In a scene, Ajay Devgn while watching a Hollywood action thriller in his 90s TV set, says that there is actually no thrill in the scene but they are just making it up with the sounds. It is indeed true in case of Drishyam. Without any usual ingredients of a thriller, Drishyam still emerges as THE perfect thriller. The scenes are not underlit. In fact they are very bright and most of the scenes are in the daylight. There are no pistols, drugs or chasing cars. Forget about bloodshed, the protagonist doesn’t even slap anyone. Without having any of these elements, telling a thriller is no joke.
Right from the title to smallest dialogues, Nishikant Kamat has made absolutely no changes on paper to the original. He played extremely safe by doing that. The result he achieved by doing so is so positive.
The story unfolds in a small town in Goa. Vijay (Ajay Devgn) is a cable operator who is a ‘chautha fail’. He stays awake all night and watches movies in his tiny television box. His wife (Shreya Saran) is a typical home maker and they have two kids – a teenager and a 2nd grader. In their happy small world, an unexpected event occurs. A person goes missing and that is the son of Inspector General of Police of Goa (Tabu). What exactly is the connection between Vijay’s family and the missing? What ordeals they go through and whether they can tackle the cops’ investigations forms the rest of the story.
The original film is in Malayalam starring Mohanlal. This Hindi version is the third remake after being remade in Kannada, Telugu and Tamil. This number is evident of how strong is the story of the film. The script doesn’t miss a beat ever from the beginning to end. Writer Jeetu Joseph connects the dots so beautifully that you are awe-struck in so many scenes in the movie. And no this is not the way how Abbas-Mustan connects the dots; Jeetu Joseph does it in a very unique and a silent way. Setting a thriller in such a place with the undercurrent family sentiment was so distinctive. The idea of protagonist using his visual memory of movie scenes and wise application in real life is so genius. Thankfully, Nishikant didn’t try to alter even a bit. Luckily, he had good references because of three versions being already available. He made sure the film doesn’t surrender to Bollywood’s conventions. It’s been more than three decades seeing a Bollywood star playing an ordinarily dressed middle-class man with two kids.
Ajay Devgn is one of the best choices for the role of Vijay. He excelled in the scenes where he cleverly creates some evidences. If not 100%, he almost fit the role of the family man. The actor who played Gaitonde was exceptional and his dialogue delivery was remarkable. Tabu is given an unimpressive dramatic entry just before the interval. However, later she leaves no stone unturned with her unquestionable performance. Probably, this is the best of all versions. Rajat Kapoor as the husband of Tabu was equally perfect. The kids were ok if not great. A major miscast was Shreya Saran who didn’t suit the age required.
If seen as a remake, this may not be as good as the original. However, if seen as a standalone this could be one of the best thrillers a Hindi movie lover can experience.
Also, it’s time for Bollywood to shift from remaking Telugu films and move on to Malayalam films may be.
All in all, Drishyam just cannot be missed! An enthralling thriller.
Caption: Don’t underestimate the power of a Chauthi Fail