'Neelavelicham', based on Vaikom Muhammad Basheer's short story of the same name, has been reimagined on a grand scale by director Aashiq Abu and his team.
The yellowish tint, the slow pace of a bygone era and the charm of a beautiful love story define the movie, which also draws heavily on A Vincent's 1964 film 'Bhargavi Nilayam'.
Though not a perfect retelling, the filmmaker has made an effort to make it charming on many occasions. The visuals and music are stunning. You see this when Rima, as Bhargavi, takes the stage to dance to the song 'Anuraga Madhuchashakam', crooned by K S Chithra.
The house, which is the centre of focus of the movie, looks magnificent from the outside, thanks to the craftsmanship of award-winning cinematographer Girish Gangadharan. The blue and white elements used in the film to signify the presence of a ghost in the house is elaborate, but not overdone.
However, despite the beautiful visual feast, something seems to be amiss in the first half of the film. The monologues of the writer (Sahithyakaran) who is living in the haunted mansion are devoid of the depth, that characterised Basheer's literature.
Also, Tovino (playing the role of the writer who is supposedly the Beypore Sultan himself) struggled to translate that aura onscreen.
His playful interactions with the ghost Bhargavi ( played by Rima) are cute, but even the minor misses force viewers to draw parallels with the Sahithyakaran immortalised by Madhu in 'Bhargavi Nilayam.'
Rima, both as the ghost and Sasikumar's lover, has lived her part, while Shine Tom Chacko and Roshan Mathew, also essayed their roles well.
The costumes envisioned by Sameera Saneesh on the actors have helped in transporting the characters to another time, though most of it are in shades of white. 'Neelavelicham' falls in the category of romantic horror thrillers, and the makers have been able to do justice to the genre, for the most part. Though Basheer's ghost is revenge-seeking, the fear factor is limited to a few occurrences, which has been depicted well.