(This article contains minor spoliers.)
Sequels are a dime and dozen these days, and with good reason – capitalizing on an already successful parent film could be a boon for any production company. After all, familiarity with the plot and characters results in the audience's connection to the next instalment. It’s a money-making machine, but sometimes sequels can also be well-crafted films that promise more than just a good time.
Ajay Devgn’s Drishyam 2 is one such film with high-octane drama, suspense and action – it’s a skillfully constructed crime-thriller. Much like its predecessor and Malayalam original, the film pieces together a narrative that attempts to save the hero. Drishyam 2 illustrates lessons on how to get away with murder. It’s a brilliantly over-the-top yet believable tale, a plot so outrageous that you can’t possibly guess the twists and turns coming your way – this is precisely what makes the sequel a success.
Plot Is King
Devgn’s character in the film, Vijay, is audacious and not many people can pull off such a role without coming across as phoney. The Tanaji actor manages to keep a straight face through it all, giving away nothing – building anticipation for what is to happen next.
The plot is driven by the hero, so we see the story unfolding through his eyes, with his one true mantra set in stone – “I can do anything for my family.”
But more than anything, it's the narrator’s ability to craft a tale that leaves us open-mouthed. The police procedural is brutal, especially when the audience is rooting for the culprit. But most tropes are done away with – especially because the hero must always win in Indian cinema.
Introducing A Stellar New Antagonist
Akshaye Khanna is a brand-new addition to the franchise – he is a bankable actor, coupled with Tabu’s unforgiving Meera, the duo is a force to be reckoned with. The majority of the film stands on their shoulders too. They are uncompromising in their attempt to make the family suffer, establishing the audience’s fear over their beloved characters and creating the right amount of tension to keep everyone gripped.
A Blend Of The New and The Old
The makers of the film did not dare change the foundation of the film. The bare bones of the story remain intact. The hero must brave all adversities to save his family. The only new aspect of the film is narrativizing the tale -the police are out to get them but can Vijay outsmart them yet again?
A Bankable Original
The original Drishyam 2 already gave Devgn’s film a fine print to work with. All that was left to do was to execute it well. However, it may sound easy, but it rarely is. Vikram Vedha's remake didn’t stand up to its potential, and Good Luck Jerry was passable at best.
Yet Abhishek Pathak, the director, manages to create a full-proof film that replicates the success of its original and in this economy, that’s a rare feat.
The Drishyam Franchise Always Plays With Our Expectations
The story of the film has never been a classic whodunnit. It reveals the culprit at the get-go, it’s Vijay’s cunning wit that saves the day. However, we never question his moral compass – instead, we laud his efforts to help his family and how. But as mentioned before, Devgn, will circumvent all his obstacles, the only question is 'how' and 'when'.
The film is playing with these simplistic questions, so even if we have the security of the hero’s eventual victory, the audience is left in a lurch every time we are led to believe he will be convicted. The highs and the lows of the storytelling add to the success story of Drishyam 2.
Many reboots and sequels throughout the year managed to mint some money. A good example is Bhool Bhuliayaa 2 which depended highly on the success of its predecessor. But it did have a few punchlines, to hold it's own.
Drishyam 2 combines facets of a masala entertainer and a compelling crime-thriller – the product is a film that resonates with the audience. But more importantly, it has a story to tell, which most sequels often do not.