his daughter and son-in-law in his estate near a tribal community where Menon is the chief.As 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 hide the fact that her boyfriend dumped her.

Vishnu (Mohanlal) comes into the picture who played a trick on a foreigner by telling lie to him that his brother cannot swim. Then the foreigner jumps into the river and Vishnu then runs off with his clothes. The foreigner questions and asks Kaimal about his clothes, with Kaimal getting slapped. Kaimal then goes to Vishnu and confronts him for stealing the clothes. Vishnu states his urgent need for money and Kaimal hires Vishnu to play the part of the husband for 14 days. 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 husband and makes various botched attempts to prove this.

Initially Vishnu and Kalyani do not get along and keep bickering. But as time passes, Kalyani sees Vishnu's heart as he tied the mangalasutra around her neck, just in time before her father came (Bhaskaran informed him that she didn't have the mangalasutra around her neck). Kalyani eventually 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 does not reply to this question, as he is helpless regarding this. 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. This film ends with Vishnu and Kalyani waving goodbye.



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".

No. Title Singer(s) Notes
1 "Eeran Megham" M. G. Sreekumar Raga: Madhyamavati
2 "Paadam Pootha Kaalam" M. G. Sreekumar
3 "Nagumo" Neyyattinkara Vasudevan, M. G. Sreekumar Traditional Keerthanam by Tyagaraja
Raga: Abheri
4 "Doore Kizhakkudikkum" M. G. Sreekumar, Sujatha
5 "Aey Moonnu" Mohanlal Traditional Folk
6 "Paadam Koyyum Munpe" Sujatha
7 "Swaminaatha" M. G. Sreekumar Traditional Keerthanam by Muthuswami Dikshitar
Raga: Nattai
8 "Kaadumi Naadumellam" Mohanlal, Sujatha, Chorus
9 "Paadam Pootha Kaalam (Sad)" M. G. Sreekumar

Box office

Chithram was released during a Christmas weekend on 23 December 1988. Upon release, it broke all existing records in Malayalam cinema until then.[2] It had a theatrical run of more than 400 days in Little Shenoys (Ernakulam).[3] It completed 366 days run with regular shows in two theatres—Little Shenoys (Ernakulam) and Sreekumar (Trivandrum),[4] and 200 days in four theatres—Little Shenoys (Ernakulam), Ajantha (Trivandrum), Asha (Kottayam), and Priya (Palakkad).[5] Made on a budget of 44 lakh, the film grossed 3.5 crores at the box office, becoming the highest-grossing Malayalam film ever. It became the highest-grossing Malayalam film of its time.[1][6]


  • P. K. R. Pillai of Shirdi Sai Creations started 2 films together, Chithram and Nair Saab, but as he faced financial issues, he sold Nair Saab to Basheer of Liberty Productions and completed Chithram.
  • Initially, Ambika was offered the role of the lead actress, but she could not do it due to her busy schedule.[7] Revathy was also offered the role.


Chithram (1988)
Alludugaru (1990)
Pyar Hua Chori Chori (1991)
Rayaru Bandaru Mavana Manege (1993)
Engirundho Vandhan (1995)
Mohan Babu
Mithun Chakraborty
(Vijay Kumar)
Nedumudi Venu
Chandra Mohan
Anupam Kher
(Jhun Jhunwala)
Poornam Vishwanathan
(Ramachandra Menon)
(Ramachandra Prasad)
Shafi Inamdar
(Raja Saab)
C. R. Simha
(Ramachandra Rayaru)
Kalyan Kumar


  1. ^ a b c d "'Chitram' still a mystery for Mani Ratnam". Mangalam Publications. 16 December 2016. Archived from the original on 17 November 2018. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  2. ^ "Malayalam-DVD-Chithram-Mohanlal".
  3. ^ "Milestones in Mohanlal's career". Sify. 21 May 2005. Archived from the original on 19 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Chithram 366 days report" (in Malayalam). Vellinakshatram. Archived from the original on 19 July 2019.
  5. ^ "Chithram 200 days report" (in Malayalam). Vellinakshatram. Archived from the original on 19 July 2019.
  6. ^ "10 Mollywood films that ran for the longest time".
  7. ^ "അംബികയുടെ മനസ്സിലെ വലിയ നൊമ്പരമാണ് പഞ്ചാഗ്നിയും ചിത്രവും". Mathrubhumi (in Malayalam). 21 June 2017. Retrieved 16 July 2019.

External links

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