Drishyam [2015] Review : Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Threats

As I came out of the theatre after watching the film – Drishyam, I noticed a 30 something guy picking up his daughter and holding her real tight. I also saw his other hand holding his wife’s hand with the same grip as his daughter’s. Moving along the queue of satisfied people I tried studying them closely. I saw everyone feeling good about themselves, feeling joyous that they have a family to go back to. I wouldn’t call this film Nishikant Kamat’s Drishyam because it simply isn’t. I wouldn’t even call it by the name of the book it is based on. But I would love to call this film a Jeetu Joseph story because that is exactly what it is.

I remember a character in 2 States saying this: “Story main hero ho ya na ho, story hero honi chaiye.”. When I look back at my experience of watching this film last night I can clearly see Ajay Devgan standing in front of his house as his scared daughter cries behind his back, while a cop questions him about his whereabouts. But as I roll a paper thin joint and think about my experience of watching this film, I also remember a character (not specifically: Ajay Devgan) explaining things to a group of random people who he truly wants to stand along; about how to handle situation 101. This film can be a remake, a copy or even a rip-off but there is such immortal power in the wonderful story by Jeetu Joseph that even with any star, with any kind of direction – the progressive, humanized and culturally significant version of The Devotion of Suspect X, saving Family Y, defending them against System Z will always be crystal clear.

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Talking about anything that’s related to the film can act as a spoiler so I wouldn’t go into it. If this is your first time around with ‘The Visuals’ (Drishyam) I strongly recommend you to go in with a clean slate. Don’t let the trailers, synopsis and every random social media update like this one spoil the film for you. For those of you, who still don’t trust the story: Read On!


Drishyam is about a Chauthi Fail, [someone who couldn’t even get through 4th grade] common man who has only films to teach him everything he has ever done in his life. He lives in a minute place on the outskirts of Goa with a family that is equally simple and miles away from the general distraction caused by the ever-changing fashion trends, styling and moronic things hampering their minds. They are a bunch of people who have never really wanted to (or are at least made to) come to the big city and drown in its cultural lies, backstabbing relationships and headlong heirlooms. To them staying along one another is the greatest thing. But what if the air is polluted? It quite evidently travels faster than one can imagine and reaches out to ones who want nothing from it.

“It’s completely okay if you watch any of the versions of Drishyam, if not this one. But its a necessary watch for every movie lover.”

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I have not seen the original film so a comparison is clearly not possible. Judging this purely on the grounds of a new film, I was completely pleased with it. That being said, I still feel there are things which go amiss. For example, The interval marks the beginning of a new chapter in this tale of heroic audacity. I feel a strong film needs strong characters if it can’t afford to have strong actors. While the addition of a new character who is actually a great actor (Read: Tabu) should boost the copious amount of excitement for what’s about to come. Nishikant over-plays with a stupid, over-blown, slo-mo shot of a lady cop swagging it out. What’s strange is the fact that Tabu’s character had depth. While she was a struck, on the action and ruthless cop she was also a mother not being able to find her lost treasure. But it seemed that her character did have two different things but they weren’t the ones I mentioned above. She both under-plays and over-plays her character which doesn’t make you emotionally invested in her. There’s also a wasted Rajat Kapoor as the worried husband. But bashing this film on the grounds of mediocrity in the acting department would be a crime because the real hero is the story and there are no pitfalls there. The screenplay is not hampered by unnecessary songs even though the film in 2 hours 43 minutes long.

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It’s amazing how this family drama quickly changes into an edge-of-the-seat thriller and then juggles around. It proves the power of cinema, both on film and above film which makes for an intriguing watch. The story pays brilliant homage to all the people who worship and study films for a living (People like you & me). There are several places in the second half where the film could have ended and would have still made complete sense but since the screenplay manages to pinch you once and again saying – “This is not over yet.” makes it for a win-win!. It’s completely okay if you watch any of the versions of Drishyam, if not this one. But its a necessary watch for every movie lover. 


Links: IMDb, Wikipedia.

Shikhar Verma

Getting fat with the wife. Absolutely loves the all-consuming, indulgent world of cinema.