Neymar review: An enjoyable ride from Mathew Thomas and Naslen

The dog named 'Neymar' steals the show with the backing of all the other actors in this comedy entertainer.

ByArjun Ramachandran

Published:Aug 10, 2023

Neymar poster
The dog is the real hero!

Neymar (Malayalam)

  • Cast:  Mathew Thomas, Naslen, Shammy Thilakan, Vijayaraghavan, and Johny Antony
  • Director: Sudhi Maddison
  • Producer: Padma Uday
  • Music: Shan Rahman
  • Runtime: 2 hours 40 minutes

When the name Neymar is used for a movie, people might think it’s related to football.

But the new Malayalam flick Neymar refers to the name of a local breed dog which is the central character. Pets have now become a trend with the change in living style of people.

The film utilises all these advantages so that people can connect the project with their pets. It also makes use of sequences involving dog shows to make people engaged.

Being his debut, director Sudhi Maddison invests his time to research dog training and other aspects related to pets.

Though Malayalam movies like Jimmy Ee Veedinte Aiswaryam (2019), and CID Moosa (2003) portrayed dogs in pivotal characters, this one is different and is dedicated to the heroism of “Neymar”.

Neymar’s show

Sudhi Maddison Neymar

A poster of Sudhi Maddison’s ‘Neymar’. (Supplied)

In Neymar, the main characters are played by Mathew Thomas (Aakamsh aka Kunjava) and Naslen (Shinto Chakola), both close friends.

Kunjava has a crush on his classmate who owns a dog. To woo her attention, Kunjava and Shinto decide to pet a dog.

However, Kunjava’s mother denies him permission saying that her husband Sahadevan (Shammy Thilakan) doesn’t allow it.

But somehow, the youths get a local breed named “Neymar” from a pet shop owned by Babu (Maniyan Pilla Raju).

Kunjava is now on cloud nine as he starts interacting with his crush over the phone and a small relationship starts between them.

But to make things worse, “Neymar” becomes notorious in their village — Randu Kai in the Kothamangalam district.

The dog becomes a headache to the villagers as it starts catching hens from nearby houses. It even injures the son of a police officer.

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This creates a big problem, Kunjava’s father Sahadevan sends the dog to an unknown place, with the help of a truck driver.

But when Kunjava and Shinto come to know that the dog was transported to Puducherry, they both leave for Puducherry.

Vijayaraghavan as Chackola in Neymar

Vijayaraghavan as Chackola in ‘Neymar’. (Supplied)

The second part of the story, or precisely, the heroism of “Neymar” starts here.

In Puducherry, Neymar stays with Gabriel (Yog Japee), a powerful person who is into dog shows and other activities.

At a dog show happening in Sevalpet, Gabriel wants Neymar to win games so that he would get his dog Sulthan back, which he gives away to someone else after losing a match.

Gabriel trains Neymar. Kunjava and Shinto also become part of this race, as the story moves forward.

Meanwhile, the parents of Kunjava and Shinto — Sahadevan and Chackola (Vijayaraghavan) — and their other friend Thomas (Johny Anthony) reach Puducherry in search of their sons.

This trio is well placed in the movie as they are good in their comic timing.

Finally, Neymar wins all the rounds in the dog show. The tournament is similar to the one that is shown in the Kannada movie Charlie 777 (2022).

In the end, it goes back to Kerala along with Kunjava and Shinto.

Comedy is highlight

The highlight of the movie is its comedy sequences.

The combination of Mathew Thomas and Naslen worked well in the film.

Mathew Thomas Neymar

A poster of Mathew Thomas’ ‘Neymar’. (Supplied)

They were a successful combo in earlier films like Thanneer Mathan Dinangal (Watermelon Days, 2019) and Jo and Jo (2022).

Their encounter with Neymar and the comic timing of the young actors helped the movie.

The characters played by Vijayaraghavan and Shammy Thilakan — who are enemies — have been portrayed comically. Both actors are in full form.

Johny Antony as Thomas also adds charm to the comic moments. During the climax, the trio gets more important.

The women characters fade out in the second half as the story is surrounded by dogs and the Sevalpet tournament.

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Performance and technical crafts

Performance-wise, all the actors have a good role to play. Mathew and Naslen lead the race.

Yog Japee as Gabriel was pivotal in the second half.

Vijayaraghavan and Shammy Thilakan get good roles, too.

Nevertheless, Neymar is the real hero of the movie.

The time invested by the director for the dog show could have been minimised for the fact that the movie is having a running time of two hours and 41 minutes.

People who aren’t interested in pets would find these portions lagging.

Neymar has good songs composed by Shan Rahman. The background score by Gopi Sundar also works in its favour.

Cinematography by Alby captures parts of Puducherry well.

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Final Take

Neymar is an entertainer that has the potential to engage common audiences and pet lovers as well. The dog shows are something not familiar in Malayalam films.

(Views expressed are personal.)