Neru review: Mohanlal and Jeethu Joseph’s emotional courtroom drama is backed by a powerful script that serves justice

There aren't heroic acts of Mohanlal in the court, but the background music by Vishnu Syam elevates the scenes.

ByArjun Ramachandran

Published:Dec 21, 2023

Mohanlal and Priya Mani in Neru
A riveting courtroom drama!

Neru (Malayalam)

  • Cast: Mohanlal, Anaswara Rajan, Siddique, Priya Mani, and Jagadeesh
  • Director: Jeethu Joseph
  • Producer:  Aashirvaad Cinemas
  • Music: Vishnu Soman
  • Runtime: 2 hours 31 minutes

Superhit combo Mohanlal and Jeethu Joseph are back with Neru.

As mentioned by its makers, the movie is an emotional courtroom drama.

It presents a similar situation as in Vaashi (2022), a courtroom drama featuring Tovino Thomas and Keerthy Suresh, which did not do well at the box office.

What works in Neru is that it wholly focuses on the crime and does not unwantedly delve into the lives of the characters.


Neru is produced by Aashirvad Cinemas

‘Neru’ is produced by Aashirvad Cinemas. (Supplied)

The trailer of Neru gave an idea of what the story would be.

A crime is reported under the limits of Thumba police station in the Thiruvananthapuram district. The victim is a blind woman Sarah (Anaswara Rajan), a sculptor. Her family files a rape case against the perpetrator.

Jagadeesh (Mohammed) and Sreedhanya (Parveen) play Sarah’s parents. The family decides to fight the case against the accused, the son of a corporate businessman.

Vijay Mohan (Mohanlal) appears as the Special Public Prosecutor on a sabbatical.

Rajasekharan, a high-profile lawyer (Siddique), is the defence counsel. All these details are understood when the trailer is watched for a second or third time.

Whether or not justice is served to the victim is what the makers try to convey through the film.


Neru has an ensemble cast

‘Neru’ has an ensemble cast. (Supplied)

Shanthi Mayadevi and Jeethu Joseph wrote the script of Neru.

A lawyer by profession in real life, Shanthi plays the role of Ahana, an associate of Vijaymohan, in the movie.

Jeethu Joseph, a master of investigation films, focused on finding the accused through various twists and turns in his previous films — Memories (2013), Detective (2007), and the Drishyam series.

In Neru, the filmmaker pans his camera to the in-house proceedings of a court.

The movie deals with a rape case and gives an account of the trial, which does not make the audience feel bored. Shanthi’s expertise comes in handy for the director.

Jeethu Joseph gets it right in most of the courtroom scenes. There are no heroic acts of Mohanlal in the court, but the background music by Vishnu Syam elevates the sequences involving Mohanlal and Anaswara Rajan.

Focused storytelling without moving away from the case is an added advantage for the film.

Related: ‘Neru’ promotions: Mohanlal’s selfie video with media goes viral

Socially relevant subject

Neru is a socially relevant subject — the increasing atrocities against women in our society, their trauma, and the mental state of their families. It takes inspiration from the Nirbhaya gang rape case and the Walayar rape case (Kerala). However, the plot does not refer to these cases.

The film is vocal about media trials and how a victim and her family are pressurised to make an out-of-the-court settlement.

Despite blackmailing and attacks, Sarah is ready to move forward with the case.

Neru is an addition to the courtroom dramas released in the recent past — Saudi Vellakka (2022), Nna Thaan Case Kodu (2022), and Vaashi (2022).

It also has a stark similarity with Dijo Jose Antony’s Jana Gana Mana (2022), starring Prithviraj in the lead role as a lawyer.

However, there aren’t “big arguments” raised by advocate Vijayamohan here, as seen in Jana Gana Mana. But he sticks to his points.


Neru is a courtroom drama

‘Neru’ is a courtroom drama. (Supplied)

The performances by most of the actors are another highlight of the movie.

Anaswara Rajan, as Sarah, is the star performer. Her role as the blind woman is her career-best performance.

She portrays the emotions of a strong girl who leaves no stone unturned to bring the culprit to books. The climax scene, where she walks to the media along with her parents, is one of the takeaways of Neru.

Mohanlal, as Vijaymohan, is calm and composed. He has his mental breakdowns but is ready to fight for justice for a woman.

This is a major movie for the actor who has been facing face back-to-back flops of late. His appearance as a lawyer is refreshing.

Siddique, as defence counsel Rajasekharan, is good. The actor proves his mettle yet again.

Priya Mani (Poornima), as Rajasekharan’s daughter and lawyer, is impressive but not exceptional.

Shanthi Mayadevi, as Ahana, and Jagadeesh, as Mohammed, are the other top performers.

Editing by VS Vinayak is a boon to the movie. The frames by cinematographer Satheesh Kurup are very good.

Final take

Neru is an emotional courtroom drama that focuses only on its core plot and does not wander off.

Director Jeethu Joseph’s touch of investigation and the strong characterisation of women in the film keep the audience engaged throughout.

(Views expressed here are personal.)