Director: Jeethu Joseph
Cast: Mohanlal, Meena, Murali Gopy, Esther Anil, Ansiba
When we get into Drishyam 2: The Resumption, we realise the world of Georgekutty (Mohanlal) is different. He has moved up in life. This cable operator has now built a theatre, which has its weekend box-office hopes pinned on the new Mammootty movie. (Heh!) But there are other changes, and Rani (Meena) keeps saying as much. She says Georgekutty has changed in the six years since the events of the first film. She says their younger daughter (Anu, played by Esther Anil) has changed. Most importantly, she has changed. She says she has lost her peace of mind ever since Georgekutty decided to turn producer and make his own movie. But really, her peace of mind was shattered that night six years ago, and it has stayed shattered. She can no longer sleep alone. And the townspeople gossip about them, something Rani doesn't yet know, because she doesn't get out much except to go to church.
But Georgekutty knows. He knows the townspeople think he killed the boy (and they think the boy was innocent), and this isn't helping the marriage prospects of his older daughter, Anju (Ansiba Hassan). The police think so, too, and they haven't stopped, um, digging into the case. (Murali Gopy takes over the cop-nemesis role from Asha Sharath in Part 1.) Now, all movie reviews have some level of spoilers: otherwise, you can't even spell out the plot, for crying out loud! But the reason I wish to emphasise this (obvious) fact is that Drishyam 2, like its predecessor, is utterly reliant on your knowing as little about it as possible. So, after this paragraph, proceed with caution! For now, just know that Mohanlal and Meena are as lovely together as always, and this is a worthy sequel.
Okay, for those of you still reading, let's talk about the film's superb structure. Like Part 1, this is more a writer's film than a director's film. (It's not something you watch for its cinematic language, say!) But what writing it is! I am not talking about the screenplay, as such: it's basic exposition, scene after scene. (And I guess due to the more serious nature of this installment, we couldn't have a nice throwaway moment like the idiyappam bit in Part 1.) I wished the Asha Sharath character (and her husband, played by Siddique) had had a bigger part in the proceedings. This couple would have brought more moral weight to bear on the investigation. Now, it appears the reason for the investigation is more that the police have been humiliated by their inability to crack the case.
But Jeethu Joseph makes you forget all this and focus on just the plot! My jaw kept dropping at his inventions, like the character of the neighbour (nicely played by Anjali Nair), a victim of domestic abuse. The way the issue of copyright is woven in made me want to stand up and applaud. Even at a philosophical level, what a superb touch to make us see that even Georgekutty's generosity is motivated by a desire for self-preservation! (Recall this line from Part 1: "Man is selfish by nature.") And the man who plays a key role in Georgekutty's problems is another man who has committed an inadvertent crime, another man who is "selfish by nature" and wants only to be with his family. Some viewers may miss the stomach-churning tension of Part 1, but that's not (wholly) the point here because the experience is more… existential.
By the end, Georgekutty's world is a Dostoyevskian world. Unlike Crime and Punishment, Drishyam 2 does not exactly delve in the psychology of a criminal. But there are other similarities: in the way the crime is committed in Part 1 of the story (and Part 1 of the Drishyam series) and Part 2 deals with an abstract form of punishment. Guilt, fear, anxiety from constant second-guessing, crippling stress — these emotions are as much part of Georgekutty as Raskolnikov. Georgekutty may not be punished by the law for his "crime", but his life has become one unending punishment. The writing during the climactic portions treats Part 1/Part 2 of Drishyam as two halves of the same story. It's a brilliant meta touch, and one that feeds into our desire to always see the "hero" win, even if he "loses" his soul in the process.
The film is at its best when we look at Part 1/Part 2 as one unified universe. There are clever repetitions, like how one of Georgekutty's daughters is terrorised by the police. But that's just the surface. At first, when Georgekutty says he doesn't want to make an "ordinary film", we think he is talking about the movie he is producing in the context of Drishyam 2. But given how obsessed about cinema the man is and given how well he knows its intricacies (all of which helped him in Part 1), we see that Georgekutty is also using the medium to reflect his life. A veiled autobiography can sometimes be catharsis: that's why the memoir business thrives. But clearly, it can be more. By the closing scene, we realise that Drishyam 2 may have its issues, but at least Georgekutty has ended up making a "movie" that can never be bettered.