My Dear Kuttichathan

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My Dear Kuttichathan
My Dear Kuttichathan.jpg
Directed byJijo Punnoose
Produced byNavodaya Appachan
Jose Punnoose
Written byRaghunath Paleri
(Malayalam dialogue)
Ikram Akhtar
(Hindi dialogue)
Madhan Karky
(Tamil dialogue)
StarringDalip Tahil
Sonia
Master Aravind
Master Mukesh
Surya Kiran
Rajan P. Dev
Jagathi Sreekumar
Jagadish
Nedumudi Venu
Music byIlaiyaraaja
(Malayalam/Tamil versions)
Anu Malik
(Hindi version)
CinematographyAshok Kumar
Edited byT. R. Sekar
Production
company
Navodaya Studios
Release date
  • 24 August 1984 (1984-08-24)
CountryIndia
LanguageMalayalam
Box office2.5 crore+[1]

My Dear Kuttichathan (lit. My Dear Little Ghost) is a 1984 Indian Malayalam fantasy film, directed by Jijo Punnoose.[2] The film was produced by his father Navodaya Appachan under Navodaya studio in Kerala. This was the first Indian film to be filmed in 3D. The film revolves around a mystical Indian god "Kuttichathan" who is under the spell of an evil sorcerer, however it gets released by three children and then befriends them. The film's script was written by Raghunath Paleri and T. K. Rajeevkumar. The film's soundtrack was composed by Ilaiyaraaja. The film's cinematography and editing was done by Ashok Kumar and T. R. Sekar respectively.

The film was well received and grossed over 2.5 crore from the box office.[1] Originally filmed in Malayalam, a re-edited version was re-released in 1997, which makes it the first DTS movie in Malayalam. It was also dubbed in Hindi as Chhota Chetan in 1997, which was also a box office success grossing 1.30 crore.[3] Scenes with Urmila Matondkar were later added. In 2010, further scenes were added in Tamil with Prakash Raj and Santhanam and was released as Chutti Chathan. A new re-mastered version with additional footage released on 25 August 2011.

Plot[edit]

The character "Kuttichathan" is formed on the basis of the specialties of a deity popularly known as "Chathan" who is being worshiped mainly in the south Indian state, Kerala. There are cruel magicians everywhere in the world. One of them is Karimbhootham (black magician), who enslaved an invisible spirit with his magic spells, whom he calls "Kuttichathan" ("Little Ghost" in English and "Chhota Chetan" in Hindi). Two boys and a girl befriend Kuttichathan by accident and release him from the grip of the magician.

On the way Kuttichathan meets Ashish, a member of the police, who is after Karimbhootham.

They understand that this Chathan is friendly to kids and is a very good friend. Therefore, the girl promises to keep Kuttichathan in her house for two reasons: one, her father drinks too much, so she wants Chathan, who is a very good magician, to make him come to his senses, as after her mother died, there is no one to control him; second, Chathan, despite being a small boy, also drinks a lot. He could drink and finish off all that her father drinks, thereby changing her father's attitude.

At the same time, the cruel magician wants the Kuttichathan to lay his hands on a treasure. Even though the magician is the owner of the Kuttichathan, he is burnt and killed by the Chathan in the climax. Chathan then turns into a bat and flies away.

Cast[edit]

Poster of the Hindi version of the film, Chhota Chetan
Malayalam version
Hindi version
Tamil version

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

My Dear Kuttichathan was the first Indian film to be filmed in 3D.[4] Jijo Punnoose, son of Navodaya Appachan made his directorial debut with this film. After Padayottam (1982), Jijo decided to direct a 3D film after getting inspired by an article in "American Cinematographer" shown to him by cinematographer Ramachandra Babu.[5][6]

Technology[edit]

To understand the technology, Jijo travelled multiple trips to Burbank, California and bought sample reels of 3D films and held a preview in his studio.[1] Appachan who was thoroughly convinced decided to produce this film under the allocated budget of 40 lakhs.[6] David Schmier worked as the film's stereographer along with the film's cinematographer to ensure multiple images converge for 3D effect.[6]

Jijo travelled to the US once again where he met Chris Condon, an expert in 3D technology. Jijo bought the special camera lens and after much discussion Chris agreed to assist Jijo in his film.[1] The required equipment needed for the film had to be imported from the US and Jijo managed to do this with the help of his friend, Thomas J Easho.[1]

Script[edit]

For the 3D film, the makers wanted a universal theme in order to appeal children. Jijo carried the idea of a friendly ghost for years, he sought the opinion of people such as Anant Pai and Padmarajan for the film's writing. Raghunath Paleri came on board as the film's writer, took all the inputs from the experts and created the plot of three kids and a ghost. Paleri cited he wrote the script in such a way "that would have worked even if it was 2D".[6]

Casting[edit]

S. L. Puram Anand, who worked as an production executive for this film revealed that Jijo wanted to do this film with an entirely new cast. Anand suggested Dalip Tahil for the supporting role.[1] Sonia Bose and MD Ramnoth were cast as child artists.[7] The latter portrayed the titular character.[8]

Ashok Kumar handled cinematography for the film, thus making him the first cinematographer in India to have shot a 3D film.[9][10] T. K. Rajeev Kumar, who went on to become a famous director, started his career as an assistant director with this film.[11]

In the Hindi version shot in 1997, Shakti Kapoor plays the part of a magician (originally played by Alummoodan) who tries to catch Chetan, but gets trapped in a mirror. Prakash Raj did this role in its re-released Tamil version released in 2010. Satish Kaushik plays the part of Jagathi Sreekumar as a scientist who also tries to catch Chetan, but gets destroyed.

