When he’s not busy eating Vimal paan masala in exotic locations, Ajay Devgn is busy taking on diverse yet absurd projects ranging from merely watchable picks like Tanhaji and Raid to disasters like Bhuj and Shivaay. Oh, he also starred in an adaptation of the British crime thriller series Luther called Rudra which you might not have even heard of until this day.
Somewhere in this unpredictable trajectory, 2015’s Drishyam brought out quite a balance. Playing a humble family man who goes to all limits to protect his family from a murder case, Drishyam found him delivering a dedicated performance devoid of any melodramatic and preachy tones.
That is obviously because much like the original Drishyam, the plot (and the numerous plot twists) were prioritised much more than Mohanlal’s own stardom. Mohanlal returned to the franchise with an equally gripping sequel last year. With Drishyam 2 gaining overwhelming praise, it was only obvious that Bollywood would quickly get on the bandwagon and make a frame-to-frame remake. Interestingly, Drishyam’s familial themes and plot twists are so adaptable that the first one has seen remakes in not just Indian languages like Hindi, Kannada, and Tamil but even in Sri Lankan Sinahla and Chinese!
Coming back to the Hindi version of Drishyam 2, the remake obviously will have nothing new to offer if you have already watched the 2021 original on Amazon Prime Video. But still, the returning cast along with a delightfully intimidating Akshaye Khanna makes the story worth revisiting.
Director Abhishek Pathak (who takes the reins from the late Nishikant Kamat) has the benefit of a neat template from the original and Pathak does a good job by just adapting it scene by scene. For if he would have tried to amp up the drama or add his own “masala”, things might have gone south.
The same can be said for Ajay Devgn who retains his balanced act and doesn’t try to come off as a “heroic hero”. The plot is set seven years after the “what happened on 2nd October”and continues the attempts by Tabu and Rajat Kapoor’s characters to investigate where Devgn hid their “peeping Tom” of a son’s body. Yet again playing a dutiful patriarch of his family, the Vimal ambassador displays a calming energy while doing whatever it takes to save his wife and daughters.
Akshaye Khanna as the town’s new Inspector-General checks off the common tropes of a law-abiding tough cop. His jaw is clenched always, smokes whenever the moment arises, and even plays chess with himself to understand the enemy’s move. With the actor embracing his premature baldness, it is also distracting to think that Khanna looks somewhat like Rajnath Singh!
Jokes aside, the eccentricities of his character (which are exaggerated as compared to the Malayalam original) might come off as forced but still Khanna is compelling enough for most of his screen time. Many would agree that he easily overshadows Devgn in this process.
But even though Khanna is Drishyam 2’s biggest strength (aside from the brilliant plot twists from Jeetu Joseph’s original story), he also adds to some of the thriller’s drawbacks. For instance, the “filmy” angle is amped up in his dialogues with his character delivering yesteryear quotes such as “Film usne shuru ki lekin iss film ki ending hum likhenge” (“He started the film but we will end it”).
Struggling to catch up with Devgn’s strategies, he even ends up dramatically saying, “Yeh uske liye ek dharamyudh hai” (“It’s a holy war for him”).
But thankfully, the Hindi adaptation doesn’t go beyond the dialogues in increasing the melodrama. It is quite common for Hindi remakes to double, triple, or quadruple the budget as compared to their original. Drishyam 2 similarly had a meagre budget of Rs 6 crore in Malayalam as opposed to the new one boasting a production budget of Rs 75 crore.
So, yes, you can go ahead and watch Drishyam 2 on the big screen this weekend if you are craving a good Bollywood film. But if you wish to save up on money, then might as well just watch it in Malayalam at home. It’s literally the same.
We’re going with 3.5 out of 5 stars for Drishyam 2.