Nidra (Malayalam: നിദ്ര) is a 2012 Malayalam romantic thriller film directed by Siddharth Bharathan in his directorial debut. A remake of the 1981 film of the same name directed by Siddharth’s father Bharathan, the film stars Siddharth alongside Rima Kallingal and Jishnu in the main roles. Siddharth co-wrote the adapted screenplay with noted author Santhosh Echikkanam. The songs were composed by Jassie Gift and the background score was by Prashant Pillai. The cinematography was handled by Sameer Thahir.
Considered to be a part of the new-wave in Malayalam cinema, the film narrates the sensuous love story of Raju (Siddharth) and Ashwathy (Rima Kallingal). Raju is driven to the brink by circumstance and expectations of a materialistic world. The only person who keeps him grounded is his wife, Ashwathy. The film was well received by critics but did not fare well at the box office, mainly due to lack of promotion.Raju (Siddharth Bharathan) is the younger son from a wealthy family. Raju, who was in Germany to do space research, was not informed of his mother’s demise, and has a nervous breakdown when he gets the news. He takes a couple of years to recover and after that he marries his childhood sweetheart Ashwathy (Rima Kallingal). She is in fact the daughter of their former family chauffeur and the marriage took place much against her mother’s wishes. Ashwathy barely has an idea as to what lies in store as Raju has had a history of mental unsteadiness. She has heard about his illness, that he has been mentally disturbed after his mother’s death but now, she has to face the situation with virtually no support from anyone.Raju lives in a world of his own, away from all the business deals and money, unlike his elder brother Vishwan (Jishnu). But, his near and dear ones look at every action of his through the prism of his past illness, which frustrates him. It does not help that he has a rather short temper. To add to the oddities, he has converted his bedroom into a space research lab, and dreams of building an organically self-sustainable world for himself and his wife in the middle of the family’s rubber estate. But Vishwan, has plans to build a resort catering to foreign clients. All this makes Raju very angry and violent and people begin to think that his illness has resurfaced. Ashwathy is determined to get him back to life with her love. She almost succeeds in it, but the people around them were not so bothered about compassion, tender human emotions and selfless love.Siddharth wanted to make his directorial debut by adapting the 1964 horror classic Bhargavi Nilayam which was written by noted author Vaikom Muhammad Basheer and directed by A. Vincent. The project was dropped in pre-production stages itself and Siddharth then began directing Mithram but the project had to shelved mid-way due to production problems. Siddharth then decided to remake the 1981 film Nidra, which was directed by his father Bharathan. The original film, which starred Shanthi Krishna and Vijay Menon in the lead roles, was a critical success although is not usually recognised as one of Bharathan’s better creations. The new version is set in modern times and Siddharth considers it as a tribute to his father. Siddharth says he chose Nidra of all his father’s films because its story is relevant even now. Siddharth says, “If I have to remake a film, there should be something that I can convey through it. This story can happen even today, that too, during these times of mobile phones and Facebook. It has been set in a rural place like Chalakudy.” The new version is contemporary and unfolds in a family who lives in a small town. Siddharth says, “The basic storyline hasn’t changed much, but the content has changed. Or, let’s say, the presentation has been changed, but the essence is still there.” Some reinterpretations of the major elements and scenes of Nidra have also been done. The film’s adapted screenplay was written by noted author Santhosh Echikkanam and Siddharth.The film was announced in December 2010, and was originally titled Suhruthu. Kuttamath Films, a newly launched production house, was the producer. The production was to begin on 5 January 2011 and the film was slated to release coinciding with the festival of Vishu in April 2011. However, the project was long delayed due to some technical reasons. Later the crew decided to retain the original title and the film, with the new title, was officially launched in November 2011 with production set to begin in December.When the film was announced in 2010, Manu and Rima Kallingal were cast to play the lead roles, with the latter making his film debut. Rima Kallingal, who had been the busiest actress of the year, was chosen as the female lead much earlier itself. When Manu opted out citing personal reasons (he made his debut later in 2011 through Tournament), the role eventually went to Siddharth who had already proven his charisma as an actor in his debut film Nammal. Siddharth says: “I have been working on this script for quite some time now and I could easily relate to the psyche of the character as I used to emote out the character’s nature at various stages of development. We had cast another actor in the lead role. But when he couldn’t do it due to certain personal issues, it was relatively easy for me to step into the shoes of the character.” Another important role was given to Jishnu, who had previously acted with Siddharth in Nammal. Nidra marks Jishnu’s comeback, who took a brief hiatus to pursue projects outside filmdom. KPAC Lalitha, Bharathan’s wife and Siddharth’s mother, repises the role she donned in the original film. Lalitha has already worked with Siddharth, in the short film Kaathu Kaathu which was directed by him. Vijay Menon, who played the male lead in the original film, appears as the psychiatrist in this version.