DRISHYAM 2 (2022)

Ajay Devgn and Shriya Saran in a still
  • Release Date: 18/11/2022
  • Cast: Ajay Devgn, Akshaye Khanna, Tabu, Shriya Saran, Kamlesh Sawant
  • Director: Abhishek Pathak

Could Vijay and family outsmart the police yet again? Was it thrilling enough?

— Ambar Chatterjee

Drishyam 2 begins 7 years after the events of the first film. The Salgaonkar family has moved ahead in life and has done well for themselves. Vijay Salgaonkar (Ajay Devgn) even owns his own cinema hall now and is working on producing and writing his own film. The family may have survived but they have been battered and bruised by the tragedy and it is apparent in their way of life as the tragedy often creeps into their day-to-day activities. Things take a bizarre turn for Vijay and his family when the Goa police, under the renewed enthusiasm and leadership of their new IG, Tarun (Akshaye Khanna) uncovers incriminating evidence against the Salgaonkar family in the murder case of Samir Deshmukh, IG Meera (Tabu) ‘s Son from the first film. The family is put under immense duress and it seems as if they will buckle under the pressure. Vijay witnesses his family being mercilessly abused by the police and in haste decides to do something rash.

When I went into this film, I knew that it would be exactly the same as its Malayalam original. That was also the case with Drushyam, the Telegu remake of the Malayalam original that came before this and featured Venkatesh. Thus, my expectations from this film were primarily focused on execution and performance. While the story remained the same, I wanted to be impressed by the storytelling and how the director could envelop and intrigue me with a story that I knew all too well. I was mighty surprised to realize very quickly that I was enjoying this film a little more than the original. Not taking anything away from that sensational original film by Jeethu Joseph, the Hindi remake is able to fix a few lingering issues of the original for the simple reason that it had the original for reference and by using that undue advantage, Abhishek Pathak and his team end up giving us an edgier and more engrossing experience with this film.

Tighter, edgier, and tenser: –

Drishyam 2 is about 10 minutes shorter than its original and even in that short difference in runtime, it feels a lot tighter, edgier, and tenser. While the original took its time to establish the life and current situation of the family in question, this film breezes past these issues taking it for granted that the audiences are already on the same page with the characters. For once, I definitely was. This might not be the case for some of the others but I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that the film cuts short some of the songs, and unnecessary exchanges and even eliminates a few characters who had minor impacts on the story but did take up considerable runtime in the original.

This film is a lot tenser as it shuns all the sweet and wonderful times that the family in the original is shown having and replaces it with one tense encounter after another for the family. Here, there is always a looming sense of dread. The police keep crossing paths with the family and tormenting them unknowingly. Even before the cops lay their hands on any substantial evidence against the Salgaonkars, they keep doing things that keep the Salgaonkars on the edge. The neighbors around the family are also not enamored by them anymore as they have made rapid financial growth. This gives an indication that even they might cause them some harm through the course of the film. These elements combine to keep the film tense throughout; Even in the sequences where we see the family enjoy quality time.

Abhishek Pathak explains scene to Shriya Saran and Ajay Devgn

The performances: –

If not anything else, it is the performances from the ensemble cast that make this film an entirely different experience. Ajay Devgn is sensational as Vijay Salgaonkar. His version of the protagonist is so different in mannerisms, attitude, approach, and execution from Mohanlal’s version that I felt as if I was watching an entirely different character in a film that just happens to have the same story. Devgn takes a stark departure from his rendition in the original and made this version of the character even more laudable. This not only adds a lot of value to the film and makes it interesting for the ones who have seen the original but also ensures that the ones who have not seen the original have a better time with this film than they had with the previous installment.

Akshaye Khanna is fantastic. There is a sense of heroism in everything that he does and he is so good at extracting emotions that it becomes enjoyable just to see him move through the motions. His two interactions with the Salgaonkar family are easily the high points of the film if one ignores the climax. He is menacing in certain portions when he needs to be and feels extremely believable and real.

Tabu carries forward from where she left off in the first part and gets even better. I loved an additional scene that her character gets here that was not given to her counterpart in the Malayalam original. That one scene tells us everything that we need to know about her and which way her character was headed. As the story progresses, her character gets scarier, and there comes a time when I felt that she might end up killing Vijay. For all this and more, Tabu is terrifying in this film.  

Editing: –

Apart from getting rid of anything that was unnecessary or not integral to the narrative, the editing of the film worked better for me than the original because of how effectively intercutting was used to convey information that only the audiences were privy to in a given situation. The same technique is also used to extract drama in the third act of the film. This sensibility is also used throughout the film to make complex situations and scene layouts easily intelligible. One also has to give due credit to the background score of the film that gels fantastically with the editing to provide a compounded impact that renders many moments memorable and electrifying. The editing in this film is not only an enabler but also a quality.   

Direction: –

The direction by Abhishek Pathak was spot on. Not only was he able to create a whole new experience that was very different from the original, but it was also as if he heard my thoughts on the original and changed the exact things that I didn’t like about the original and made this film in a way that appealed to my sensibility and catered to everything that I wanted from a film of this nature. Pathak has understood how much a remake should be like its original and how it can be different from it even without making any major changes to it. You see this very sensibility of his stamped throughout the narrative. This not only makes the film unique but also a lot more enjoyable for the ones who have seen the original.

Final Words: –

Drishyam 2 will be immensely enjoyable for the ones who haven’t seen the Malayalam original. Since the Malayalam films haven’t been dubbed into Hindi, I am sure there is a large chunk of people who haven’t seen it yet. For the ones who have seen the original, this film has an entirely different experience to offer. Thus, those people will probably come out of it just as happy as I was.

Rating: 4 out of 5.


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