Rating:                 3.5/5

Cast:                     Ajay Devgn, Tabu, Shriya Saran, Rajat Kapoor

Director:             Nishikant Kamat

Music by              Songs: Vishal Bhardwaj; Background Score: Sameer Phatarpekar

A remake should be judged by the merits its predecessor had seized in and the flaws of its own while recreating something that has already been positioned as a yardstick; not once, not twice but successively four times in a row. For that matter, DRISHYAM directed by Nishikant Kamat manages to maintain the legacy of providing one of the most satisfying thrillers in recent Bollywood.

The road ahead is full of unanticipated twists and turns but you won’t feel shaky as the grip is mostly airtight and the ride is pretty much smooth in terms of staying honest to the subject. DRISHYAM, despite a few slack strokes of imperfections in various fields remains a desirable thriller for the most in its 2 hour 43 minutes long duration; and that’s an achievement in itself.

Vijay Salgaonkar [Ajay Devgn] is an almost illiterate middle-class family man with a questionably ‘decked-up all the time’ wife [Shriya Sharan, a complete misfit] and two lovely daughters by his side. Running a local cable network for his living, Salgaonkar is a street-smart fellow who loves to learn from the movies he watches at his office in leisure.

One dark night, his family accidentally falls for a crime that could lead them all to the pit of death but a good family man would never let that happen. He has to stand like an immovable wall between his family and the law-enforcement powers stage-managed by a strict officer and a desperate mother [the terrific Tabu].

Rest is the cat-mouse chase between the two, packed with some real nail-biting moments of anxiety, twists of terrific nature and an extended climax that is more rewarding than the whole film.

DRISHYAM’s biggest force is in Jeethu Joseph’s taut writing. A story that has all the emotional strings attached to the thrills of the undying efforts of covering up the patches of a perfect crime! A screenplay that doesn’t leave much to complain about and a couple of seasoned performances to top it all! The first part takes its own time to set things up in their designed places.

This is the part where you also feel crabby and argumentative about the casting of its lead. The innocence and honesty Mohanlal carried of a middle-aged middle-class family-guy in its first and original Malayalam version are often missed here by large margin. No doubt, Ajay brings a certain kind of intensity in his performance but the vulnerability of an illiterate small-time cable-operator is something that he lacks big time.

The camerawork by the latest talk-of-the-town Avinash Arun is soothing, pleasing and sometimes, old-school too when needed. (Is ‘the boys diving in the water’ his trademark shot? His last 3 films KILLA, MASAAN & now DRISHYAM give it a strong word).

And then, Tabu enters into the frame and the screen suddenly starts breathing its life. She, as the strong-headed, rough and dictatorial police official and as the exposed mother fighting with the loss of his son, beautifully gets into the skin of the character. She undoubtedly is the most charming thing about the film. In rest, Shriya disappoints mainly with her irrationally ‘out of the place’ look.

Rajat Kapoor shines in the crowd. Kamat as the director hardly throws anything new which wasn’t in the previous versions. But then, we can term this as the ‘blessing in disguise’ in favor of the film’s honesty intact.

Finally, the dearth of a good thriller in Bollywood has been filled with DRISHYAM. So what if the plot/story/screenplay has been adopted four more times before? Engaging, gripping, entertaining and emotionally charged up!

Watch it, especially if you haven’t seen any of the previous versions! [My personal favorite is Mohanlal starrer in Malayalam]

Review Written By:- Gaurav Rai

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