The lyrical beauty of the songs, the extraordinary settings that combine beauty and poetry Neelavelicham “A near-perfect homage to the legendary writer who marveled at imperfection and despised grammar as much as he hated having his writing edited,” notes Divya Nair.

I was hardly interested in horror films in Malayalam.

Blame the poor storytelling, but the over-the-top performances of busty, white-sari clad women thirsting for blood and revenge were only made worse by the chilling visual effects.

On rare occasions, when coupled with decent humor and some logic, there’s a bit of ingenuity that makes the experience of watching a horror thriller enjoyable.

Manichitrathazhu, Anandabhadram and the newer one Romancham are some of the best that come to mind.

I remember my grandmother mentioning this when the late Vaikom Muhammed Basheer was visiting Bhargavi Nilayam Released in 1964, the film was one of Malayalam cinema’s most notable horror films.

Watching it on TV as a ’90s kid, I might not have liked the theatrical performance of a beautiful story put together by an outstanding cast of Madhu, the late Prem Nazir and Vijaya Nirmala, but I appreciated the guts Makers about creating a space of compassion for the brave and fearless kohl-eyed female spirit, even as they try to scare you to death.

The story is simple. A humble writer rents out a haunted house against the advice of his friends and villagers.

He is intrigued by the mystery of the manor’s beautiful daughter named Bhargavi and decides to write her story when he discovers the truth behind the young woman’s alleged suicide. Her spirit is believed to scare away the villagers and claim innocent lives.

If you’ve seen the original in black and white, you might agree why director Aashiq Abu would have wanted to adapt this classic and narrate it for modern audiences.

With Tovino Thomas as Basheer, Neelavelicham takes an ambitious leap of faith to retell the story of Bhargavi and Sasikumar while staying true to the original.

The scenes are adjusted frame by frame, but watching 60 years later comes with some expectations and limitations.

The new script and the new camera work give this already seen story a special charm.

The film is more refined and there is an emphasis on the finer details compared to the original – the dusty interiors of a mysterious, unpopular mansion with a noisy rodent, a fearsome cat, often punctuated by Bhargavi’s somber silhouette, appearing under the moonlit sky and again disappears are common ingredients that promise a bit of creep and thrill.

For example in Bhargavi NilayamWhen the author (played by Madhu) first enters the mansion, it seems like he is entering a set where the surroundings are familiar, unlike Tovino, who mimics the same dialogues but curious, also cautious and a A little scared like him leads us to believe that a woman’s vengeful spirit can do him no harm.

The beauty of Neelavelicham lies in the personification and dignity of his non-living beings.

When the author seeks permission and blessings from the owner of the house before entering the house or when he calls for Bhargavikutty As if he were reaching out to a long-lost friend, you also identify with his pure heart and pure intentions.

Then it is only natural that Bhargavikutty Gradually accepts his company and together inhabits the new space he has created for himself in their world.

Aashiq Abu’s adaptation adds some new elements to the script, such as the scene where Bhargavi sneaks curiously to the author’s dairy and reads his personal notes, giving us a rare glimpse of his pensive solitude, a far cry from his cheerful, spirited public image .

The visuals and VFX are equally stunning, especially the beach scene witnessed by the author neelavelicham (blue luminescence, the phenomenon from which the story takes its title).

It’s a spectacle worth enjoying on the big screen. But it leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to telling the core story of a young couple separated by fate.

Blame it on the lack of chemistry between Bhargavi (Rima Kallingal) and Sasikumar (Roshan Mathew) or the choice of characters – maybe they could have cast someone younger – you don’t feel quite as empathetic as you should after discovering the unfortunate has turn of events.

Neelavelichama is a bit boring for a family entertainer.

If you ignored these natural expectations, you would see the film for what it achieves: a visual treat for the senses.

The lyrical beauty of the songs, the extraordinary settings that combine beauty and poetry Neelavelicham a near-perfect homage to the legendary writer who marveled at imperfection and despised grammar as much as he hated having his writing edited.

As for the characters, except for Rima, most of the others deliver memorable performances.

Much like his name, Shine Tom Chacko shines in his role as Nanukuttan, the submissive possessive cousin, the arch-villain of the story.

Tovino is as brilliant as ever as a reserved but inquisitive, kindly writer who refreshes us with a more promising, fulfilling role than the late Vaikom Basheer could have imagined.

If Bhargavi Nilayam was Vincent A’s directorial debut, Neelavelicham is Aashiq Abu’s first attempt at horror, and his efforts to recreate a classic cinematic really pay off.

Neelavelicham Stream on Amazon Prime Video.

Neelavelicham Review Rediff Rating:


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