Cast: Ajay Devgn, Tabu, Shriya Saran
Directed by: Nishikant Kamat
Duration: 2 hrs 42 mins
Rating: * * *
Based on the hit Malayalam suspense/thriller of the same name directed by Jeethu Joseph and starring Mohanlal, Drishayam was also made in Tamil as Paapnasham with Kamal Hassan essaying the lead role. The Hindi version directed Nishikant Kamat is a frame to frame remake of the original with no additional contribution whatsoever, except for changing the location – this one is set in Goa.
With the core story inspired by the Japanese novel The Devotion of Suspect X (Ekta Kapoor has officially bought the rights for it) Drishyam has enough fodder to keep you entertained for a large part of the running length which is slightly long. It also belongs to that endangered genre of suspense and mystery movies. So if you don’t know whether the butler did it or not, you are in for a few thrills.
Set in the fictional village of Pandolim in Goa Ajay Devgn plays Vijay, a cable operator who lives happily with his wife (Shriya Saran) and daughters. We are told more than once that he didn’t study beyond 4th standard and his wife managed to finish her matriculation.
Life is a breeze till calamity strikes. A young man gets killed his body buried and their peaceful lives are threatened. The man happens to be the son of the top cop (Tabu) who will leave no stone unturned to find out the fate of her son. She also gets to make an entry usually reserved for males. Sitting in darkness while torturing two suspects, she walks towards the light and that happens in slow motion - enough indication that we are being introduced to an all important character.
The cat and mouse chase begins - a police inspector (Kamlesh Sawant) with whom Vijay doesn’t get along, is hot on their heels but the chauthi paas common man is not one to give in easily. It all comes to an end after some engrossing twists and turns.
The Malayalam version had a bit of flab which is also seen here – both the film clock the same time, even though it looked like the original film took longer to establish the plot and cut to the chase. While the family bonding element it essential it should not take almost an hour to set it up. In the end, Drishyam comes across as a thriller and not so much as a family drama.
In many shots even the way the camera pans and tracks is the same though thanks to cinematographer Avinash Arun, the Hindi version has some brightly lit interiors.
The only other creativity shown by the film makers here is a nod to the director of the original film Jeethu Joseph where Devgn signs a register with the director’s name.
The acting is just about passable. Devgn seems to be following a template and doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Shreya Saran and the reliable Tabu have their moments.
On the whole, Drishyam is worth a watch because it has many positive elements.
Published in The Navhind Times on 2nd Aug 2015