In 2013 a filmmaker in Kerala, Jeethu Joseph, made history with what is easily the biggest blockbuster of Malayalam cinema till then. It did not take too long for filmmakers across the country, making films in other languages to take note of a script that was bay far one of the best thrillers that has come out of Indian film industry in a while.
Less than two years later the film has been remade in four other languages, including a Tamil version which released just earlier this month. And all these versions have done pretty well at the box office. Goes without saying much of India has already seen the story by now. So for anyone who has seen any of the other versions, especially the Tamil one, there is hardly going to be a novelty. Not to mention that there seems to be an awful lot of similarity between the plot and the 2008 Japanese film Suspect X, which in turn is adapted from the Japanese book The Devotion of Suspect X.
Of course director Nishikant Kamat and his writer (adapted screenplay) have added a couple of elements to their film but that does not really change the film in any way. What does change however is the lead actor of the film - on whose shoulders the film rest. And for once Ajay Devgn seems to have fallen miserably short of what Mohanlal(in Malayalam) and Kamal Haasan (in Tamil version Papanasam) have managed to portray.
A restrained Ajay Devgn is a welcome change from what we have seen him doing in most of his recent films. He shows stability as he plays a village simpleton who owns a local cable shop. Not one to have learnt from school education, his lessons are more from the films that he has watched. But he fails whenever he is required to show fear or vulnerability - a primary trait of the character.
Ajay's failure notwithstanding, Drishyam still manages to grab your attention thanks the unwavering screenplay. One may argue that the first half could have been kept tighter, but that does no spoil the superb second half when the suspense opens up beautifully.
Also lighting up the film is Avinash Arun's cinematography, which shows a completely different view of the breathtaking Goa.
For anyone who has not watched any of the other versions Drishyam would be a welcome addition to the range of cinema that the month of July has sprung out. From Bahubali to Bajrangi Bhaijaan to Masaan and now Drishyam, this has been one of the most interesting months in recent times.