Drishyam 2 Movie Review: The Malayalam original, Drishyam 2, is the best Mohanlal film I have seen in the past few years (though the competition isn't much). It is a film that gets better with each watching, surprisingly smart than it lets out to be and is that rare occurrence where a sequel feels as good as the original, if not better. One thing I hated about Drishyam 2 was it came directly on OTT between the two dangerous phases of COVID-19, thereby denying the Malayalam audience the opportunity to cherish it as a big screen experience. Bollywood, in its present obsession to remake everything under the sun, didn't want to lose on that opportunity and here we have Drishyam 2 straight into the theatres, with Ajay Devgn returning as Vijay Salgaonkar. Drishyam 2 Movie Review: Mohanlal’s Sequel to His Blockbuster Family Thriller Is Loaded With Pulpy Surprises.

The Hindi remake of the first Drishyam film was made by the late Nishikant Kamat, and it was a decent enough effort that worked well at the box office. The sequel is directed by Abhishek Pathak who had earlier directed Ujda Chaman, which was a terrible remake of the Kannada film Ondu Motteya Kathe, which had a lovely remake in Malayalam as Thamaasha.

Compared to Ujda Chaman, Drishyam 2 is definitely an improvement for the director, but that has a lot to do with the fact that he doesn't experiment much with the original script. And when he does, Drishyam 2 falters big time, on which I will come to that soon.

So anyway, you know what happened to Vijay Salgaonkar (Ajay Devgn, merely going through the motions here) and his family back in 2014, and how the scandal involving them rocked Pandolem, a small town in Goa. Vijay thought he did a perfect crime coverup, but he didn't know there was a surprise eye-witness, though the person had no clue what he had witnessed then. This is established in the opening scene of the sequel.

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Drishyam 2 then shifts its timeline to seven years later, that means in 2021 - a year when the country hasn't recovered from coronavirus. There is a mention of lockdown, but despite the year it is set in, not a single person is seen wearing mask. What's more, Vijay is now an owner of a multiplex, and the movies that are running in his theatre are films like Saand Ki Aankh and Pati Patni Aur Woh, both of which came out in 2019. What's more, not once he complains about lack of collections due to the pandemic.

Now I know that this sounds like random cribbing, since the main plot has nothing to do with the COVID-19 and the lockdown. The Malayalam Drishyam 2 doesn't even mention the pandemic. It is good that the Hindi remake bothered to mention the lockdown considering the year it is set in, but why such an half-hearted inclusion that raises unwanted, distracting questions? Were Goans flouting COVID-19 guidelines left, right and centre? Half-heartedness, though, is not just restricted to lockdowns and its timeline setting, but to the rest of the narrative as well.

Returning to Vijay, he is also planning to produce a film, and is visibly more well-to-do than when we saw him last, now also having grown a beard. He still retains his old cable TV office, which allows him to keep an eye at the police station where lies his most guarded secret. His family, especially his wife Nandini (Shriya Saran) and elder daughter Anju (Ishita Dutta), still carry the scars of the past events and are not privy to Vijay's secret, which still eats Nandini.

Vijay's troubles aren't restricted to his family's emotional scars; his old nemesis Meera (Tabu, who deserves much better, but she never heeds my yearnings), now retired, is also back and she is determined to bring him to justice and divulge what happened to her son. What's more, she is aided by an old batchmate, who is now the IG of Goan Police - Tarun Ahlawat (Akshaye Khanna). Drushyam 2 Movie Review: The Telugu Remake is A Thrilling Treat for Venkatesh Daggubati Fans!

Now the introduction of Tarun in the movie is quite baffling. When we see him first, Tarun is playing chess all by himself, and what's more, he hasn't moved a single piece in his exquisite looking chessboard. When one onlooker points it out to his companion, the latter says that Tarun is playing all the moves in his head. In the end, I was quite clueless as to who won that match, and later in the movie, I was still awaiting when Tarun will bring forth his so-called intellect.

Tarun, played by Akshaye Khanna in his trademark manner that we also saw in Ittefaq, and his police gang are what's the most wrong with Drishyam 2, Especially how the movie arranges to bring back Kamlesh Sawant's vile Gaitonde from the first film, a task which the Malayalam film never bothered to do with Kalabhavan Shajon's character from its predecessor.

The first Drishyam Malayalam film's biggest criticism was the depiction of the police physical violence. The makers listened to that criticism and heeded to it, and the only form of cop violence that was seen in the sequel were a couple of collar grabbings and a slap (which was deposited by a retired cop, and was promptly stopped from going further by her friend).

The police in the original Drishyam 2 weren't bad, they were just on the opposite side of our protagonist, with one of them a grieving mother, and the other - Murali Gopy's IGP Thomas Bastin - only wants to bring Georgekutty to justice but by legal means. Sadly, the same cannot be said about the cops in this Hindi remake, who continue to indulge in malevolence, with Tarun actively encouraging it, and sometimes even participating in it. Like, in one sequence, he creeps out the three women in Vijay's house by barging into their house, when the latter was not around, though as a senior cop, he should have known better. Later, he allows Gaitonde to beat up the women in front of Vijay, that is as problematic as it comes.

These are just a few examples of Drishyam 2 remake hardly bothering about subtleties and nuances, and going ballistic with its theatricality. Ignored in the remake are also the tragic inferences as to how the protagonist is trapped in his own hellscape from which he can seek no escape, because of course, a Bollywood hero can't look fragile.

But even in the opportunities where it should have gone massy, the Hindi remake still pales in comparison in not making its hero look powerful even when he doesn't speak much. If you have watched the original Drishyam 2, you would know one of the best scenes in the film is when the IG, Geetha and her husband unravel Georgekutty's brilliant plan thanks to Saikumar's screenwriter character Vinayachandran. The BG score, the tension in their voice, the punchy silences and the smart cutting back to Georgekutty and the courtroom drama made that whole sequence an utter delight.

The remake merely places the players, and the board and then sets the ball rolling but doesn't exact the right kind of powerplays to make the same kind of impact. When Vijay and Tarun cross paths in the courtroom corridor - replicating the original's most massy scene - it really doesn't do much, as if the director merely wanted to add that scene here because it was in the original. Which is a trait, I could say, applies to the whole movie - this film exists merely because someone called Jeethu Joseph made two fine thrillers down South. Now Devgn and co are eagerly waiting as to when JJ would bring back Georgekutty for the third part, and so am I, because we need more Georgekutty, but Salgaonkar needs to find his Jeethu Joseph.

Final Thoughts

Drishyam 2's Hindi remake is somewhat effective when it sticks close to the original, falters big time when it deviates and skips over the existential musings that made the Malayalam film better with each rewatch. In short, this diluted version best works for those who haven't bothered to watch the Mohanlal-starrer on Amazon Prime Video.


(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 18, 2022 10:31 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).