Sunday, August 2, 2015

Review of Drishyam (Hindi)

Cast: Ajay Devgn (Vijay Salgaonkar), Shriya Saran (Nandini Vijay Salgaonkar), Tabu (IG Meera Deshmukh), Rajat Kapoor (Mahesh, Meera’s husband), Ishita Dutta (Anju, Vijay’s daughter), Mrinal Jadhav (Anu, Vijay’s daughter), Kamlesh Sawant (Inspector Gaitonde), Prathamesh Parab
Direction: Nishikant Kamat
Producers: Kumar Mangat Pathak, Ajit Andhare, Abhishek Pathak
Production Company: Panorama Studios
Written by: Upendra Sidhaye (Adapted Screenplay and Dialogue)
Story by: Jeethu Joseph
Cinematography: Avinash Arun
Music by: Songs - Vishal Bhardwaj; Background Score – Sameer Phatarpekar
Edited by: Aarif Sheikh
Distributed by: Viacom 18 Motion Pictures
Release Date: 31st July, 2015
Duration: 2 hour 43 minutes
Language: Hindi

Drishyam is the remake of hugely successful Malayalam film and Mohanlal Starrer (2013) by the same name.  Drishyam in Malayalam had done huge amount of business at box office. It has already been remade in Kannada (Drishya in 2014), Telugu (Drushyam in 2014), and very recently in Tamil (Papanasam in 2015). The remakes were very well appreciated and received by the audience. So, now, it is the turn of Drishyam in Hindi.

Hindi Drishyam team has 10 national award winners coming together: Ajay Devgn (Zakhm, The Legend of Bhagat Singh), Tabu (Chandni Baar, Machis), Gulzar, Vishal Bhardwaj (Haider, Ishqiya, Omkara, The Blue Umbrella, Godmother), Director Nishikant Kamat (Best Feature Film in Marathi – Dombivali Fast), Cinematographer Avinash Arun (Killa – Best Marathi Film 2014), Editor Aarif Shaikh (Best Editor – Samay: When Time Strikes’), Viacom 18 Motion Pictures (Best Popular Film providing wholesome entertainment – Mary Kom and Best Hindi Film and Queen), Producers Kumar Mangat Patahk and Abhishek Pathak (Boond).

This review is very special for me, since, it has come full circle for me as a blogger. I started my movie reviews’ blog with the review of Malayalam Drishyam on 1st January, 2014 and here I am reviewing its official remake in Hindi on 1st August, 2015, exactly after 19 months of my blogging journey.

The Review
The film credits begin with the punch line: “Visuals can be deceptive”.  Indeed it turns out to be so. What we see could be absolutely deceiving. This film does not deal with the ‘right / wrong’. It neither promotes the ‘right’ nor condemns the ‘wrong’. No justification is given through the screenplay. The film depicts what one could do in a particular crisis. Especially, when it comes to one’s family, he / she can turn out to be very protective and go to any extent to save his / her family. Drishyam has to be watched not with the lens of wisdom, but with the lens of it being a piece of art, which showcases the journey of a head of a family who protects his family by all means.

Soon after the credits, we get to see a new Police officer taking charge in a Police Station, where Vijay Salgaonkar (Ajay Devgn) is waiting. Flash back takes us to the events which led Vijay to be sitting in the Police Station. The story is set up in Goa and is about a Marathi family. Vijay is a local businessman, running his cable company. At many occasions, during the movie, his journey as a self-made man is reiterated. He is an orphan and a 4th class fail.

Vijay is shown to be part of a happy family with Nandini (Shriya Saran) as his wife and two daughters Anju (Ishita Dutta) and Anu (Mrinal Jadhav). Although it does appear to be strange that most of the nights Vijay is hooked on to movies at office. Vijay is also a great movie buff and he keenly watches various movies and also rationalizes the scenes. He emotes watching movies. Some very light moments are shown in his family, where he acts stingy and wife demands shopping, movie, eating at a restaurant etc. I just wished these family moments could have been made more engaging rather than limiting its portrayal through a song. These moments were very slow.

