20 Feb

During the 1990s, Malayalis eagerly waited for the sequel of the much celebrated film ‘Kireedom’ by Sibi Malayail and Lohithadas. The audience was quite curious to know the ‘post-prison’ life of the once endearing Sethumadhavan and I’ve always believed that ‘Chenkol’ is more relevant than ‘Kireedom’ though it ended up as an average earner as it failed to live up to the expectations of the audience. After three decades, in 2021, it was not only the Malayalis but people across languages waited for another sequel in Malayalam and that was for the 2013 film, ‘Drishyam’ by Jeethu Joseph. ‘Drishyam’ was a landmark as it pushed the boundaries of Malayalam cinema’s market and since then, we’ve seen many dream projects materializing in the industry. So, to make a sequel to ‘Drishyam’ itself was a challenge especially since the first part had a definite conclusion and also due to the skyrocketing expectations of the audience. But, let me say, Jeethu has pulled off an absolute stunner though a bit tepid due to a few loopholes. Films like ‘Bahubali’ and ‘Drishyam’ had the ‘wow-factor’ at the end and people were curious to know about its possible ‘next’ which made its sequels significant. 

Coming to the film, ‘Drishyam 2’ opens with an episode of the prequel with a few brilliant shots and that itself takes the audience right into the centre of the story. Soon we are made aware of Georgekutty’s present status, as a theatre-owner, business man and a probable film producer. Jeethu and his team deserve a special applause for keeping all the background settings intact thus allowing the audience to gel with the earlier one. The house, Police Station, Cable company office, tea shop, etc. are perfect examples for this and he has also incorporated the recent changes to it. Soon things begin to change with the entry of an array of characters both new and old and Georgekutty and his family realize that they are still under the scanner of the earlier ‘Varun case’. Things get heated up when the audience comes to know that Thomas Bastin IPS played by Murali Gopi has taken up the challenge to corner Georgekutty. From that moment onwards, the film moves to the track of a thriller and whether Georgekutty is able to endure the pressure of investigation or will he succumb to it, forms the rest of the story. As the film has got numerous surprises towards the end, I don’t wish to reveal the plot details. 

Regarding the technical aspects, the camera work by Satheesh Kurup is excellent; the camera travels along with the characters and instances and it gives us the feel that we are in the midst of the story. The editing by V.S. Vinayak is double-paced – sluggish in the first half as the director takes a bit of time to establish the characters and the premises and lightning quick in the second half which does not give the audience a moment to ponder. The Art department has done an outstanding job and Anil Johnson’s music captures the mood of the film. The only song of the film “Ore Pakal” echoes the anxieties of the characters. The BGM is excellent though it turns a bit loud at times letting the sequences down. 

Coming to the performances, Meena as Rani is brilliant showcasing different emotions, Asha Sharath at her arrogant best; Siddique yet again dazes us as Prabhakar, alongside Krishna Prabha, Pauly Valsan, Adv. Shanthi, Saikumar, Ganesh, Narayanan Nair and others. The most important factor I felt in this film is the performances of a handful of ‘newcomers’. The credit should go to Jeethu for bringing the best out of them, especially Ajith Koothattukulam, Sumesh Chandran and Anjali Nair. I hope ‘Drishyam 2’ will give these actors a big break. I felt Esther as a bit of a letdown but Ansiba Hassan was near to perfection as she was able to convey the psychological concerns of the character. Murali Gopi once again proved how brilliant he is as an actor and it was good to see people like Raghu (‘Mela’-fame), Adam Ayub as Judge, Antony Perumbavoor again as Policeman, etc. on screen. 

Regarding the flaws, I felt that too many questions remain unanswered in the second part of the film with the script having certain ambiguities and moreover it lacked the punch of ‘Drishyam 1’. The script of the first part was taut but in the case of the second part, it is a bit dodgy. 

Finally, coming to the main part, the whole credit of the film goes to two men behind – Jeethu Joseph, the director and Mohanlal, the lead actor. Although there are certain flaws, I still clearly believe that the script is the winner in ‘Drishyam 2’ and hats off to Jeethu Joseph for churning out such a plot with twists, turns and subplots and also for executing it in style. To shoot in the wake of ‘Corona times’ itself is a challenge and despite of several odds, he has made it and I think from now on Jeethu can be rightly called as an ‘Auteur’.  The trauma of the family/families, the juxtaposition of opposites, the attitude of the society, the procedures of investigation, everything has been fused… I hope to see many more brilliant works from this man.

To convey the distress, care, carry the burden of a secret, pressure, understand the hostility, efforts to outsmart, etc. is not an easy task to deliver and only a seasoned actor can do all these things with such ease and Mohanlal as the maverick Georgekutty is an absolute treat to watch. There are so many who believe that Mohanlal has lost the charm ‘post-Odiyan’ but I’m sure he is getting back to his usual best. Watch how he conveys the emotions through the eyes and gestures and how effortlessly he has recreated Georgekutty with all the same mannerisms after seven years. It is nostalgic again for his fans as he reminds us of the vintage stuff and for others, he shows how naturally an actor can behave before the camera. 

Thanks Jeethu Joseph for giving us a memorable film and thanks to Antony Perumbavoor for releasing it at the right time. Though I regret for not watching the film in theatres, I also enjoyed watching a Mohanlal film FDFS by sitting at home (a unique experience) via Amazon Prime. Though there are certain imperfections, surely go for ‘Drishyam  2’… I’m sure it will amaze you and engage you for two and a half hours and you will have many moments to remember even after the film…. As the tail end reveals… it is the story of a man who has vowed to protect his family and “It’s like a case that is closed, but will never close”…

Ranjith Krishnan K R

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