At one point in Neerali, Mohanlal’s Sunny asks Suraj’s Veerappa that whether he has seen movies like Cast Away, Buried or Mine in order to cheer up the hopeless scenario. Well, the writer of the film is definitely inspired by the idea of showcasing a survival thriller in Malayalam. But the worst part is that he is pretty much clueless about how to conceive that idea into a gripping thriller. With all those metaphors and symbolizing falling flat, Neerali is an utter disappointment.
Sunny is a Bangalore based Gemologist who gets a call from Kozhikode saying his pregnant wife has been admitted in a hospital. Sunny wants to reach there to be a part of the happy moment in his life and he decides to go with Veerappa, someone he knows personally and he was also going to Kozhikode. But the vehicle met with an accident and Sunny and Veerappa are trapped in a scenario where both are injured and the vehicle is hanging precariously on a cliff. Sunny’s survival attempts are what Neerali is trying to show us.
Written by Saju Thomas, Neerali is severely undercooked. The pattern it follows is such a familiar one that you can easily sense the lack of clarity in the vision of this idea. They are just interested in the thrill part of this survival action. Each of those things Sunny does in order to escape looks impractical and in the second half, the escape tactics and accidents became more and more ridiculous. I didn’t know survival instincts can make a gemologist an expert in animal psychology. And there are two women who call Sunny and behaves insensitively. The loudness of these characters in the presentation takes away all the conviction.
Ajoy Varma doesn’t do anything to make the proceedings look believable. His tool to create intrigue is a track that reminded me of the Baahubali track Dhivara. The chances of you feeling an excitement whenever a scene with that song is happening are really minuscule. There is a karma angle to the story which is pretty fragile. The movie’s perspective towards the female characters is really silly. Till the interval point, even though the movie is dull, you are sort of expecting something. But the writer’s block in the second half is more excruciating than peak hour Bangalore traffic. Sunny is doing a lot of things including that conversation with the monkey which is another way of the writer saying, I am desperate to reach the climax. Sunny initially charges his phone’s battery by doing stuff like rubbing it on his pants and other tactics and at another point where he could have used that trick to escape, he decides to throw it away. Santhosh Thundiyil doesn’t really have any significant space to show his caliber as 80% of this film is shot with a green screen. The visual effects were poor (except for the snake). Even the production design looked terrible (that tree was pretty much the tree I have seen in School plays). Editing has no clue how exactly to use the back and forth narrative. Music isn’t giving any major help to the narrative.
This is the first movie in which we are seeing the slim look of Mohanlal. So is there anything in the movie beyond his looks? Sadly, no. In fact, in some scenes, you can sense the actor struggling to cope up with the loudness of the dialogues. Suraj’s character is added to include an emotional track to the movie and that also feels pretty clichéd. Nadhiya Moidu’s character and dialogue delivery were annoying. Paravatii Nair is pretty and that’s it. Nassar, Dileesh Pothan, and Bineesh Kodiyeri are there in minor roles of no real significance.
Watching Neerali inside a cinema hall, I was able to understand the emotions of Sunny George. Because both of us were in a situation from which we wanted to escape. He waited for the help to arrive and I waited for the end credits.
Watching Neerali inside a cinema hall, I was able to understand the emotions of Sunny George. Because both of us were in a situation from which we wanted to escape.