Neerali

What is the movie about? :: Sunny George (Mohanlal) is gemologist who works for a reputed firm. He is an expert in the science dealing with natural and artificial gemstone materials, and is considered to be someone at the top of the company heirarchy with his experience and connections. Working at Bengaluru, he only makes some visists back to Kerala when possible. His wife, Molykutty (Nadhiya Moidu) is pregnant with twins after a long wait, and as the date approaches earlier than expected, it calls for an urgent visit back home. The other two girls in his life, Naina (Parvatii Nair) and Lekshmi (Megha Mathew) are attracted to him, and the former is so attached to him that she is not willing to let him go. But Sunny sneaks out of the office and travels to Kerala in the pickup truck of Veerappa (Suraj Venjaramoodu) who has his own problems. To add to this, they are quietly followed by a team of goons lead by Rajan (Dileesh Pothan).

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: They are traveling through the highranges, and all of a sudden, they come across someone crossing the road, and while trying to save the man, hits on the side of a truck, leading to Veerappa losing control of the vehicle. They go all the way down, and stops at the edge of the cliff further below the road. The two are stuck inside the vehicle, with just the back tyres stuck on a log. With the front side of the pickup truck suspended in the air, they have no way of getting out. Veerappa is seriously injured and cannot move, while Sunny’s attempts to get back to the cliff bear no fruit. Veerappa’s mobile is stuck in a precarious position while Sunny’s mobile has no outgoing facility because of Lekshmi forgetting to pay the bill despite being assigned the task. The two incoming callers Naina and Molykutty are in no mood to hear what he has to say as the former thinks that his intention was always to cheat her and the latter feels that she is going to die. Is there a chance for escape though?

The defence of Neerali :: A good survival thriller is something that we have all lacked for a long time – Hollywood had so many of them including The GreyThe Shallows, The Martian, Everest, Gravity, 127 Hours, The Revenant, Buried and others, while Bollywood had that less known little flick known as Trapped. There are moments that has us on the edge of the seat, and the question mark about more than one thing is always present. We also have interesting questions being asked here, about relationships and on what it takes to survive, even though they are not taken that much further. There are moments when movie go a little philosophical, and we see a little bit of magic realism with the protagonist’s father making an appearance with a gun pointed at him. There is no heroism from the protagonist this time, and it is a clear bonus, and having a the main character as a helpless and rather realistic one is always better than having those supercops and superfighters. The visuals are nice too.

The claws of flaw :: We can see that Neerali was aiming for more, but it is not that much there as a survival movie – so many things could have added to this tale of survival, and we could have had the protagonist facing more, and getting out of all those troubles in a believable way. We know how well the mobile phone can be used in a survival thriller as proven by the movie Buried. The idea to bring back the Nokketha Doorathu Kannumnattu model with Mohanlal and Nadhiya is still something to be questioned, as all the references fall flat, and fails to make any positive impact – the same only gets irritating. The first half had actually promised more than what the second half could deliver. Adding some better music would have been nice too. There are also a few things that are left untouched in the end, and one is left wondering if it was done intentionally, and if it was done so, one has to wonder about its effect.

The performers of the soul :: Mohanlal does a great job as the protagonist in peril as expected, and it is on him and his character that the whole thing is centered on. Its own his actions that most of the happenings in the movie proceeds – the decisions that he make would decide not just his life, but also that of others. We see the helplessness as well as the abilities nicely reflected here. We would have still wanted to see him as a more close to life character here though. Suraj Venjaramoodu is the other character whom we see here with Mohanlal for more time that anyone else, as the traveler and partner in distress, hanging above death staring from underneath. His character isn’t given that much of a depth, and we know him mostly from the dialogues made in the vehicle. He looks good here, and the kid who plays his daughter has also done a natural job. But we know that Suraj could have had more with at least some nice dialogues inside the pickup truck hanging from above.

Further performers of the soul :: Nassar has an appearance which last a few minutes while Dileesh Pothan is wasted in a role which doesn’t go anywhere – something that we don’t see with him on the screen often. Nadhiya Moidu is the biggest disappointment in this movie, as the pair never connects to the audience and the same can be said about her character – it is clearly overdone, and we feel that her presence is more as a necessary pregnant character rather than anything else. There is nothing good that she adds to the movie, and Girly Mathew of Nokkatha Doorathu Kannumnattu gets the bad name because of the attempt to drag that feeling into this flick in which the same doesn’t belong at all. Parvatii Nair does her job really well though, and she seemed to blend in so well into this character with certain problems for herself. Megha Mathew who was there for only a few minutes also leaves a mark, as we notice the same early.

How it finishes :: We can see that Neerali ventures deep into that survival thriller territory, which Malayalam cinema industry hasn’t been that interested in exploring. With some more of imagination, the movie could have done very much better – this one is still a thriller with its moments, but more could have been achieved. Yet, we can hope that there will be more of similar movies to come, and that the genre could get a much needed boost. Next time, when someone makes an attempt at this, it could go deeper. Until then, let us be glad that this movie has made an attempt at variety, and could do without much of heroism or style from the protagonist, leaving us with more of a human world rather than that of strange superheroes made from the so called superstars. Neerali brings the divergence, and we appreciate the same.

Release date: 13th July 2018
Running time: 128 minutes
Directed by: Ajoy Varma
Starring: Mohanlal, Nadhiya Moidu, Parvatii Nair, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Dileesh Pothan, Megha Mathew, Saikumar, Nassar, Santhosh T Kuruvilla, Bineesh Kodiyeri

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Lakshyam

Vampire Owl :: When did this one release? I never knew.

