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The music CD cover
Directed byLal Jose
Produced byLal
Written byBenny P Nayarambalam
Music byVidyasagar
CinematographyAlagappan N
Edited byRanjan Abraham
Distributed byLal Release & PJ Entertainments
Release date
  • 26 August 2005 (2005-08-26)
Budget3 crore (US$430,000)
Box office20 crore (US$2.9 million)

Chanthupottu is a 2005 Malayalam film directed by Lal Jose, written by Benny P. Nayarambalam, and produced by Lal. The story is about a man named Radhakrishnan (Dileep) who was brought up like a girl by his grandmother. This film was a super hit at the box office. This movie was based on a play of the same name (which, in turn, was based on the life of an actual man with feminine mannerisms).


Radhakrishnan (Dileep) is dysfunctionally brought up like a girl by his grandmother (Sukumari) who wanted a granddaughter. There by, he becomes effeminate and milquetoast. She calls him Radha, which becomes his nickname. Radha's father Divakaran (Lal) goes to jail for a murder that he accidentally commits. Radha is ridiculed among the people in the village but he is not worried and spends time with the girls singing and teaches dancing. His best friend is Malu (Gopika) who is wooed by Kumaran (Indrajith), a local money lender and the son of the man whom Radha's father had killed.

Divakaran comes back from jail and is shocked to see that his only son is a good for nothing transvestite, but can do nothing about it. Slowly Radha's liking for Malu turns into love and when Kumaran sees it, he beats up Radha with the help of her father (Rajan P. Dev), a local astrologer and dumps him in deep sea. But he is saved by Freddy (Biju Menon), a restaurant owner, in some distant shore. Freddy takes him to the former's native where he is living with his sister Rosie (Bhavana) and his grandmother (Valsala Menon), who is a mental patient due to the shock of the sudden death of Freddy's other sibling, Jonfy. He soon becomes a part of their family, as the grandmother begins to identify him as the late Jonfy. With a change in environment, he also discovers the manly element in him and starts to transform from his female mannerisms slowly.

Once, he gets involved in a fight with Cleetus (Sreejith Ravi), an old enemy of Freddy, after Cleetus tries to molest Rosie. During the fight, Cleetus gets severely injured on the head. Radha is forced to return to his home to escape from the police.

On reaching his native shore, he discovers that his family, along with his house was brutally burned down by Kumaran. He also learns that Malu is pregnant with Radha's child. His arrival follows a fight with Kumaran. Towards the end of the fight, Radha defeats Kumaran and is about to kill him. But he is reminded of how his father had to suffer in jail due to murder charges, and so he spares Kumaran. In the meantime, Malu prematurely gives birth to Radha's son. However, when Radha sees the child, he vows to raise him as a boy, ripping off the ribbon tied to his hair.

Characterisation of Radha[edit]

The character of Radhakrishnan, a cross-dressing man from a family of fishermen is well documented in the film. It shows the boy's grandmother's strong desire for a girl as her grandchild and her frustration when a boy is born. She even refuses to see the boy, however when she sees him she accepts the truth. However, that doesn't stop her from bringing him up as a girl child. She even dresses him like a girl and calls him Radha, a feminine name. His parents don't intervene, probably fearing the wrath of the grandmother. This induces a kind of femininity in him, even his mannerisms closely resembles women. To add to the situation, his father goes to jail leaving Radha to grow up with his femininity and transvestism. He, instead of going fishing like other men, teaches dance to girls. He is constantly in the company of girls; he plays their games and also gets teased by people of the village. He discovers that his deep affection for his childhood friend Malu, is actually love. This is preceded by an attempt by some hooligans (oolanmar, in Radha's terms) to molest him and his mother's advice that loving and marrying a girl would prove his manhood. Malu also is fond of Radha, and they engage in sexual activities. Even that doesn't change his feminine behaviour. Under special circumstances, he reaches another beach, which is more developed and there he is exposed to the outer world. He lives with Freddy and Rosy, who consider him as their lost brother. After several attempts by them, he sheds his transvestism but his femininity still hangs on. The film closes with shots of Radha going for fishing, his ancestral job. It is notable that even in the closing shots, Radha keeps his feminine mannerisms, though to a milder range.

The screenwriter Benny P. Nayarambalam was sensible enough to avoid an immediate switchover to a manly Radha, and to portray his gradual transformation to manhood. The director Lal Jose should also be credited for this. He goes into the finest details of the character, bringing out his desire for manhood and the constraints that his past lifestyle imposes on himself. The actor who portrayed Radha, Dileep arguably presents the character in the most inimitable way. This role which won the Special Jury Award at the Kerala State Film Awards is another testimonial to his versatility.

The film was criticized by the LGBT community of Kerala for its distorted portrayal of men with feminine mannerisms which eventually led to negtive impact on the lives of many of its community members[1][2]



  • Direction: Lal Jose
  • Producer: Lal
  • Writer: Benny P Nayarambalam
  • Director of Music: Vidyasagar
  • Lyrics: Vayalar Sarath Chandra Varma
  • Editing: Ranjan Abraham
  • Director of Photography: Azhakappan
  • Choreography: Sujatha
  • Stunt Director: Thyagarajan
  • Makeup: Pattanam Shah
  • Costume Designer: Manoj Alappuzha
  • Creative Support: Walter Jose
  • Director of Art: Nemom Pushparaj


Soundtrack album by
GenreFeature film soundtrack
Vidhyasagar chronology
Muddula Koduku Chanthupottu Made in USA
  1. "Azhakadalinte" – S. Janaki
  2. "Omanapuzha" – Vineeth Sreenivasan
  3. "Chanthu Kudanjoru" – Shahabas Aman, Sujatha Mohan
  4. "Kana Ponnum" – Franko, Ranjith, Chorus

Box office[edit]

The film was commercial success and ran over 125 days in theatres.[3][4][5]


  1. ^ "How movies take up trans awareness?". Mathrubhumi.
  2. ^ "In a touching post, Kerala gay man recounts how a blockbuster film wronged him". The News Minute.
  3. ^ "Dileep's citadel". Sify. 30 December 2005.
  4. ^ "Reflection of society". The Hindu. 6 January 2006.
  5. ^ "Surya is the 'surprise' hero". 6 October 2006.

External links[edit]