A screengrab from Neerali trailer: YouTube

'Neerali', the much anticipated Malayalam survival thriller featuring Mohanlal in the lead role hit the big screens on July 13, 2018. Directed by Bollywood filmmaker Ajoy Varma, the film had already created huge pre-release hype, and it literally reflected in the initial theatre status in most of the release centres. The movie also marks the reunion of Mohanlal with Nadhiya Moithu after 35 long years, and the initial teaser featuring the veteran actors had played a crucial role in enhancing the overall hype surrounding the flick. Did the movie live up to these expectations? Let us check it out.

A survival thriller which offered no thrill

Survival thriller is a genre which is less exploited especially in Malayalam film industry. However, 'Neerali' failed to meet the minimum benchmarks which are considered pre-requisites for any survival thriller.

Here, we have Mohanlal as a middle-class man who is settled in an Indian metropolitan city. He leads a happy life with his wife (Nadhiya Moithu) who is pregnant. During Mohanlal's journey with Suraj Venjaramoodu in a carrier vehicle, the duo meets with an accident, and they get trapped in the cliff of a mountain. The accident kills Suraj, and Mohanlal gets isolated in a lonely place. Even a small movement will make the vehicle fall to the depths of the mountain, and the scarier moments he faces before getting rescued forms the major crux of the film.

The basic plot of the movie seems pretty interesting and engaging, but when the director portrayed the theme on the screen, it failed to provide any kind of chills and thrills. Loaded with melodramatic over the board sequences, the film did not succeed in providing an edge of the seat moment for the audiences.

Director Ajoy Varma had the privilege to make an impeccable movie with one of the finest actors in the industry, but he literally spoiled to reap even one fine moment from the complete actor. Some of the scenes were too amateurish in nature, and audiences were seen scratching their heads after realizing that it was not Mohanlal, but they were trapped in the octopian clutches. The scenes involving a monkey and Mohanlal were well-shot, but it was not thrilling enough to elevate the tensions in the minds of the viewers. 

Last but not the least, the protagonist was seen taking the responsibility of a victim's daughter, a cliched scene which audiences have seen en-number of times in the past. 

VFX saves the sinking ship

The only saving grace of the movie is its visual effects. The technical team has done a fine job with the VFX, and considering the stringent budget of a Malayalam movie, they deserve a wide round of applause for their efforts. The night scenes were well shot, and the lighting was impeccable.

However, Stephen Devassy's songs and Ronnie Raphael's background score failed to impress. It should be also noted that songs were not at all needy in a survival thriller, as it negatively impacted the flow of an already derailed movie.

Final verdict

'Neerali' is a movie which can be watched for its beautfully made VFX scenes. If you are looking for a decent survival thriller, then rent the DVD of '127 hours' and watch again.