Drishyam 2 review: When brilliant writing creates a fabulous crime thriller

Investigative crime thrillers have three basic formats to begin with. In the first, we don’t know anything about the culprit and witness the protagonist finding the murderer, widely known as ‘whodunit’ crime thrillers. In the second, we are clearly shown the culprit, the crime and how the guilty keeps trying to safeguard himself from the law. In both these formats, the viewer always remains on the side of the investigative officer, wishing the criminal to be caught and brought to justice.

However, it’s the third format, which is actually the trickiest one, wherein the tables turn and the sides get changed. In this particular format, one knows about the crime, the reason and the real criminal, but still doesn’t want him to get caught. Here the protagonist isn’t the investigator but the offender, and the viewer feels emotionally connected to him right till the climax, truly wishing and praying for his safe escape.

Interestingly, both Drishyam 1 and 2 belong to the trickiest third category wherein one knows what Georgekutty (Mohanlal) had done but never wants him to get caught by the envious police officers. Plus, the viewers remain intrigued to know how he has cleverly planned to escape the police investigation.

The original Malayalam film Drishyam (2013) was a complete winner, skillfully written on an inspired plot that went far ahead of its inspiration because of a freshly devised twist, the climax, the performances and the magical treatment. The film gave a jaw-dropping experience to the viewers in its second half and its mega success was the reason it was later adapted in four Indian languages, including Hindi.

In the sequel aptly titled Drishyam 2: The Resumption, both writer-director Jeethu Joseph and Mohanlal once again hit the ball out of the park. But this time the writing turns out to be a much bigger scorer than the performances. Justifying the gap of seven years, in Drishyam 2 we get to see a similar yet new world of Georgekutty who now owns a theater along with his cable business. The kid (Esther Anil) has turned into a young teenager, the elder daughter (Ansiba Hassan) cannot sleep alone suffering from the trauma and his wife (Meena) always remains worried thinking about their uncertain future. Together they still get tense hearing the siren of a passing police van recalling the terrifying times.

On the other hand, neither the police officers have forgotten about the embarrassing case nor the locals have stopped gossiping and guessing about the same. But then Georgekutty knows it all and he is very well prepared for the worse happening anytime in the years ahead. That, in fact, becomes the crux of the film, revealing how he has already formed a strategy about what to do the moment cat is out of the bag.

As expected, the cat does come out, which makes the police, including the retired lady officer Asha Sharath, re-open the unsolved case with vengeance. And that is from where the film turns into a rollercoaster ride, giving you a similar, if not better, jaw-dropping experience as the original.

To be fair, Jeethu Joseph strictly follows the exact format of Drishyam 1, presenting a repetitive kind of calm first half and an explosive second, but he structures it so well that you get nothing to complain in the end. Especially it is the finale, wherein both Jeethu and Mohanlal take you on to a cheerful joyride of many unexpected twists and turns, satisfying all your expectations from a sequel.

On the flip side, one does need to be patient watching the first hour, and the supporting acts also do not seem to be as strongly projected as in the original. Plus, the surprising twist in the end also appears to be a bit far-fetched, solely depending upon the element of luck or chance.

However, the two batsmen on the crease, Jeethu and Mohanlal never let you think about these flaws with their constant hitting around the park, and you keep watching the proceedings strongly believing in their conviction. Besides, the execution also draws your attention to many small but thoughtful mentions of copyrights, book-publishing, sanitation in theaters and more along with a philosophical reference of a father protecting his family.

Summing it all, it’s certainly difficult to hit a second sixer on the very next ball, but Jeethu Joseph has done it along with the impeccable Mohanlal. This is one rare worthy sequel that brilliantly charms its viewers even when it has no new crime being committed and everything roams around the same old case and characters. The film has all the elements to become the biggest direct-on-OTT release in the recent years and that is surely not any great news for the theatres.

Title: Drishyam 2 (Malayalam)

Cast: Mohanlal, Meena, Esther Anil, Ansiba, Asha Sharath, Murali Gopi, Ajith Koothattukulam

Director: Jeethu Joseph

Platform: Amazon Prime

Rating: 4 / 5

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