'Drishyam 2' Review: A Meaty Thriller That Dares To Trust Itself
'Drishyam 2', starring Ajay Devgn, Tabu, Shriya Saran, and Akshaye Khanna, released in theatres on 18 November.
The Quint DAILY
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(Minor spoilers for Drishyam 1)
Where do you go from a (seemingly) perfect crime? What (or rather whose) story do you tell next after you’ve served a thrilling investigation in a neatly wrapped package? I’ll be the first to admit that I was skeptical about Drishyam 2, the sequel to Nishikant Kamat’s Drishyam.
When the first film seemed to end with all threads convening, why make more? I was naive.
Drishyam 2 takes place a few years after the events of the first film. Vijay Salgaonkar (Ajay Devgn) and his family seem to have adjusted to a new normal, putting Sam’s death and the following harrowing events behind them, for the most part. Vijay now has a theater of his own and is producing a film based on his life’s story.
But all is not as calm as it seems, since Sam’s mother (former Inspector General of Police) Meera Deshmukh is still searching for answers and closure. Once again, Vijay prepares to do anything to protect his family.
The film’s first half is slow-paced and unhurried. It teeters on being boring but the anticipation for what is to come next and the plot points director Abhishek Pathak is trying to set up keep you interested.
The second half picks up rapidly, both in speed and intensity, creating a gripping thriller made with an almost scientific dedication. It’s easy to want to find loopholes in a thriller and you might find some miniscule faults but the big picture is so compelling that the rest is easy to ignore.
Shriya Saran as Vijay’s wife Nandini and Ishita Dutta as their daughter Anju both portray their characters beautifully – finding a way to express their concerns and fears related Sam’s death and the threat to their family in their own ways even when they share the screen.
With these characters, the film refuses to stray away from its reality. Ajay Devgn as Vijay commands every scene he is in. While Saran and Dutta do well to meld into their surroundings, Devgn as Vijay is a looming presence in his own family’s life – detached from their reality by the simple fact that he ‘knows things’.
While an unforgettable Tabu as the stoic and determined Meera is still the story’s catalyst, this time Vijay is directly facing off officer Tarun Ahlawat (played admirably by Akshaye Khanna) who seems to match wit with Vijay. Drishyam 2 is believable enough to be impressive and that’s perhaps all that matters.
The film also doesn’t make the error of drawing flashbacks from its prequel, relying instead on a new facet of an old investigation.
However, one aspect that feels unsettling is the idea of creating antagonists who exist in a dichotomy of black and white; the idea seems rather outdated and is perhaps one of the film’s only glaring flaws. It is, however, nice that the commentary about police brutality extends to the sequel as well, no matter how cursory.
The background score by Devi Sri Prasad is a quintessential masala thriller score but in places it becomes overbearing. In several high octave sequences, the music seems to overpower the visuals, affecting the overall effect the scenes could have had – perhaps with the use of a leitmotif or silence (and more restrain with the use of slow motion).
Sudhir Kumar Chaudhary as the director of photography uses every trick in the book to create an immersive experience – it’s up shots and POVs galore. The scenes shot even in the dark are lit brilliantly, making them easier to follow.
While some reveals might be expected, there are some that a viewer might not see coming (unless they’ve watched the Malayalam original starring Mohanlal). The film remains, at the end of it all, a battle of wits akin to a chess match.
The one that makes the winning move wins all and the other is left with nothing but boxes on a board and moves that amounted to nothing.
As a thriller, Drishyam 2 is a powerful premise held together by the makers and the cast’s commitment to the plot.
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