The Telugu remake of the much loved Malayalam classic starring Mohanlal and directed by Jethu Joseph is a copy paste job. Surely anyone who has seen the original will not find a single sequence which is novel and yet, like my mother sitting next to me put it, the story is so well envisioned and the performances so well done that the viewers who have seen it all before will also love it. For the ones who have not seen the original, the film will appeal as an absorbing thriller which is not in the line of a whodunit thriller as you know from the very beginning who has done it all. The film is about how the protagonist deals with the unsavory situation that his family unwittingly lands up in.
Rambabu(Venkatesh) is a 4th pass family man who in spite of doing quite well for himself saves whatever little he can. He does often get into prolonged arguments with his wife and two children who want him to spend a little more on some things that he doesn’t consider necessary. He is having a good life when disaster suddenly strikes. His elder daughter while attending a camp becomes the victim of a terrible crime when she is filmed taking a shower by Varun, the son of a high ranking police official. Varun blackmails her for sexual favors and in the act of destroying the video, the girl ends up murdering Varun.
Rambabu knows that the police would come after him and his family and he painstakingly designs and recreates the day the fateful incident took place by using the knowledge that he has accumulated over the years watching films and learning whatever he can from them. The story is almost impenetrable but Rambabu meets his match in IG Geetha (Nadia Moidu) who is not only Varun’s mother but also a foxy police officer who would stop at nothing to track down her son who for her is missing and not dead. She uses every trick in her book to expose the truth behind the incident while Rambabu holds his ground strong in the face of a furious onslaught which also involves getting thrashed by a police official who has a raw with him.
The performances are real and the even though the settings change from the original, the beauty in the cinematography is maintained. The film has a very fresh and vibrant feel to it. The editing is sharp and crisp. The songs even though establish parts of the narrative on screen, get to your nerves at junctures. The film like its original takes a lethargic start. The first half is spent establishing the different players and it is only in the second half that the story gathers momentum and things start happening. Once the crime is committed the film, the film becomes a tense and serious affair. It is at this juncture that we actually understand why the film was taking its time in the first half.
Venkatesh does a great job with his character. I have liked him ever since he played Rama in the Hindi remake Anari which also happened to be a rousing blockbuster. Over the years he has rediscovered himself as an actor and Drushyam will only pave the way for future endeavors. However for all those who have seen the original, his essay may be a tad bit light in front of the sheer genius of Mohanlal. Meena reprises the role of his wife flawlessly from the original while Nadia Moidu as IG Geetha is the only weak link in the film. While Asha Sharath did a tremendous job with the character in the original, Nadia falls quite a bit short in terms of her performances. While Sharath sent shivers down your spines sometimes plainly by the way she looked at protagonist and his family, Nadia hardly extracts the same fear factor which also affects the film’s effectiveness.
Overall, Drushyam is a worthy remake of Drishyam but will have far greater impact on the ones who have not seen the original. For those who have, it brings very little new to the table. But still it is very much a worthy watch which I will recommend at any time.