Rajamanikyam fame Anwar Rasheed strikes once again and that too with a bang with his second directorial venture Chotta Mumbai starring Mohanlal. An out and out entertainer, it’s a film that you would like to just sit back and enjoy, pushing all logical thinking to the background. Chotta Mumbai is a film that cashes in on Mohanlal’s superstar image and its aim is merely to entertain and enthrall.

The film takes us on a sort of roller coaster ride through a street in Fort Kochi, where Vasco da Gama, the son of a wrestler named Michael, lives. Vasco and his gang of five – Chandrappan, Susheelan, Sainu, Basheer and cousin Tomichchan are small-time goondas. But they are not really bad characters.

Vasco is called by all as ‘Thala’ meaning ‘head’, since he is the head of the gang. Though Vasco’s father Michael rebukes his son time and again, his heart is full of love for him and he dreams big for Vasco. In the meantime, a marriage broker comes with a proposal for Vasco, and the bride-to-be is Latha, an auto rickshaw driver, who turns out to be the daughter of ‘Pambu’ Chackochan, who has been a longtime friend of Michael.

Vasco likes Latha, but Latha pleads with him to tell her father that he does not like her, since she is planning to elope with her lover. But Chackochan doesn’t let him even voice his opinion. Vasco decides to help Latha out, but things take such a turn that Latha comes back to Vasco.

In the meantime Vasco, Michael, Chandrappan and Latha traveling in Latha’s auto rickshaw, come to clash with a gang that has been on the run after stabbing an honest Police Officer. Vasco and his father had been witnesses to the murder committed by Satheesan, the younger brother of Natesan, a Circle Inspector who is steeped in crime and currently under suspension. What all follows forms the rest of the plot.

Mohanlal’s on-screen presence is the real highlight of the film and he carries the film forward on his shoulders, enacting the role of Vasco with his characteristic ease. Saikumar is good as Michael. Siddique as Chandrappan, Indrajith as Tomichchan and Jagathy Sreekumar as Basheer have done justice to their respective roles.
Manikuttan has improved doing the role of Sainu. Bijukuttan, who had hogged the limelight in Pothen Vava as the latest entry in the comedy section, repeats himself and brings the house down playing the role of Susheelan.

Rajan P. Dev as the always drunk Chackochan, performs his role in his characteristic style. Bhavana is good as Latha. Kalabhavan Mani as Natesan is a good choice as the villain, while Vinayakan gives good support as Satheesan. Vijayaraghavan is good as the Circle Inspector Mohandas, who gets killed at the hands of Satheesan. The others in the cast are also above average.

The main attraction of Chotta Mumbai is that director Anwar Rasheed has made the most of Mohanlal as a star, letting him unleash his potentials as a performer, casting him in a ‘Munnabhai’ kind of role. (This was exactly what he had done with Mammootty in Rajamanikyam). Anwar Rasheed and scenarist Benny P. Nayarambalam have built the story and created situations so as to make the whole thing loud, merry and colourful, and thus retain the interest of the viewers till the end.

Azhakappan’s camerawork is in tune with the pace of the film. Editing by Don Max too adds to the tempo of the film. The songs are all fast ones and suit the total mood of the film. The remix version of the old-time song “Chettikulangara…” has come out well. Debutante music director Rahul Raj deserves a pat on the shoulder for having come up with music that suits the tempo of the film.

The makers of Chotta Mumbai deserve appreciation for having achieved what they obviously set out to do – making a full-length entertainer. The film has set the cash registers ringing.

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