Director Shafi has narrated a story which is a potpourri of films like Rajamanikyam, Prajapathi, Thommanum Makkalum and a few others of the similar kind, but certainly without much of the charm of any of these films, in the absence of a credible storyline!
How many times have we been taken to some curious land in the Tamil Nadu border, where the hero is the God for the rather dumb natives and he has a past that will be revealed only during the second half? Amidst confusions galore, the hero will have the whole village ready to die for him, except for the villain and his cronies who will pose some problems until the climax, some minutes before the end credits start rolling.
Well, the story happens more or less the same way, in a remote village originally called Chembattunadu as well. The rivalry between two wealthy families had brought in some chattampis (goons) from neighbouring areas and after a while, they took control of the village.
Chembattunadu soon became Chattambinadu. Vijendra Mallaya (Mammootty), who speaks Malayalam with a heavy Kannada accent, soon comes to Chattambinadu, after he buys the property belonging to Mallanchira Chandramohan (Manoj K Jayan). This enrages the wicked Kattappilly Nagendran (Siddique) and he begins to pose troubles one after the other for Mallaya. There are some local chattampis in the area, like Makri Gopalan (Salim Kumar) and Dasamoolam Damu (Suraj Venjarammood) that is meant to makes things more interesting.
Mammootty looks eminently handsome in his trimmed moustache and neatly cut stubble. He wears a white kurta- pyjama, white shoes, dark sunglasses and a red tilak on his forehead that makes him quite an imposing figure. He talks in a peculiar accent and the actor has taken some nice efforts to give the character some real difference.
Mammootty’s punchline a mixture of Kannada and Malayalam is sure to become popular. But why does only his character speak in such an accent and everyone else converse in fluent Malayalam, including his gang members?
Vinu Mohan, who plays Murugan, is like a brother to Mallaya and the young actor has come up with one of the best performances in his brief career. Both the heroines, Lakshmi Rai and Manikyam Mythili, have limited roles to play.
Siddique, as the menacing villain, looks fine but has nothing much to do other than what we have seen in some of his earlier films. Salimkumar and Suraj tries really hard, but they too have nothing new to offer.
It is the script that is the weakest link here and that is evident all along. The scenes and even the locations remind us that this is a rather meek hodgepodge of situations from quite a few films from the past, with related themes. Manoj Pillai's camera, however, does a brilliant job and Alex Paul's music seems to be okay in parts.
At just more than two hours and eight minutes, Chattambinadu may turn out to be a mindless mass entertainer. The film is worth a look for Mammookka, he is simply awesome and holds the film together.