Little John (film)

Little John is a 2001 trilingual fantasy film written, executive produced and directed by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao. Bentley Mitchum and Jyothika play the lead roles with Anupam Kher, and Nassar playing supporting roles. The film released in Tamil, English, and Hindi. Pravin Mani composed the music for the project.[1] The film opened to above average reviews and did moderate business at the box office. Despite the release of a Hindi version, the English version was dubbed into Hindi as Chota Johny in 2016.[2]

Little John
Little John 2001.jpg
Lobby card for English version
Directed bySingeetam Srinivasa Rao
Written byDialogue:
Crazy Mohan (Tamil)
Sushma Ahuja (Hindi)
Mark Zaslove (English)
Screenplay bySingeetam Srinivasa Rao
Story bySingeetam Srinivasa Rao
Produced bySujatha
M. Varadaraja
K. Maniprasad
Executive Producer:-
Singeetam Srinivasa Rao
Edited byN. P. Satish
Music byPravin Mani
Distributed bySingeetam Movies
Release date
  • 13 April 2001 (2001-04-13)
Running time
126 minutes


The film opens with a historical story in which the goddess Parvathi while performing dance with her husband Lord Shiva drops her nose stud (Mookuththi in Tamil) on the Earth and because of which a temple was raised named "Mookuththi Amman temple" in Tamil Nadu. The nose stud has many powers in it and so an evil powered soul named "Kaalabhairavan" / "Kalabhairav" (Prakash Raj) waits one thousand years patiently to capture it.

John McKenzie (Bentley Mitchum), an American student from Pittsburgh comes to India to visit and research the Mookuththi Amman temple and stays in his Indian friend Vasu's home. He is received warmly by his friend's family. John visits the temple and he learns the Mookuththi history by the temple key person Swami Paramananda aka Swamiji (Anupam Kher) and a leaf which guides them to protect Mookuthi from evil powers which is visible only to him and not to John. John does not believe the story yet he believes only whatever he sees in his own eyes. Meanwhile, John develops a love for Vasu's sister Vani (Jyothika) which is disliked by Vasu's parents. Kalabhairavan wakes up from his long patience and captures the Mookuththi by one of his faithful servants by hypnotizing him. But the Mookuththi does not allow itself to go out of the temple and hides in a snake hill inside the temple. John is charged for the theft of Mookuththi and arrested by police despite Swamiji's repeated words that he did not steal it. John escapes from police custody and seeks the help of Swamiji. Swamiji throws powder on him with an intention of making him invisible but John turns to a small tiny little being.

Swamiji was arrested with the charge of concealing someone charged with a crime. John seeks Vani's help and they go to the police station with John in her pocket. Swamiji instructs him that the Mookuththi should be placed back in Amman's nose by that day's sunset else John will be 'Little John' forever. John takes away the Mookuththi from snake hill. Meanwhile, Kalabhairavan attempts to capture the Mookuththi. After several struggles between evil and divine, Mookuthithi is placed back in Amman's nose by John which destroys the evil Kalabhairavan. John gets back to his normal size and unites with Vani.


Actor (Tamil version) Actor (English/Hindi) Role
Bentley Mitchum John McKenzie
Jyothika Vani
Anupam Kher Swami Paramananda aka Swamiji
Nassar Inspector Vijay
Mohan Ram Anjan Srivastav Vishwanath, Vani's father
Fathima Babu Bharati Achrekar Nirmala, Vani's mother
Ash Chandler DIG Kumar
Prakash Raj Kaala Bhairavan / Kala Bhairav
U.B.G. Menon Sundaresan, Nirmala's father
Laxmi Rattan Lal, Kumar's father
Kallu Chidambaram Bakshi, Kala's disciple
Mayilsamy Kabali (Shanti Singh in Hindi), the auto (taxi) driver
R. S. Sivaji Police constable


In the late 1990s, director Singeetham Srinivasa Rao was asked by a producer to make a Hollywood film called Five and Half Hours to Dawn with many special effects and Rao went to Los Angeles and even engaged a casting director.[3] But when the chance bypassed him, it led to an opportunity to make Little John which would star an American lead actor. Bentley Mitchum, an American actor best known for being the grandson of Robert Mitchum, was cast in the lead role while Jyothika was signed on to play the heroine.[4][5][6] The American actor revealed he was surprised that he made it through his audition and had never watched an Indian film and only had read Rao's resume. The project was made as a trilingual in Tamil, Hindi, and English and was shot thrice, although the English version had no songs. The Tamil version starred Mohan Ram and Fathima Babu as Jyothika's parents while the English and Hindi versions featured Anjan Srivastav and Bharati Achrekar as her parents, respectively.[7] Ash Chandler, an English speaking comedian of Indian descent, was also selected to play a role in the film.[8] Prakash Raj was also roped in to play the role of Kalabhairava, revealing he had to sit before the makeup man from 5 am to get ready for a 9 am shot.[9]