Filming[edit]

Despite proper planning, the filming took around 90 days to complete, three times the schedule of a normal film.[6] The budget for the lighting was higher than a 2D film. The filming was held at Navodaya Studios and places around the Kakkanad area.[1] For the infamous scene of walking on the wall, Paleri suggested the sequence to be converted into a song.[6] The song "Aalipazham Perukka" took 14 days to be completed.[6]

K. Shekar and Jijo decided on a rectangular-shaped rotating room to suit the wider, landscape-like nature of the 3D frame. Jijo then entrusted SILK (Steel Industrial Kerala) with the task of constructing a steel structure on the room, made of timber. The octagonal structure, weighing 25 tonnes, was completed in a month's time. Six men on either side would rotate it to create the illusion that the kids were walking 360 degrees around the room.[6]

Soundtrack[edit]

My Dear Kuttichathan [Malayalam]
Soundtrack album by
Released1984
GenreFeature film soundtrack
Chhota Chetan [Hindi]
Soundtrack album by
Released1998
GenreFeature film soundtrack
Chutti Chathan [Tamil]
Soundtrack album by
Released2010
GenreFeature film soundtrack

Malayalam version[edit]

# Title Singer(s) Lyricist
1 "Aalippazham Perukkaan" S. Janaki, S. P. Sailaja Bichu Thirumala
2 "Minnaaminungum" K. J. Yesudas & Chorus Bichu Thirumala

Hindi version[edit]

1997 version
  1. "Chhota Chetan" - K. S. Chithra
  2. "Ek Jaadu Hone Wala Hai" - Shankar Mahadevan
  3. "Jo Tum Kaho" - Anuradha Sriram, Srinivas
  4. "Jo Tum Kaho" (II) - Aditya Narayan, Anmol Malik, Dominique Cerejo
  5. "Ringa Ringa Ro" - Shankar Mahadevan
  6. "Parody Song" - Shabbir Kumar, Anuradha Paudwal
  7. "Billi Boli Miyaoon" - Shabbir Kumar, Anuradha Paudwal
  8. "Bombai Ban Gayi Mumbai" - Aditya Narayan

Tamil version[edit]

# Title Singer(s)
1 "Chinnakuzhandhaigale" Vani Jayaram
2 "Poovaadai Kaatru" K. J. Yesudas & Chorus
3 "Full Movie BGM" Ilaiyaraaja

Release[edit]

The film was released in 1984 along with dubbed versions in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi.[1] The Telugu and Hindi versions were titled Chinnari Chethana and Chhota Chetan respectively. All the versions proved to be successful.[12][13] For the watching experience, special lenses had to be attached to the projectors in theatres.[6]

Navodaya distributed the film by themselves in Kerala. Popular director K. R. distributed the Tamil version of the film. The Tamil version also became successful, surpassing bigger films.[6] The film's release also attracted criticism that the public blamed the film for conjunctivitis which prompted the makers to add a footage before the beginning of the film with all the actors explaining the use of 3D glasses.[6]

Re-releases[edit]

The film was re-released in 1997 which was also highly successful at the box office; it had earned 60 times its initial investment.[1][14] The Hindi version was re-released by Nitin Manmohan in 1997, with additional scenes which involved Urmila Matondkar and other Hindi actors.[15] In 2010, Sri Thenandal Films re-released the Tamil version, titled Chutti Chathan in 2010, with added scenes starring Santhanam and Prakash Raj.

Legacy[edit]

The film became a trendsetter and remains a cult classic in Malayalam cinema inspiring similar kinds of films in India. The optical illusion in the house set used in the song "Aalipazham Perukkaan" was built in Kishkinta Theme Park.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Chelangad, Saju (2 April 2018). "Jijo and his 3D dream that resulted in 'My Dear Kuttichathan'". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Archived from the original on 14 November 2018. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  2. ^ "Casting a Magic spell". The Hindu. 15 May 2003. Archived from the original on 4 November 2003. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  3. ^ Jha, Lata (14 November 2016). "Children's Day: 10 memorable Bollywood films". Mint. Archived from the original on 17 November 2018. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  4. ^ "3D fad back with a vengeance". The Hindu. 24 March 2003. Archived from the original on 14 November 2018. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Cinematography students told to observe life". The Hindu. 10 June 2017. Archived from the original on 14 November 2018. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Menon, Vishal (12 November 2018). "My Dear Kuttichathan: The Unforgettable Story of India's First 3D Film". Film Companion. Archived from the original on 13 November 2018. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  7. ^ "Children's day out with cast of Kuttichathan". Deccan Chronicle. 20 May 2018. Archived from the original on 18 June 2018. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  8. ^ Prakash, Asha (8 November 2017). "'My dear Kuttichathan' leads a quiet life now". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 14 November 2018. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  9. ^ Warrier, Shobha (25 March 1999). "'Alas, realistic movies are dead'". Rediff.com. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  10. ^ "He created magic with movie camera". The Hindu. 20 October 2017. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  11. ^ Warrier, Shobha (12 May 2000). "'I had no plans to direct a Hindi film'". Rediff.com. Archived from the original on 20 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  12. ^ "'Chota' dose of fun". The Hindu. 8 May 2000. Archived from the original on 14 November 2018. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  13. ^ "My Dear Kuttichathan". Bollywood Life. 12 December 1997. Archived from the original on 3 December 2017. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  14. ^ "Cinema's born-again avatar". Business Today. 21 August 2011. Archived from the original on 10 July 2018. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  15. ^ "'Chota' dose of fun". The Hindu. 8 May 2000. Archived from the original on 14 November 2018. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  16. ^ Ashok Kumar, S. R. (6 May 2005). "Now defy gravity, visit Kishkinta". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 14 November 2018. Retrieved 20 October 2017.

External links[edit]