'Neelathamara' is all about the traditional beliefs about an extraordinary flower, which blooms in a temple pond as a sign of God's will on the life of his devotees. Whoever offers a coin at the sacred step of this temple's sanctum sanatorium and pray to the 'Thevar' to lead them out of a confusion, this legendary flower will bloom as a sign for the devotee to go forward with their plans, or else to drop them. People who come from far and near, vouch that this belief has not failed its devotees. Deeply believing in this, Kunjimaalu (Archana Kavi), the naive village maiden brought to the rich family tries to sort out her confusion about what to do, when Haridas, the heir of the family tries to woo her. Haridas has just returned from the town after completing his law studies and from the day one he meets Kunjimalu, he is all after her with a playful romance, taking the advantages of the large and solitary spaces of the house. The movie follows the blooming relation and its aftermath as the 'Neelathamara' in the temple pond blooms in Kunjimalu's favour.
A remake of the original hit of 1978, this second coming also entertains the viewers to the helm. Lal Jose seems to be particular in delivering a dedicated truthfulness to the scripts of the veteran. And so it takes a few minutes to land, but thereafter the moving is so natural with exemplary performances from all the new comers. The only complaint that we heard and felt was about the climax, which gives a feel of abruptness, but on the second thoughts, this is the one climax that befits the quality remake and speaks in loads, than it actually show.
M T seems to be in his familiar terrain, with precise, crisp but powerful dialogues. Interlaced with themes of sensuality, infidelity and sincere romance, the director has created a visual marvel with the aid of cinematographer Vijay Ulaganath and art director Gokuldas. The flashback really gives the feel of 'being there', with its realistic settings and greenish tones. Recreation of the early eighties with minute detailing, from that cigarette packs to note books, tape recorders and newspapers is a definitely applaudable directorial stuff. Lal Jose and his regular crew once again displays why they are called as masters of mainstream Mollywood.
And coming to performances, Lal Jose has managed to etch out the best from almost all in the frame. But definitely it is Archana Kavi, as Kunjimalu who holds the movie with her cute sincere smile and timid subtle mannerisms of innocence and helplessness. A definite addition to the best heroines list of Mollywood, Lal Jose has offered her the best of the shots to make her emoting smooth and genuine. And Kailas as Haridas too impress, with his confident performances.
Samvritha Sunil has a role of difference, and her impressive run as Ratnam, a straight forward bold girl is a treat to watch. The seniors including Parvathi and Jayamenon who plays the later ages of Kunjimalu and Ratnam, also shows consistency in their acting manoeuvres. Popular television presenter Parvathi is such a suit for a later ages of Kunjimalu that in the dimly lit and shadowy scenes and closeups, we often doubt whether we are in flashback mode or in current age of narratives. The fresh voice of Sreedevi R Krishna who successfully and meticulously dubs for both of them is also a relevation and is a voice to look for in the future. Reema Kallingal though in small role proves that she is equally competent even in that traditional looks Sreedevi Unni, and a lot of fresher name in smaller roles also have done graceful justice to their respective roles.
The music by Vidyasagar is already in the top of the charts. His "Anuraga Vilochana" seems to be the only song after that "Lajjavathiye" to receive so much continuous loud claps and dancing in the theatres. His background sores are also interesting while Renjan Abraham as usual, excels in his cuts.
With a duration of just 110 minutes, 'Neelathamara' races steadily asking the viewers to want for more. Sticking to that impeccable styles of M T, with a little more directorial and technical finesse than some veterans who usually handle M T scripts and with loads of understated but impactful substories and strains, this is definitely a must watch for a serious movie lover. The coming weeks of the movie at the box office will prove, how far the current generation has equipped themselves to get on to the range that an M T script and visuals offer. Hat's off to Lal Jose and his team to prove that young makers are still here to bring back the splendour of that eighties.