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Neram is about time determining the good and bad in lives, according to director Alphonse Puthren. “Time has two aspects,” he says: “good and bad.”

“A good time (nalla neram) can change the fortunes of a beggar to become a king while a bad time (ketta neram) can reduce even a king to penury.”

That’s what his debut film, Neram is about. When Vetri, (Nivin Pauly) a software professional, loses his job he is forced to borrow from a loan shark to conduct his sister’s marriage. He is given a time frame within which to return the loan or else face dire consequences. The story is about the trials Vetri faces and how time plays a determining factor in his life.

When asked about the slogan on the film’s posters that reads “This is the first film in the history of Tamil cinema to offer nothing new”, Puthren said the story developed from incidents in life and around.

This bilingual Tamil and Malayalam movie stars Malayalam actors Nivin Pauly and Nazriya Nazim. Both actors worked before with Puthren for a music video titled, Nenjodu Cherthu from the album Yuvvh, that was popular online.

“Nivin is my childhood friend,” said Puthren, who was named as Best Editor in Kalaginar TV’s programme Naalaya Iyakunar.

“With his subtle acting, he has done a neat job. Nazriya’s expressions complement his work.”

Puthren, a native of Aluva owes his love for films to Tamil film icons Rajnikanth and Kamal Haasan.

Other members of the cast include Manoj K. Jain, Shammi Thilakan, and Lalu Alex in the Malayalam version while Nasser, Thambi Ramiah, John Vijay and Charlie portray the characters in Tamil. Debutant Rajesh Murugesan scores the music and camerawork is by Anend C. Chandran.

Neram has been praised for its unique presentation and its ability to keep viewers hooked.