Drishyam: Film review

Should family always come first? 

Posted: 29.07.15

A common man with a normal life takes on the law in order to protect his wife and children in this gripping and thrilling re-make of a hit South Indian Film. Drishyam poses the question, would you risk all you’ve got and go against law and authority to protect your nearest and dearest? It’s a two-hour suspense filled ride that’s simplistic but well-narrated and as a viewer, it’s one instance where you wish that the wrongdoer is not caught.

Having seen and appreciated the original Malayalam version of this film which stars the charismatic and popular actor Mohanlal, I feared a bias in my review towards the Malayalam version. However, through a frame to frame match of the original narrative (including the title) and the characters adapted to suit the nuances of a Hindi (more specifically Marathi) speaking community, the lead protagonist, Vijay Salgaonkar enacted by Ajay Devgn stands tall to deliver a stellar performance that holds the film together right from his introduction where he grabs your attention with his powerful glare, to the end, where he pleads forgiveness.

Playing an uneducated and illiterate middle-class man running a video broadcast cable distribution business, Vijay loves his family and goes beyond his means to keep them happy. Through his passion of watching films, he also possesses a unique strength of deriving visuals from movies to apply them to his real-life situations; no doubt an inspiration to the film viewing public. The first half treads along slowly establishing his regular lifestyle, love for his family and showing sequences which don’t make sense at the time, but begin to piece themselves together towards the end of the film.

One day, without warning, his comfortable family boat is rocked out of the blue when his daughter is threatened by a boy whom she accidentally kills in the heat of a fight. Things worsen for the family when the boy turns out to be the son of a powerful policewoman, IG Meera Deshmukh played by the ever reliable Tabu.

Vijay now needs all of his strength and more as he sets out to protect his family and erase the memories of the day that his family wished never happened by recreating new visuals (Drishyam). But will he be successful? Can his family withstand the rigorous questioning by the police? Are they strong enough to fight the nervous agony and stress of hiding a murder? These are the questions that are answered in Drishyam.

The direction by Nishikant Kamath is sincere and true to the original. The music by Vishal Bharadwaj and lyrics by Gulzar fit in with the situations that they play out to in the film. But the highlight of the film is the strong and well-connected script penned by and credited to Jeethu Joseph.

Tabu as IG Meera Deshmukh plays a woman torn between a practical police officer and a worried mother convincingly. Other noteworthy performances come from Kamlesh Sawant as sub-inspector Gaithonde, a despicable police official, Rajat Kapoor as the worried businessman father of the missing son and Rishab Chaddha as the rich, spoilt son of powerful and rich parents.

The script has been proven to work before for the niche South Indian audiences (it has already been adapted in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada versions) but the litmus test of the Hindi version is whether the audience it has been tailored to appreciates and accepts its non-Bollywood sensibilities.

Rating: (3.5/5)

Drishyam is released on 31st July 2015

Rajesh Nair

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