Movies

Drishyam 2

For a long time, Jeethu Joseph was unsure about making the sequel to Drishyam since it was perceived to be the perfect film. Even his own family advised him not to go ahead with the sequel. “Don’t destroy it”, his family had warned him. Jeethu Joseph wasn’t even ready to make the film for a long time, not wanting to destroy his legacy of the original film. The fear of failure of the sequel film was very real for him. It took him around 5 years to write the script for the sequel. In mid-2020, Malayalam actor Mohanlal had announced Drishyam 2: The Resumption, the sequel of his blockbuster 2013 film. Hence, ahead of its sequel release on Amazon Prime Video India had a primer on Drishyam, in an interview with The Hindu, Jeethu Joseph shared that Drishyam 2 is placed six years after the events of Drishyam. “It is about how the family responds to the life after the crisis,” he says. “The police hadn’t closed the murder investigation. So the film will examine how the family deals with their own personal trauma and reactions from society.”

Jeethu Joseph’s new crime drama is set in the same Kerala town where the events of its precursor took place. Georgekutty (Mohanlal) is now the owner of a cinema theatre. His prosperity is reflected in the larger, posher house he currently occupies with his wife Rani (Meena) and their daughters Anju (Ansiba) and Anu (Esther Anil) on the same land where they earlier lived. He is still movie crazy. Rani and he are still a committed couple yet constantly sniping at each other as before. And they are still a rock-solid team in the upbringing of their girls. The difference between then and now is twofold. First, the townsfolk had backed the family when IG Geetha Prabhakar (Asha Sharath) got after them on the suspicion that they killed her son. They are not so supportive any more, driven as they are by jealousy at Georgekutty’s rise in life. The first half of Drishyam 2 constructs their continuing trauma and gradually establishes the fact that the police never gave up on the case. The second half is about the resumed investigation.

Mohanlal is back as the cool-headed Georgekutty. The character has clearly evolved since we last saw him. The veteran actor imparts subtle strains of novelty to the man who will stop at nothing to protect his family. However, familiarity breeds blandness. The sequel to 2013’s Drishyam feels disappointingly half-baked. Georgekutty’s intelligence and determination are still intact and so, his wife and two daughters are safe. But the cops believe that it was just sheer luck, not his shrewdness, that helped him pull off the daring cover-up of the unintentional murder. It is only a matter of time, they believe, before he and his family are caught and brought before the law. But just like it is for the investigators, the ‘protagonist has been scot-free for six long years’ time feels a tad stretched in the Amazon Prime film because large areas of it linger in the realms of the obvious. Georgekutty now owns a movie theatre. His old jeep has made way for an SUV. His younger daughter Anu (Esther Anil) is studying in the best English-medium school in town.

The first big break the police get here comes through a means employed seemingly without the multiple clearances it would require from various authorities. Yet the officer responsible for this decision is later shown to be a stickler for legal processes. Even with this loophole, Drishyam 2 is an enjoyable experience, not only because of the tension of wondering whether Georgekutty, Rani and their daughters will finally crack, but also because Jeethu paints a convincing picture of small-town life, displays an understanding of human psychology and ties up most other loose ends neatly.

There is great fun to be had in watching Drishyam’s plot hurtle towards the moving and thoughtful finale. It does take time – perhaps too much time – to pick up pace in the first half and a long song to illustrate Rani’s state of mind does feel superfluous, but after an exciting twist at the mid-point, it is unrelenting. The writing could have done with more punch, since the guessing game at the core of Drishyam 2 isn’t always gripping enough. Drishyam, too, had taken three quarters of an hour to set itself up for the cat-and-mouse game between Georgekutty and the police IG. But from that point on, the pace of the film had quickened. One waits in vain for that to happen in Drishyam 2.

Mohanlal is flawless yet again as the husband/father who will stake his all to keep the police at bay. Asha Sarath and Siddique are just wonderful as Geetha and Prabhakar, the tortured parents desperate for closure. Jeethu sparkles in the writing of these two, retaining empathy for Georgekutty and Rani without at any point villainising the other couple. The other actors in the cast, especially Murali Gopi, pull their weight. Supporting characters make significant contributions to the plot. Sumesh Chandran, Anjali Nair, Ajith Koothattukulam. 

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