After being remade into several India languages, the Hindi remake of Malayalam blockbuster ‘Drishyam’, starring Ajay Devgn, Tabu and Shriya Saran in principal roles has hit theatres. Director Nishikant Kamat has earlier remade Gautham Menon’s Tamil hit ‘Kaakha Kaakha’ as ‘Force’. While Force had all the trappings off a commercial actioner, it was rooted in realism. One expects him to deliver an intelligent thriller in ‘Drishyam’.
Vijay Salgaonkar (Ajay Devgn) runs a cable TV network in a small, disjunct town in Goa. He lives with his family comprising of his wife Nandini (Shriya Saran) and two daughters. Vijay is a self-made man who did not pass his fourth grade but with his hard work and determination managed to rise in life and do well for himself. Vijay is a movie buff and makes up for his lack of education by watching movies and learning from them. Vijay’s teenage daughter Anju (Ishita Dutta) goes on a nature camp which is attended by students from different schools. In the camp, she comes across a lecherous guy called Sam, who takes pictures of the girls in the camp. A few days after Anju comes back from the camp, Sam pays her a visit and shows her a clip that he filmed while she was in the bathroom. Anju is further shocked when Sam blackmails her by asking for sexual favours. A turn of events leads to Sam’s disappearance. IG Meera Deshmukh (Tabu), Sam’s mother, is convinced that Vijay and his family are responsible for Sam’s disappearance and is hell bent on getting them convicted. Vijay’s sole aim is now to protect his family and help them come out of this mess.
Apart from some minor alterations, ‘Drishyam’ largely remains faithful to the screenplay of the original Malayalam version. That is a good thing as the original screenplay is so well written that there was no need for the makers to improvise upon it. There is one interesting addition which revolves around an ATM machine which is interesting. The film seldom offers a dull moment. You find yourself completely engrossed in the proceedings. While the director offers a nice build up in the first half, the second half is filled with mind bending twists and turns which urge you to put your thinking cap on. There are times when you question the moral fibre of the seemingly upright Salgaonkar family. The conversation which takes place between Vijay and Sam’s parents (Tabu and Rajat Kapoor) makes the viewer ponder on the situation the characters have gone through and whether they were right in what they did under the trying circumstances.
Ajay Devgn reprises a character played by Mohanlal and three other stalwarts played in the other versions. He brings his own style and persona to the character and plays the protective family man with complete conviction. Tabu makes a terrific entry towards the end of the first half and steals the show with her performance. She does justice to her tough cop avatar and brings out the vulnerability of a mother looking out for her missing son effectively. Shriya Saran looks pretty and pulls off the character of a naïve and loving homemaker very well. Ishita Dutta makes a very confident debut. She gives a good account of herself in a prominent role. Kamlesh Sawant offers a riveting performance as the abominable cop Gaitonde. Rajat Kapoor gets a couple of scenes to shine.
Nishikant Kamat builds a very interesting premise for this thriller while maintaining the realistic feel of the film. He offers thrills at every turn but does not resort to escapism. The fact that he has an eye for detailing is evident throughout the film. Upendra Sidhye adheres to the original screenplay (Jeetu Joseph) and makes suitable alterations for the film to cater to a pan Indian audience. The dialogues are simple and well written. Avinash Arun, who had last shot ‘Masaan’, contributes greatly towards building up the tension and drama. The two songs “Carbon Copy” and “Dum Ghutta Hai” (Vishal Bhardwaj) are appropriately placed and are tuneful. The background score (Sameer Phaterpekar) is brilliant and makes an impact at the right moments. The editing (Aarif Sheikh) is razor sharp.
Drishyam is a riveting thriller that respects your intelligence and asks you to participate in the narrative. Even if you have seen the original or any of the other versions, the twists are worth a revisit and the high voltage drama will most likely engage you. Do not give it a miss; intelligent thrillers like these are hard to come by.