The film was produced by Media Dreams, who at the time were also producing Kamal Haasan's Pammal K. Sambandam as well as the Shankar project, Robot in 2002.[10] Crazy Mohan, Sushma Ahuja and Mark Jaslov wrote the dialogues for the Tamil, Hindi and English versions respectively.[11] Mitchum's voice was dubbed by playback singer, Devan Ekambaram.[12]


The film won above average reviews,[13] with The New Straits Times wrote that the "movie is good in two aspects: its fantastic hit songs and real graphics", while about the performances the critic writes that "Mitchum is charming and likeable" and "Jyothika looks sweet with her new make-up".[14] Another critic from also gave the film a positive verdict, praising Mitchum's performance.[15] However, another reviewer mentioned that "it seems like a film meant for children. But then the director seems to have under-estimated the intelligence level of his targeted audience. Thiru's cinematography is a plus point for the film."[16]

In 2006, a Telugu language version of the film was dubbed and released with Prakash Raj's character being renamed as Patala Bhairavudu.[17]


Little John
Soundtrack album by
Released9 March 2001
GenreFeature film soundtrack
LabelSa Re Ga Ma
Pravin Mani chronology
Little John

The film's music composed by Pravin Mani was critically acclaimed.[18] The lyrics for Tamil version was written by Vairamuthu and lyrics for Hindi version was written by Javed Akhtar.

The songs of the film became an instant hit. Especially, the songs " Lady Don't Treat Me", "Baila Re Baila" and "Paadava Paadava" topped the charts. The songs "Lady Don't Treat Me" and "Baila Re Baila" were peppy numbers, while the song "Paadava Paadava" is a romantic melody rendered beautifully by the veteran singer Sujatha. This song was sung by Alka Yagnik in the Hindi version of the film. Critics praised the composition of Pravin Mani, where apunkachoice rated the album 3 out of 5 stating that, " Pravin's music is of course one of the good points of the film. It's different from the usual Tamil film music".

Tamil track listEdit

1."Lady Don't Treat Me"Srinivas, Sujatha 
2."Paadava Paadava"Sujatha 
3."Laila Laila"Pravin Mani, Vasundhara Das 
5."Baila Re Baila"Clinton Cerejo, K. S. Chithra, Gopi 
6."Gone Case"Hansel & Gretel 
7."Paadava Paadava"KK 

Hindi track listEdit

1."Hey Hey Tum Ho"Srinivas, K. S. Chithra 
2."Aaj Main Gavoon 1"Alka Yagnik 
3."Laila Laila"Pravin Mani, Vasundhara Das 
4."Jag Hai Chidi"Shankar Mahadevan 
5."Baila Re Baila"Clinton Cerejo, K. S. Chithra, Gopi 
6."Gone Case"Hansel & Gretel 
7."Jung Hai"Shankar Mahadevan 
8."Aaj Main Gavoon 2"Sujatha 


  1. ^ "Filmography of little john". Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  2. ^ "Chota Johny (2016) Full Hindi Dubbed Movie - Bentley Mitchum, Jyotika - South Dubbed Hindi Movies". 8 September 2016. Archived from the original on 19 December 2021.
  3. ^ "Entertainment Hyderabad / Interview : Spinning magic". The Hindu. 20 May 2005. Archived from the original on 9 April 2006. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  4. ^ ""We Rise fast, fall fast": Jyothika". Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Flair for the unusual". The Hindu. 6 April 2001. Archived from the original on 1 November 2002. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 April 2001. Retrieved 12 January 2022.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Acting in a Tamil Film Is Like Doing A Breakdance And Singing in Chinese, Also Smiling at the Same Time: Bentley Mitchum". 16 November 2000. Archived from the original on 5 October 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  8. ^ Rounak Guharoy, Mumbai Mirror 25 October 2011, 11.34 am IST (25 October 2011). "'I don't want to label various aspects of my being'". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2013.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ "Thamilan Web Hot News". Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  10. ^ "Talk of the Town". The Hindu. 4 April 2001. Archived from the original on 12 November 2004. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  11. ^ "Little John". Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  12. ^ P Sangeetha (20 April 2010). "Devan enjoying his new innings". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  13. ^ "Film review: Little John". The Hindu. 13 April 2001. Archived from the original on 22 September 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  14. ^ K. N. Vijayan (5 May 2001). "Funny white man the hero". New Straits Times. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  15. ^ "LITTLE JOHN" A New Tamil Movie Review By Your Prabhu". Lollu Express. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  16. ^ "Little John Movie Review". Archived from the original on 22 September 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Making waves". The Hindu. 11 May 2004. Archived from the original on 2 July 2004. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  19. ^

External linksEdit