There's a whole lot of excitement about Jeethu Joseph's Mohanlal-starrer Drishyam 2, which releases on Amazon Prime Video on February 19. Vishal Menon and Ashutosh Mohan, fanboys of Mohanlal's Drishyam, read a bit too much into the teaser and trailer to imagine a storyline for the blockbuster's sequel. Excerpts.
Vishal Menon: I just watched the trailer for the third time and this worked much better than the teaser to build excitement for the film. The first part is now considered a classic and there are not many Indians who haven't even seen at least one of the dozen versions of the film. It even got a Chinese remake that people loved. But as someone who watched the first part more recently, what are some of the obvious, if superficial changes, you noticed in the trailer?
Ashutosh Mohan: It's probably a good thing the first part was remade into so many languages, because it looks like this is a proper sequel, and you wouldn't get much out of it without watching Drishyam. Very little has changed for Georgekutty and his family. Yes, there are some superficial changes. He used to be an unassuming cable operator merely consuming films; now he is a theatre owner and an aspiring producer. He has traded his jeep for a car. And, either because he wants to keep up the earlier ruse about prayer meetings or because he has genuinely become devout, Georgekutty is often seen wearing a rosary. But otherwise, the set-up seems to be the same as the previous film: against all odds, Georgekutty will protect his family.
Is Drishyam 2 going to be more of covering up the murder, a continuation of Drishyam? Or did you notice any new plot points?
Vishal: I like the point you make about the rosary. Apart from creating the impression of him being devout, I feel all the guilt and stress of secrecy would naturally have led him towards God and spirituality. The weight on his shoulders is extraordinary, no matter how he chooses to justify it, and that, perhaps, explains the rosary in most frames. In terms of setting and plot, I feel this is a story that's happening before Covid. Perhaps around 2018 or 2019, or around five or six years after the 'perfect crime'.
Like he suggests in the trailer, the character played by Murali Gopy could be the second CI to be stationed there, and it's likely that every new officer there tries to give this case a crack given how sensational it is and what it can do to their career.
So even though the family has returned to a level of normalcy, we kind of go back to cover-up mode when this new Circle Inspector (CI) arrives. What do you think?
Ashutosh: The point about guilt is interesting, because it would multiply in Georgekutty's mind with each new success in his theatre and film production businesses. A guilty man does not expect blessings. In Drishyam, he was an unambitious underdog whom we rooted for. We might still root for the Georgekuttys in Drishyam 2, but they are not underdogs anymore. You would assume that they are getting safer with each passing day.
But instead, it looks like every CI who is newly posted to town rakes up the case. As Georgekutty mentions to his wife, the cops are probably going to investigate the case to death. So, if we go back again to cover-up mode, how do you think Jeethu Joseph is going to make things interesting? Do you think the CI in Drishyam 2 might investigate the case in a more systematic fashion than the emotionally-charged cops in Drishyam?
Vishal: Exactly, because the two main people involved in the first part (Asha Sharath's character and Kalabhavan Shajon's character) were emotionally invested in the case. Asha, because the victim Varun is her son, and the police officer, because he had already had a fight at the tea stall with Georgekutty. But now, if the investigation is reopened, they'll have to deal with a set of pragmatic experts who will not falter.
Which could make this a more cerebral film than the first part. But why do you think the villagers, like the people at the tea stall, are against the family in this film? They were all for them earlier. Now it looks like only the tea shop owner supports the family.
Ashutosh: Yeah, Georgekutty was mocked about town because he was stingy. I'm sure a few people are jealous of his new success and would try to sabotage it using the investigation as a pretext. Drishyam 2 might be a more cerebral film, as you mention. It might also see other circumstantial factors like how the lack of support among townsfolk complicates Georgekutty's efforts.
As a big fan of Drishyam, I'm glad Jeethu Joseph seems to be sticking to the format and making a proper sequel. But I wonder if Drishyam 2 would be as taut as Drishyam. It seems very similar, with much of the same stakes and many of the same emotional beats. Drishyam was a surprise. Do you think Drishyam 2 would be on the same lines as Drishyam? Or do you think these more or less cosmetic changes in the trailer set us up for more?
Vishal: It was a huge surprise. I was just watching the trailer of the first part and it's amazing how deceptive it was. They played it like it was some kind of a light family drama with an emotional issue in the second half. Not in a million years could one have imagined such a thriller. But with the new trailer, I feel they've prepared us for a more predictable film. We know what it's going to be. We also know that certain elements like the whole alibi they reconstruct cannot be done again in this film. Given that the body was buried beneath the new police station, there's perhaps an angle about Geogekutty feeling the need to remove that from there and placing it somewhere else? Maybe that's too far fetched. Anyhow, we do see a silhouette of a man digging up something.
Ashutosh: Yeah, and we are shown Georgekutty carrying what appears to be a corpse (a new one?). A few questions (probably inconsequential) pop to mind after watching the trailer. Why is Georgekutty's younger daughter studying at a hostel? Why and how did Georgekutty transform from a simple miser to one who takes a big loan to produce films? What's the state of Varun's parents? Do they still want justice (or revenge)?
One hopes that there's more to Drishyam 2 than we can see in the trailer. From what you mention about the trailer for the first part, there probably is! But, it seems like the 'what' continues to be the murder cover-up — no surprises there, as far as we can see from the trailer. What the trailer doesn't show is how Georgekutty covers up this time. That's the bit I am really looking forward to seeing in Drishyam 2.
Vishal: Exactly, I hope people don't watch it expecting another shocker like the first film. The miracle has already happened, this is at best a follow-up with one or two big twists max. Adding to your question, I'm also curious about the daughter. Not just that she's in hostel but also the fact that the murder has created serious psychological issues in her. We even see her struggling on the bed, perhaps as a result of PTSD. It is also interesting to see if Georgekutty has revealed where he buried the body to at least one of the family members. My guess is that the shot of him burying a body towards the end is some kind of a red herring. It could even be a dream sequence or like the shot of him taking Varun's body and planting the corpse of the calf there in the first film. Either way, it will be really exciting to watch this film when it's out on Amazon later this month. But can it really meet the expectations of an insanely popular first film? We'll find out soon.