Neelathamara Review | Malayalam Movie Neelathamara Review

Cast: Archana, Kailash,Samvritha Sunil,Reema.etc
Director: Lal Jose
Producer: Suresh Kumar
Music: Vidyasagar
Lyrics: Vayalar Sharath Chandra Varma
Cinematography: Vijay Ulaganath
Screenplay/Story/Writer: M.T. Vasudevan Nair
Singers:Shreya Ghoshal,Balram,Vijay Prakash,V Sreekumar,Karthik,Cherthala Ranganatha Sarma
Stills : Hari Thirumala

Review by : Unni /

Re-making an old movie, and that too one that’s not at all there in the minds of the film-viewers of today, is no less than a challenge. It’s this challenge that Lal Jose has taken up, by re-making ‘Neelathamara’, a film that most in the present generation of film viewers in Kerala have perhaps not seen. The challenge arises not just from the fact that the original ‘Neelathamara’ has become a forgotten chapter, but also because today’s theatre-going audience, which comprises mostly of youth as far as Kerala is concerned, doesn’t like seeing period flicks, which ‘Neelathamara’ is, as the story takes place three decades back. But the enterprising filmmaker that Lal Jose is, he has re-made ‘Neelathamara’ in a way that it would appeal to almost everyone, with all ingredients perfectly blended. But whether or not our much prejudiced and pre-conceived audience likes the film is what is to be seen.
Well, ‘Neelathamara’ tells a simple story. A young girl, Kunjimaalu (Archana Kavi) comes to work in a house as a housemaid and ultimately falls in love with Haridas (Kailash), the young son of the mistress (Sreedevi Unni) of the house. Kunjimaalu gets seduced by Haridas, who later marries another girl Ratnam (Samvritha) and forgets the whole Kunjimaalu episode and carries on in life as if nothing has happened.
The story is simple, but since it’s blended with a whole lot of things and presents before us a great picture of life in a Kerala village, the film has much more to speak about rather than just narrate the story. The belief surrounding the blooming of the ‘neelathamara’, the various characters who prop up the plot as supporting characters, the lives and fate of these different characters etc are woven up in a really wonderful manner in the film. The way the theme of love is treated and the bold, mature and sometimes stoic manner in which the women characters behave and react to situations and their plight have all been handled delicately. ‘Neelathamara’ stands out as a film that takes us to the late 1970’s (the main incidents narrated take place in 1979) and manage to link it to the present, i.e., 2009 in a very relevant and successful manner. Many subtle moments and equally subtle performances mark the film, which is the outcome of real team work, with Lal Jose and M.T.Vasudevan Nair playing decisive roles and the others doing their parts perfectly well.


Debutante Archana Kavi, who plays Kunjimaalu, wins our praise in all respects. She has been able to do justice to her role in a real good manner. Kailash, who also makes his debut playing Haridas, is also good. Samvritha Sunil delivers a marvelous performance and Sreedevi Unni, the mother of Monisha (the national award winning actress who passed away some years back in a road accident, at a very young age), is also good while Suresh, the brother of Ambika (who was the heroine in the original ‘Neelathamara’), gives a fairly good performance as Appoottan, Kunjimaalu’s cousin who wants to marry her. Parvathy, a very popular television anchor who earlier acted in films like ‘Time’ and ‘Thalappavu’, is good as the older Kunjimaalu. The others are OK, though some actors, being debutants and amateur actors, can be said to be doing it in a rather imperfect manner, which however can be overlooked, as it doesn’t affect the total fabric of the movie.

Technical aspects

‘Neelathamara’ has some real good work put in by the technicians, including cinematographer Vijay Ulaganath, editor Ranjan Abraham and art-director Gokul Das. Special mention must also be made of costume-designing, done by Cuckoo Parameswaran, which no doubt is one of the highlights of the film. Sound-designing has also been done with much care and the results are good.


The background score jells with the mood of the film, but it’s the songs that stand out. Vayalar Sharath Chandra Varma has penned some good lyrics that have been set to tune excellently well, by Vidyasagar. Lal Jose has done a good work of the song-visualisation, which impresses almost everyone.


When M.T.Vasudevan Nair is in charge of script, that itself is guarantee that the script will be top-notch. The scenes, the climax, the characterization etc have been taken care of in a brilliant manner.


There is often a talk that when M.T.Vasudevan Nair is penning the script, the director hasn’t much to do and the film remains an MT film, whoever the director be. Can’t say whether this is true or not, but anyhow with ‘Neelathamara’, one thing is certain; it’s as much Lal Jose’s film as it’s MT’s. Lal Jose has made his presence felt and you come out of the theatres praising the man, who has given us so many good movies, for delivering one more wonderful movie. Lal Jose has done full justice to the subject and the way he has shot the song-sequences deserves special mention. Critics can of course find faults with the film and highlight them, because nothing that man does is perfect; and hence ‘Neelathamara’ may have its share of imperfections, if you desire to point them out. But there is no denying that in the present state of affairs in Malayalam Cinema, ‘Neelathamara’ is no less than a whiff of fresh air.

Overall verdict- Beautiful! excellent! A whiff of fresh air!
Rating: 3.5/5

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