Neram widely publicized in online media acquired a fillip when Udhaynidhi Stalin’s Red Giant movies entered the fray to distribute it. A bilingual, made in Malayalam and Tamil, directed by newcomer Alphonse Putharen witnessed the release of the Malayalam version last week.
An opening Tarantino card with his famous quote ‘I steal from every movie made’, gives a feel that Neram might offer a different time at the movie hall. To add to it, a long line up of thank you notes also suggests that it might be an unusual ride that the audience would be subjected to. However what unfolds in a span of under two hours is a product that has its few bright moments but which are not powerful enough to tip the balance in Neram’s favor completely.
It is palpable that Alphonse Putharen had attempted to tell a story in a different manner but is successful only to certain extent. Sometimes the pretentiousness does get to you.
Good things happen to you if your time is good, otherwise, you suffer. And in life you are bound to be subjected to good and bad times. This is the premise around which Neram is woven. This universal truth could have been effectively used to narrate a story. However theme of the film alone is not sufficient enough to make an engaging tale. What matters is the form this theme takes on in terms of its characters, story elements and its overall presentation.
Nivin Pauly playing the role of Vetri is subjected to a torrent of mishaps and how the situations turn in the course of a single day forms the story of Neram. Alphonse has mildly touched upon ‘Chaos theory’ in the opening frames. That apart, Neram appears to be a short film that is stretched to a length of a feature film with quite a few slow-mo shots in the scheme of things.
Simha who was seen in Soodhu Kavvum does the role of a loan shark Vatti Raja and appears totally different and aggressive from his earlier role. But after a point, he gets repetitive. For R J Ramesh, his role as ‘Lighthouse’ is more of a cameo but is pivotal in its own way. Nivin Pauly finds it difficult to pull off few scenes that had the potency to showcase his talent. It’s only when the veterans like Thambi Ramiah and Nasser come in, the film takes on an engaging form.
The scenes involving Thambi Ramiah and John Vijay are easily the high points of the film and the dialogues by Pradeep in these scenes are the top of the pick. John Vijay sitting inside the lock-up in the police station as the station is getting painted results in some practical cheeky lines. His repartee when Thambi Ramiah who tries to boss over him evoke the necessary laughter. John Vijay sparkles here. Nazriya Nazim is sprightly but most of the scenes she is made to appear clueless of what’s happening around her.
When Nivin is robbed off his cash envelope, the ensuing chase is well conceptualized and a song placed there is a good touch. But the momentum that has been set in this scene is not maintained throughout. Rajesh Murugesan’s tracks don’t impede the flow of the film including the Pista track. It is interesting to note that Beethoven’s famous Für Elise is used at different speeds as BGM in scenes involving the chase of Lighthouse and gang which was aptly labeled as Thiruttu Isai! Anand Chandran’s deftness with camera was evident especially in the opening scenes with intentional shakes creating a suspense feel and a well handled color tone warrants mention.
With a premise that has the potency to engross the audience completely, Neram sparkles in bits and pieces. Intentions may be honest but execution could have been done with more finesse.
Verdict: Stylized treatment, slow narration but an interesting product which sparkles in bits and pieces