Considering the popularity of Shan Rukh Khan and Prabhas among movie patrons in Kerala, many were convinced that Mohanlal's Neru might struggle to compete with Dunki and Salaar.
Malayalam superstar Mohanlal made a solid comeback last year with Neru. The film marked the superstar's reunion with director Jeethu Joseph and generated very little excitement before the release, defying the expectations that usually surround the combination of a skilled actor and director.
Neru is the fourth collaboration between Jeethu Joseph and Mohanlal. The duo's maiden venture together was Drishyam in 2013. Again, the murder mystery drama opened amid low expectations but went on to achieve great feats in terms of box office collections, thanks to glowing reviews and strong word of mouth. It became the first movie in the history of Malayalam cinema to gross over Rs 50 crore at the worldwide box office. And it went on to inspire remakes in several languages, including Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Hindi and Chinese. A Korean remake of the film was announced in 2023.
In 2021, Mohanlal and Jeethu joined forces again to extend the world of Drishyam, picking up the narrative where its predecessor left off. The sequel delved into the lingering impact of the murder investigations on Georgekutty's family. While the film received critical acclaim, its release during the pandemic, directly on streaming via Amazon Prime Video, prevented it from achieving box office success.
However, their collaboration took an unexpected turn with the release of 12th Man. Jeethu's attempt to recreate a profound impact with a locked-room-mystery narrative, akin to Agatha Christie's novels, resulted in disappointment. The film, characterized by a lacklustre and poorly executed investigative drama, stands as a setback in Mohanlal and Jeethu's otherwise successful partnership.
However, 10 years later since their first collaboration, the duo again recreated a success that was very similar to Drishyam. Neru was released in theatres at a time when the whole country was obsessing over pan-India blockbusters: Animal, Salaar and Dunki. Considering the popularity of Shan Rukh Khan and Prabhas among movie patrons in Kerala, many were convinced that Neru might struggle to compete with these major releases.
Contrary to expectations, Neru defied the sceptics and proved the filmmakers right in their strong belief in the content's potential. The film not only outshone all other new releases at the Kerala box office but also surpassed expectations globally, generating ticket sales exceeding Rs 85 crore.
After successfully running in theatres for over four weeks, Neru made its streaming debut on Disney+Hotstar on January 23. The blockbuster courtroom drama stars Anaswara Rajan, Priyamani, Santhi Mayadevi, Siddique, Jagadish, K. B. Ganesh Kumar and Sankar Induchoodan in the supporting roles.