Drishyam is the highest grossing Malayalam film of all time and it is so for very apt reasons. To start with, the film is entertainment of the highest order. The film’s technicalities are exceptionally dealt with leading to a compounded effect. The production values are high and the performances are top notch. Isn’t that everything we expect from a film? To top it up, the film also boasts of a superb soundtrack which hits the right notes at the right time consistently, elevating the feel of the film. The first 15-20 minutes of the film appeared as inconsequential to me but as the narrative progresses, I understood how crucial the buildup was. By the time the film ends, I was not only amused but also consumed by its power and simplistic charm.
The film narrates the story of Georgecutty (Mohanlal), a dedicated father and husband. He spends most of his days and nights at his office watching films. He is a cable service provider and holds a good name in the village. He has two daughters and just enough to have a decent living with his family. However disaster strikes when his elder daughter is caught on camera taking a bath by a guy who happens to be the son of a high ranking police official. The guy blackmails the girl to sleep with him in exchange for the deletion of the video. The mother gets involved in the ensuing tussle and the duo kill the guy in a fit of rage. Learning of the incident, Georgecutty makes an elaborate plan to cover up the murder and save his family.
The primary reason behind the success of this film is its exceptional entertainment value and its ability to engross the audience in its narrative. I was just beginning to get restless with the initial sequences when the film suddenly struck me with its sudden change of narrative and treatment. A film which for the whole first half concentrates on the daily routine of a family man? How he advises people and makes connect with others? How much he is loved and hated and so on. But in matter of scenes the story takes a u-turn and metamorphs into a murder mystery. Here also we know who the killer is right at the onset of the whole matter. So the challenge was to maintain a suspense even after letting the audience know the “who” to start with.
That feat is achieved by concentrating on ‘how” and “will” Georgecutty be able to save his family and the means he takes to achieve his goal. The elaborately laid out plan, the wonderful manner in which the editing works in heightening the tension and the deadly cat and mouse game between Georgecutty and Asha Sarath playing Geetha Prabhakar, Inspector General of Police, whose sun is the guy in question is ravishing to watch. Taking points from the films he watched and using the knowledge in real life scenario, Georgecutty deals with the matter in a manner which is devoid of any loop holes. Geetha on the other hand can sense something wrong about the matter but cannot put a finger on exactly what is wrong.
By the time we reach the climax, she finally retorts to violence yielding interesting results for both the parties. The only loose end that Georgecutty left turns out to be the only reason that could bring him down. His weakness is his family and his younger daughter yields to the violence, confessing everything. Will this be the end of Georgecutty’s plan? You have to watch this film to know the answer to that question. Once again, Mohanlal in a minimalistic role proves to be a hero among heroes. I just loved his essay and the natural manner in which he makes his way through the proceedings. What is more enthralling is the vulnerability that he brings to his character at the same time being more than powerful to save his family with whatever it is that he has learned from films.
Meena as his wife is apt. she looks the part and compliments him scene for scene. However the kudos for the hour are stolen by Asha Sarath. Playing a mom who is ravaged by the sudden disappearance of her only son, she shows a ruthless and intelligent side to women which is hardly portrayed in cinema. She moves through the motion like a pro and devours Mohanlal in a few scenes. The only thing that can be said in Mohanlal’s support for these scenes that it was in his best interest to be devoured. The climax is one which is worth the wait.
The film boasts of wonderful cinematography. The compositions capture the simplistic life of the family and later the tension of the film. Some superb editing also went into making the effects of many scenes far reaching. The biggest example of this fact can be seen in the final scene of the film, when present and flashbacks are gelled together to convey a dramatic feel and effect. Overall, Drishyam is a wonderful achievement. It is one of the strongest and best films to have come out of Malayalam cinema and has to be watched. It is really no surprise at all that this film turned out to be the success story that it is.