These days Tamil cinema is in the middle of a silent revolution. While movies continue being made with big budgets, big stars (such as Singam 2, poised to release on 5th July), there is this entire other stream of movies being made with smaller budgets, smaller ‘stars’ which give much more weightage to crisp scripts, taut screenplays, and an overall appreciation to the different facets of film-making. Some recent examples of this new stream are Pizza, Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanam, Soothu Kavvum, Neram, etc, most of which have already become 2013’s so called ‘sleeper hits’. And trust me, as an avid movie-lover (even movies of the big budget, big stars kind), this entire silent revolution excites me a lot. All of the movies named here and others as well have been so good that I cannot stop ‘gushing’ about them and recommending them to all other movie lovers I know.
Neram (classified as a ‘romantic comedy thriller’ film by Wikipedia [Link to article]) is one such movie which captured my attention first because of its hit song – Pistah being played on the Tamil music channels. Apart from the fact that the song went viral due to its catchy lyrics and beats, the fact that the video itself features off cuts from the movie itself piqued my interest in the movie. The catchy tags to the characters – the main villain, the tall villain, the short villain, the fair villain, the dark villain, etc, immediately made me go the web and read up a preview of the movie.
The premise of the movie where the protagonist has just one more day to go before his deadline to return borrowed money expires, was something that immediately made me to put this movie on my ‘must-watch’ list. And believe me when I say this, that probably was one the best decisions that I have made in a long time.
Neram, written, edited and directed by debutant Alphonse Putharen is one movie where people will be extremely hard pressed to find even one loose end. Everything in the movie, all the scenes, shots, situations, characters, dialogs, have a specific purpose to play and no knot remains loose at the end of the movie. As stated earlier, the premise of the movie is very simple, Vetri (played wonderfully well by Nivin Pauly, one of the up and coming Malayalam heroes) has borrowed money from Vatti Raja (portrayed extremely convincingly by Simhaa, a character artist whom I am seeing only for the second time on screen) for his sister’s wedding. Vetri has run out of time and has only till 5 PM in the evening to return the money with interest to Vatti Raja. What follows during this particular day forms the crux of the movie.
The fact that the script borrows the premise for its thrills from the fact that the hero has a clock against which he is running, and this by itself has been made into numerous successful thriller films. What takes the cake in Neram is the fact that it uses the non-linear storytelling technique. While this also is nothing new to Tamil cinema and has been tried in various movies in the past, the fact that the director makes it work wonderfully well, especially in the climax sequence, is what makes Neram stand out from the crowd.
All in all, watch this movie if you want to have an edge of the seat experience wondering what the hero will do and how he will manage to repay the money, if at all, for a crisp 117 minute running time experience.
PS: Veteran actor Nasser makes his presence immensely felt in a wonderful little cameo performance at the fag end of the film. This character by itself can form the subject of a separate movie by itself.
Image courtesy : Wikipedia link to the movie