Director: Nishikant Kamat
Writers: Jithu Joseph
Producers: Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Panorama Studios
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Shriya Sharan, Tabu
Rating: * * * ½
Review By: Keyur Seta
Bollywood isn’t known for producing high quality edge-of-the-seat thrillers. Nishikant Kamat’s Drishyam becomes one of the very few engrossing fares produced in this genre in the modern age. But it falls much short of Jeethu Joseph’s original Malayalam film of the same name starring Mohanlal in the lead.
The film focuses on Vijay Salgaonkar (Ajay Devgn), who is a fourth standard failed. He is a cable operator staying with his wife (Shriya Saran) and daughters Anju (Ishita Dutta) and Anu (Mrinal Jadhav) in Goa. He lives an honest, simple and happy-go-lucky life, except for his tussles with the cop Gaitonde (Kamlesh Sawant).
But his routine life takes an ugly turn after a crime is committed inside his residential premises. This brings his whole family into direct confrontation of the intelligent and, at times, ruthless IG officer Meera Deshmukh (Tabu).
The original and Tamil versions of Drishyam became synonymous with excellence because of the content. As Kamat has retained exactly the same story and the screenplay, the Hindi version becomes an enjoyable fare. The turn of events after the story is established keep you gripped throughout. But there is lot to be desired for.
Kamat has unnecessarily used a hurried narration in the first half. This hampers in character development, getting the audience involved in the world of Vijay Salgaonkar and, most importantly, adding conviction. The dialogues are just literal translations from the original. But the biggest issue is that some key incidents aren’t presented skillfully by the director, due to which they lack the desired impact.
Another major issue is that the makers have tried to present a sensible and meaningful subject in a commercial manner. This is largely felt in the overuse of background music. You don’t need such loud, jarring background noises when a particular incident itself is thrilling. It appears as a forced way of adding thrill. Ironically and funnily, in the film, the protagonist himself speaks against loud use of background music while watching a film.
The subject doesn’t have scope for music. From Vishal Bhardwaj’s compositions, only ‘Dum Ghutta Hai’, is likable as it suits the situation.
Ajay Devgn is one of the finest performers. Although he succeeds in carrying the film on his shoulders, he doesn’t quite manage to impress. On numerous occasions, he tries too hard. This is also a major reason for the film not rising as high as it should. Don’t think of comparing his act with that of Mohanlal’s. Tabu isn’t at her best but she does pull off the role of a tough IG officer. Debutant Ishita Dutta (Tanushree Dutta’s sister) shows confidence and talent.
Surprisingly, Kamlesh Sawant is the best of all. He is very realistic as the ruthless Gaitonde. He is known in Marathi cinema but with this act, he will finally get noticed in the Hindi arena. Mrinal Jadhav does well as the younger sibling of Salgaonkar. Shriya Saran and Rajat Kapoor are average. The latter becomes unintentionally funny later on. Prathamesh Parab, making his Bollywood debut, is fine.
Overall: Drishyam doesn’t live-up to the standards of the original. But it certainly is a gripping ride, more so if you haven’t seen the original. It will earn decent collections at the box office.