Following the massive success of the Drishyam franchise of crime thrillers, filmmaker Jeethu Joseph and Mohanlal are touted to be one of the most celebrated director-actor duos in Malayalam cinema. In a conversation with Anupriya Raj, Jeethu Joseph recalls why he made Drishyam 2, the concept of Drishyam-esque murders, and his upcoming film with Mohanlal.
Joseph did not think there was a possibility of a sequel after the body was buried in the police station towards the end of Drishyam 1. But when people started sending stories for the second part, the producers insisted that Joseph give it a try. “In 2013, people used to ask if there would be a second part, and whether the case would close there. I used to argue with them that the case would not be closed, it would continue, but there could not be a second part. Then the Hindi version was released, and people from Viacom told me that someone had approached them with stories for the second part of Drishyam, but those stories didn’t convince them, so they insisted that I think about it. Anthony (Producer Antony Perumbavoor) also told me to give it a try. Now the same trick is being used for part 3, and I am not sure whether I will get the story or not. But there are a lot of people who keep sending me emails with stories for Drishyam 3.”
Drishyam was celebrated for its unpredictable twists that kept you on the edge of your seat. Speaking about how he misleads the audience, he says, “People who watch my movies tell me certain things, and based on reviews and comments, I understand the elements that people notice. So, I create a subject and swap around the key elements. But because I have been doing thrillers back-to-back, I face a huge challenge,” shares Joseph, who adds that he is trying to work on family dramas and comedies to take a break from thrillers.
The franchise has also spawned a lot of copy-cat murders that are termed the Drishyam model murder. The director agrees that films influence people but adds that most stories and films are also based on real cases. “After the release of Drishyam, a psychiatrist told my friend that a wife brought her husband and complained about how he was very moody and didn’t talk much. After many sessions with him, he confessed about having an affair. When that woman got pregnant, he admitted to murdering and burying her in his house. But after some time, the incident started affecting his mental state. This happened 10-20 years before the release of Drishyam. Humans are like that. The first thing they will do after committing a crime is to try and bury it. The only difference in Drishyam is it’s buried under the police station, the rest all are something that has been happening around,” says Joseph.
His fourth collaboration with Mohanlal, Ram, which is in the making, will be an action film, the director says. “Mohanlal’s character has heroism but does not have heavy dialogues or mass movie-type actions. The movie has action, and there is heroism, but it’s shown realistically,” concludes Joseph.