Drishyam has garnered quite a bit of positive buzz within days of its release. A remake of Malayalam version with the same title, this one is a good film, yes, but definitely not a good thriller.
Scripted by Jeethu Joseph (director of the original), Drishyam tells a story of an ordinary middle class family who get pulled into unanticipated circumstances thanks to a guest (film term). Before I delve into rest of the details, here’s some trivia.
Immediately after watching the movie, I came home to watch the original. And to my surprise, the Telugu version happens to be a scene to scene rip off of the Malayalam version. Except for a few edits, everything including most of the character names, dates, dialogues, and even the camera angles happen to be the same. There was absolutely no change in terms of the screenplay either. Unfortunately though, the subtlety of the original was far left behind.
Back to the review now. Debutant director Sripriya had no role to play as most of the cast happened to be senior actors, and could replay the original to the ‘T’. At no point was her ability showcased with respect to direction or screenplay. As already mentioned, the subtlety was lost in translation, especially in the first half hour where the characters were established. Everything seemed loud and artificial. Talking about the screenplay, while it was decent, I wasn’t really impressed by it. And it definitely didn’t belong to thriller genre. When most of the story is revealed immediately after the scene’s occurrence, I don’t think that can be called a thriller. Yes, it had some (very little I say) suspense associated with it, but no, it wasn’t edge of the seat stuff. Oh, add unconvincing, and at times pretty slow as well.
Venkatesh did a commendable job as the lead, and it was more or less a tailor-made role for him. It would have been nice if he had let go of his cheekiness in the first half hour though. That apart, he had to downplay for most of the film, and he does a commendable job. It was a cakewalk for Meena, having played the role in the original. She was good, but again could have reduced the makeup (she looked so much better in the original sans makeup). Krutika is pretty good as the elder daughter, and Baby Esther was good in the role she essayed in Malayalam. Nadira was decent as the ruthless cop, while Naresh came up with a good performance. The rest of the cast is alright.
Music by Sharreth, borrowed from the original is alright. Editing by Marthand Venkatesh and cinematographer by Gopal Reddy were both decent. However, I’m disappointed that neither had anything special to add to the movie.
Is it worth your time and money??: It’s a good movie and an entertainer. But to call it the best of the lot thriller would be injustice to the genre (Go watch Anveshana (1985), that’s a thriller). Give it a watch without expectations and I’m guessing you won’t be disappointed.
Worth mention: Hero Venkatesh downplaying for most of the movie.
Technical Aspects: 7.5/10
After watching both the versions, I have a different take on the movie. Spoiler alert, so only people who have watched the movie are advised to read on.
Instead of revealing the fact that IG’s son had shot a video of George Kutty’s/Venky’s daughter and him being murdered in the first half, I would have preferred if it was kept under wraps till the end of the movie. The family could have travelled to Vizianagaram, gone to the temple, come back, and the entire storyline of them being arrested and tortured could have been showcased without giving away the plot. In this case, you are more connected to the family for you as audience don’t know that they have committed the crime as well. Entire suspense could have been revealed in about 10 minutes in the last shot where Venky meets the IG couple. Voila, you now have a thriller!
Should I be directing movies?? 😛