Drishyam

This review is going to be a little different. It is slightly personal for me. I have been closely following director Jeethu Joseph’s career for the last few years. He was my husband’s schoolmate in the small town of Piravom near Cochin, Kerala. I found his rise in the film industry fascinating, solely because he was born with a silver or even a gold spoon in his mouth and then choose to put himself out there to face success or failure, come what may. It takes a special kind of character to push yourself out of your comfort zone, especially when there is nothing else pushing you forward other than raw passion and a sense of having a need to crave something out for yourself, instead of taking the much easier route of living off of your inheritance. I can’t help but respect that in a person.

Now about him as a director. He has shown great variety in his subject matter in the movies that he has done and he usually has a strong social,very identifiable moral or psychological commentary weaving the story together. He is a master at capturing the subtle nuances of daily life, infusing reality and warmth to his characters. His movies are very character driven and he spends considerable screen time to flush them out and make the audience invested in their onscreen lives. Drishyam is no different on these scores.

It is the story of an ordinary guy doing extraordinary things, for the people he loves. Georgekutty(Mohanlal) is an uneducated family man, living in a small town with his wife Rani(Meena)and daughters, Anju(older) and Anu. He has made a comfortable life for himself by running a cable TV providing service. Along with a propensity to be stingy, Georgekutty has developed an obsession with movies and constantly refers to movie scenes and uses situations from movies to solve problems in his own life and in his community. His idyllic life is shattered when evil happens in the form of Varun, who is an acquaintance of Anju. In a case of blackmailing gone terribly wrong, Varun ends up dead. The rest of the movie is about how two families(Georgekutty’s and Varun’s) deal with this tragedy. It is setup like a thriller. Matters get tough for Georgekutty’s family when it turns out that Varuns mother Geetha Prabhakar(Asha Sharath) is the Kerala inspector general. Varun’s helpless father is done to perfection by Siddique.

There are no false steps by anyone in this movie. And I mean anyone! Everyone from the cameraman, to music,acting and directing is impeccable. It is very gratifying to see Mohanlal given roles like Georgekutty that actually utilizes this actors tremendous talent. Right when you start questioning his fall from the superstar pedestal, he gets pulled right back on it. The stand out among the kids was the the girl who played Anu( Esther). She is a natural on camera. I love the way Jeethu has captured many scenes that show the microcosm of a small community, which always seem to centre in the local chayakada(tea shop). I recognized a lot of linguistic and attitudinal nuances that are very true to people from those areas between Kottayam and Cochin. I am guessing he drew them from his own life. The only thing that could’ve been done without would be the completely gratuitous screen time given to Anthony Perumbavoor. I guess you have to accommodate the producer.

The proof is in the pudding, or in this case the box office. Drishyam has become the highest grossing Malayalam movie of all time. So if you haven’t done so already, get to the theater to watch this thrilling entertainer. Just like the protagonist in his movie, Jeethu, an ordinary guy has managed to do the extraordinary because of his love for movies.

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