The former Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion striker was unable to arrest Mumbai City’s poor start to the season under Peter Reid.
The 35-year-old started his first game for the club after completing the five-match ban he received for making an anti-Semitic gesture during a game for previous employers West Bromwich Albion.
Anelka played the entirety of the match for Mumbai but failed to find the net with captain Syed Rahim Nabi scoring a late consolation goal for City, who were already down 5-0 at that point.
Instead it was another former Premier League favourite and a player also familiar to Manchester City fans who took centre stage: Elano Blumer.
The 33-year-old Brazilian, who is the youngest marquee player in the ISL, scored twice and set up another goal to help Chennaiyin romp to victory
Manager Marco Materazzi will have been delighted with the result, which came off the back of a disappointing 4-1 loss to Delhi Dynamos last time out.
For Peter Reid, meanwhile, the misery continues with this heavy loss making it three straight defeats for Mumbai City FC following a promising 5-0 opening round win over FC Pune City.
And with marquee addition Freddie Ljungberg still sidelined through injury, the pressure will be on Anelka to start delivering for his new club, who took something of a risk in recruiting the troubled forward for the 10-week competition.
The Frenchman could be called into action on Sunday, with Mumbai City due to meet the Kerala Blasters in what is fast becoming a must-win game for Reid’s side.
The Blasters boast three former Premier League stars in ex-Derby County midfielder Stephen Pearson, former Newcastle and Sunderland striker Michael Chopra and ex-England goalkeeper David James.