Director: P Vasu
Cast: Dr. Ravichandra V, Anant Nag, Aarohi Narayan, Navya Nair, Pramod Shetty
There aren’t many Indian films that have created records like Jeethu Joseph’s Drishyam series. They’ve been remade across languages, across the globe, in Sinhalese, Chinese, Indonesian and so on. In 2014, Drishyam was remade as Drishya in Kannada and was widely well-received.
You’ve probably watched Drishya. If you haven’t, it’s streaming on Disney Plus Hotstar. Do watch. The one-liner of that film is that the family of Rajendra Ponnappa, a local cable guy, gets involved in a crime. He cleverly protects them from the hands of the law and escapes unscathed.
However, years after, the blindsided police and the victim’s family are still determined to open the case and get justice. What happens when they find a possible lead seven years later is what Drishya 2 is about.
When someone asked Ravichandran why he didn’t take up the directorial mantle for this film, he said that there is little to improvise technically in this film. And that Drishya 2 stands entirely on the strengths of its writing. This is entirely true.
Despite being somewhat unclear in 1-2 places and written conveniently, overall, it remains exemplary of an intelligent crime investigation feature. It traces the life of an extremely clever father, who meticulously makes a plan and executes it for seven years. The very imagination of creating someone who looks extremely casual even while being unwaveringly alert — hats off!
In this film, every detail has a pre and post angle. Even as Rajendra Ponnappa still runs his cable shop, he also now owns a big theatre. There is an obvious pre — as in a reason. There is also an exceptional post, which hooks us into his mind. Especially the last 40 minutes and the cleverness packed into Ponnappa’s character was received with deafening applause at the theatres. Even though the theatre I was in was only half full.
Even without mass build-up scenes, fights and punch dialogues — in fact, Ponnappa doesn’t even have dialogues towards the end — Drishya 2 never eases up narrative tension. Is Rajendra Ponnappa writer Jeethu Joseph himself, I wondered, given how believable, or should I say unbelievable, it was.
The reason I’m saying Jeethu Joseph’s name again and again is because Drishya 2 is practically a scene by scene remake of the Malayalam Drishyam 2. As though to remind actor Ravichandran’s love for cinema, there are a few lines in the film. Anant Nag’s voice makes a small appearance towards the end. If we can ignore the question about the need for the song and the awkwardness of Ponnappa singing it, ‘Malebille’ does the job.
An important takeaway from this film is the conflict between guilt and punishment. What is crime? Can someone commit murder and live their lives in peace? What actually is peace? Is punishment only valid if it fits into the boundaries of the law? Isn’t it punishment enough to live every waking minute in the consciousness of one’s own guilt?
The acting in the Kannada version is slightly exaggerated, almost like a stage performance. The mojo that was in Drishyam 2 is missing here, but I’m unable to pinpoint what it is. While all the remakes have been released on OTT so far, the Kannada version is the first one to go to theatres.
If you’ve watched Drishya, do watch Drishya 2. If you are a Kannadiga and haven’t watched Drishyam’s sequels in any of the other languages, simply go ahead with this one. This story of a man who goes to any extent to keep his family safe is safe for family viewing as well.