Vampire Bat :: This one is more like a silent assassin. Not many people are aware of its release.

Vampire Owl :: I pity the humans; even we who live in another dimension are aware of this release.

Vampire Bat :: The humans are all after one movie only; they bring the hype for one movie, call it the greatest of all-time, and then bring it down.

Vampire Owl :: That seems to be quite the thing that humans do everytime. They even have that subspecies called fans for the same purpose.

Vampire Bat :: It also has a further subspecies, abusers, also known as the haters.

Vampire Owl :: Like they abused everyone who didn’t like the movie that much, and also those who didn’t watch the movie.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, for them, everyone needed to appreciate its greatness.

Vampire Owl :: That makes no sense, because everyone makes the effort; some people just have so much budget, and being rich, they have to struggle less.

Vampire Bat :: A fan is a fan. Read like, an idiot is an idiot.

[Gets the tickets with tea and cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: There is an accident near Peermade involving a police jeep, and it is revealed that the vehicle was carrying two convicts who seems to have escaped after the crash. Vimal (Indrajith Sukumaran) and Mushtafa (Biju Menon) are the two former prisoners, now out in the forest. The former is accused of murdering his own girlfriend Shalini (Sshivada), a crime to which he has confessed. The latter is a small-time thief who has been trying to make it big, and was caught accused of having stolen a Rolex wrist-watch, of which there is no proof except for the fact that he was there when it was stolen. Handcuffed to each other, the two will require mutual help to survive, but one happens to be a rich orphan with only one relative in the name of a brother who is in the United States and doesn’t care; the other had a mother who killed his father, and now he is alone.

So, what happens next? :: So, both have to make it through the forest, and goes on with the journey after being chased by a bear and almost being bitten by a snake. Due to the tough circumstances, Mushtafa thinks about going back, as there is no clear evidence of him being the thief and he could get away at some point. But Vimal is adamant, and offers Mushtafa, a total amount of five lakhs if he stays with him through the tough journey, let him escape the police, and find the one who had actually murdered his girlfriend. Mushtafa finds the offer interesting because it was five lakhs that he wanted to make, to begin a new life with a mobile shop and leave his troublesome past behind. With the police after them, and a forest which seems to be never-ending, will they finally be able to find the real murderer and bring him to justice, as time runs out?

The defence of Lakshyam :: There is the certainty of thrills about Lakshyam, when it is present, along with a certain suspense factor, and nobody can deny the same here, even with those troubles which make way. We also have some humour, especially with Biju Menon around. The visuals of the forest are nicely captured here, and we get to see the world from the top, as if in a game such as Age of Empires: Age of Kings with those trees, rivers and small people all around; birds flying in different directions too. The song in this movie is also good, and well taken, even though not anything that would make the big difference. The movie is also successful in making us believe that something huge is on the way right at the beginning. The movie also becomes a distant morality tale in the end, with all things being solved, even though not without some trouble as expected. The message is more about the second chance, which is provided as a reward for goodness.

The claws of flaw :: You are certain to ask if the movie has used all its possibilities as a thriller of this kind – it is far behind in making the best use of the same. Even a certain amount of humour is done in a bad taste, something which is disappointing considering the potential of the two actors here, and the possibility with this situation and environment. The comic side was also something that managed to begin so well, but doesn’t really manage the same throughout the run. The main suspense is also revealed too early, and the potential places to insert the thrilling elements were not looked at. Coming from the pen of the man behind Drishyam, the remake Papanasam and Memories, we surely have expected a lot more with this one, even though this surely has the advantage over his last effort, Oozham. With Mummy and Me, Detective and My Boss, it was a faultless resume for Jeethu Joseph, and even Life of Josutty had held on – one wonders what is happening with the same.

Performers of the soul :: Biju Menon once again leads the way, and his comic timing is exceptional as usual – even otherwise, he never goes back, and there is not even a sign of the same. There is cent percent safety concerning him handling this particular role. We are also glad to see Indrajith back here, as he is one actor who has so many good movies in his pocket, and remains very much underrated – there is no hype surrounding him, and he delivers each and every time. Sshivada’s role is once again limited, as in the ridiculous movie Inspector Davood Ibrahim, and becomes nothing like Su Sudhi Vathmeekam – but she surely has a few charming moments, not something that is expected to stay for long. The supporting cast is also so small, and the most famous name in that list, Shammi Thilakan also has so much less to do. In a movie that has almost every scene with one of these characters, and three quarter of the movie with these two together, the rest just had to keep going on.

How it finishes :: Biju Menon is coming right out of three family movies which were not less than entertaining with the humour; Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu, Kavi Uddheshichathu? and Swarna Kaduva. Indrajith’s last three movies were Vettah, Amar Akbar Anthony and Kohinoor, all being multi-starrers, his big surprise as the sole hero coming in the form of Angels. Both seems to have been choosing very well with their last few movies, which have kept us interested in their flicks that go on to be good enough for minimum guarantee. With the name Jeethu Joseph is added, Lakshyam also stays somewhere there, even though not as much as expected. The thrills are here and it should keep you interested at moments. As a movie with not much of a hype, Lakshyam making a pretty much okay run will surprise not just one or two people, but all who were looking forward to other movies. The big challenge to this movie’s existence, CIA, will still be there as the one with the hype.

Release date: 6th May 2017
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Anzar Khan
Starring: Indrajith Sukumaran, Biju Menon, Sshivada, Kishor Satya, Shammi Thilakan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.