Another character which is introduced right from the initial frames is Inspector Gaitonde (Kamlesh Sawant), with whom, Vijay ends up having verbal tiffs most of the time. Inspector Gaitonde becomes an integral part of the whole plot.

There are some good moments of laughter between Vijay and his assistant, who takes care of the day-to-day cable network activities and troubleshooting.

Vijay’s happy family picture gets a blow when an unprecedented event hits them. This event sees the entry of IG Meera Deshmukh (Tabu) and her husband Mahesh Deshmukh (Rajat Kapoor) in the scene. Situations take such a turn where Vijay finds himself opposite to Meera and in the shackles of law. You are definitely going to get completely engaged and absorbed in the twist of events that begin to unfold in the second half. It is all about how Vijay and his family stand together, and despite the vengeful villainy of Inspector Gaitonde and the law taking its own course. Drama follows. Meera, who initially underestimates the uneducated 4th standard failed Vijay, later understands that Vijay is too smart. The psychological cat-and-mouse game that ensues between Vijay and Meera has several moments which you are going to enjoy.  Mahesh, although in a brief role, brings a lot of balance to the situations with his very objective outlook even during the crisis.  

What is that one event which makes Vijay and his family land in trouble? How they find themselves in the clutches of law? What is the thread which connects Meera and Mahesh to this event? How do the story move further, and the events unfold? Will Vijay and his family’s lives be same ever again? Who is right: Vijay and his family or Meera & Mahesh? The climax is the high point of this movie, which is absolutely unpredictable. Watch it out yourself.
A Comparison between the Original and the Hindi Remake
It is natural to draw the parallels between the original and the remake. Mohanlal could bring so much depth and spontaneity to his character of Georgekutty in Malayalam. I remember watching Jeethu Joseph’s Malayalam Drishyam with bated breath, never wanting to miss a moment of the film on screen. This gripping tale had left me spellbound with its skillful craft.

Nishikant Kamat’s Drishyam misses the punch. The first half is very slow as well as shallow. The movie definitely picks up in the second half. Ajay Devgn is such a great actor and generally he is able to bring so much intensity to the character he plays, but somewhere his real intensity hasn’t come out optimally. Ajay Devgn has interpreted Vijay in his manner than the original. He has underplayed himself, was it the need of the script? His intensity does come out in the second half, still, I would like to say that we have seen more intense Ajay in other movies viz. Zakham, Gangajal, Once Upon a Time in Mumbai etc.

Another thing I could not decipher is that characters played by Ajay, Shriya, and their kids – Ishita and Mrinal all have been given a very submissive tone of communication even during happy times. In the original version, the whole family was full of life in the first half, banter between Mohanlal and his leading lady Meena was really interesting. The stingy behaviour of Georgekutty and demanding nature of his wife Rani generated lot of lighter sub plots in the original. Also, lots of hilarious moments were there between Mohanlal and his assistant in office. Mohanlal’s playfulness is missing in this version of Ajay Devgn.  Shriya Saran’s portrayal of Nandini lacked depth. Shriya definitely is looking very pretty on screen, but there is nothing more than this.

Who emerges the strongest in this Hindi version is Tabu and her portrayal of Meera Deshmukh. She is so convincing. Rajat Kapoor has a very small supportive role but he does add lot of value to the film with his sheer presence. Also, Kamlesh Sawant does a wonderful work.

Let me admit that Hindi Drishyam has immense scope of improvement. Having said this, I feel, for all those viewers, who have not watched the original or any other South Indian version, Drishyam must be watched for its interesting gripping storyline and especially for the 2nd half.

Drishyam though lacks the punch of its original version (Mohanlal starrer Malayalam film Drishyam), will not disappoint you with its extremely gripping storyline unraveling with twists & turns in the 2nd half, and also the very climax. My rating for this movie goes as 3 mainly because I did comparison with the original version. Am sure, in case, you are first time watchers and have not watched the original, you might be able to rate higher.

Rating: 3/5 (Good)