The Malayalam film Neram was disappointing for me. Watching comedy in Indian movies can be very hard for a non-Desi like me.
For the first movie I picked to watch from the big MyIndiaShopping order from Kerala I gifted myself for my birthday, I picked Nivin Pauly’s Neram (Time). It’s an action-drama-comedy from 2013, and Nazriya Nazim (from Bangalore Days) is his love interest in the film.
Neram was disappointing and just not very good. The romance between Nivin and Nazriya is pre-existing, and frankly they had more of a best friends chemistry than romantic.
Nivin borrows money from a loan shark because he’s lost his job and has to pay for his sister’s wedding. He can’t find a job to pay the loan shark back and on the day payment is due, the packet of money a friend gives him to pay it off gets snatched out of his hand by a mugger. He has to pay back the loan shark by 5 p.m., thus the Time (Neram) of the title.
So it has bursts of action, and is sort of a farce with all sorts of misunderstandings and close shaves and farcical elements of different robbers scamming each other. But it just didn’t hold together.
It’s set in Chennai, so there’s some people speaking Tamil, mainly the bad guys. There are many misunderstandings and mispronouncing between the Tamil and Malayalam which I guess was meant to be funny.
But since I don’t speak either all that went completely over my head, and the subtitles didn’t help. (Some films like Happy New Year clue you in to the word play)
Nivin Pauly was just okay, and this is the first movie of his I would say that about him. It’s from 2013, early in his career, but I did love him in his earlier 2012 film Thattathin Marayathu
. Nazriya is not given a lot to do, and mid-way she gets kidnapped and stuffed in the trunk of a car for the rest of the film.
The editing needed to be snappier and quicker, but the camera work was at least more interesting than most. It was just meh. And from Malayalam cinema I’m used to expecting much better than meh.
About half way through, I told my husband it wasn’t that good, and he asked me why I kept watching? How to explain that the second halves of Indian films can be dramatically different. The second half did improve, but not enough.
Two and a half stars out of five.