‘Drishyam 2’: Not as Smooth as Last Time

Bollywood isn’t really known for pulling off suspense thrillers, certainly not for sustaining the steam over a sequel. But, like Drishyam in 2015, Drishyam 2 lulls you with its modest settings, simple characters, human cops, and a family caught in events beyond its control, till it lands home its lesson a second time — it’s not important what’s before you; what is important is what you are seeing.

And what does the world see when it looks at Vijay Salgaonkar (Ajay Devgn)? A family man and father of two, who runs a local cable service and has an obsessive love for films, or just a “chauthi (Class 4) fail”, an illiterate man who doesn’t matter. It is certainly the latter that clouded the vision of Meera Deshmukh (Tabu), the IGP of Goa, last time, causing her to lose the battle of wits with Salgaonkar.


Drishyam 2 very deftly picks up from where these two main protagonists, both fierce parents, left off in Drishyam. The story is again by Jeethu Joseph, who also directed both the Malayalam versions. With the death of Nishikant Kamat, who directed the Bollywood remake of Drishyam, the reins of Drishyam 2 have passed on to Abhishek Pathak.

Almost all the characters from the first film make a reappearance, and the sequel is enriched by it. They largely show the effects of the past seven years – the Salgaonkars of keeping the terrible secret of a murder; and the Deshmukhs of living with the knowledge that the former got away with killing their only son, a wayward Sam. The only one who sticks out is Shriya Saran, playing Vijay’s wife in the same perfect hair and clipped saris, with eyes unshadowed but for kajal — the sleepless nights haunted by the murder that she talks about notwithstanding.

Words that spill out here and there, nervousness that can’t be kept at bay, stray talk in the town that won’t be silenced, doubts that trail the Salgaonkars, witnesses who put two and two together from that fateful night, all inch up to Sam’s body, which remained unfound last time.

So, as the clues irrevocably point towards his family, what will Vijay, who repeats that he can do everything and anything for them, do now?

The plan turns out to be elaborate, and as unexpected as it was in Drishyam. However, in its execution, it is not as smooth, requiring an incredulous breach of basic protocols by police, which would lead any competent judge to throw the case out, as well as a string of much-too-gullible people around Vijay. The remarkable change in his fortunes adds to the whiff of notoriety about him now.

The weakest link perhaps is Akshaye Khanna, as the new IG, Tarun. While Tabu brought moral authority, steely fortitude and mounting helplessness to her role in Drishyam, as a stern head of police who is also a desperate mother, Khanna is all snarky lines, glowering eyes and exaggerated mannerisms, with little at stake. Tarun is built up as this genius cop who broods long and hard at chess boards for company, but really only gets close to cracking the case due to a stroke of unexpected luck.

Tabu and Kapoor, as her businessman husband Mahesh Deshmukh, return as the grieving parents. Their roles are limited, but whenever she is there, watching, waiting, wincing, carrying the pain in the lines of her tired face, Tabu again owns this film.

Meera the cop didn’t see what was before her. But as even Vijay acknowledges, when it comes to Meera the mother, it’s hard to meet her eyes.

Cast: Ajay Devgn, Akshaye Khanna, Tabu, Shriya Saran, Rajat Kapoor, Ishita Dutta, Mrunal Jadhav, Kamlesh Sawant
Director: Abhishek Pathak
Rating: 3 stars