Release Date: 25/11/2021

Platform: Amazon Prime Video

Cast: Venkatesh Daggubati, Meena, Nadia Moidu, V.K. Naresh, Tanikella Bharani, Sampath Raj

Director: Jeethu Joseph

Sripriya directed Drushyam that was a remake of the Malayalam hit, Drishyam starring Mohanlal and directed by Jeethu Joseph. For the Telegu sequel too, the makers roped in Jeethu Joseph who had not only directed the original but also came up with the idea of the Malayalam sequel and directed it with astounding brilliance.

First things first. Drushyam 2 is a film for the ones who haven’t seen the Malayalam version of the same film. The film rewards its audiences with enough drama, thrill, and entertainment but that is subject to the fact that you haven’t seen the original. If you have seen the original, then you may very well skip this one as it is a beat-for-beat remake of that film. 

Drushyam 2 continues the story of Rambabu (Venkatesh Daggubati) and his family who have not only come out of their horrifying predicament depicted in Drushyam but have also done well for themselves. Rambabu has been able to build a theatre and seems to be financially in a far better place than he was before. He is also on the verge of producing and directing a feature film that would finally fulfil a long-cherished dream of his. His elder daughter is still traumatized and has frequent epileptic fits but is trying to cope with her situation. His younger daughter has almost recovered from her trauma and is gradually turning into a rebel. Rambabu’s wife, Jyothi (Meena) is still terrorized by what happened to them before and fears that the dead body of the slain Varun will be found, and they will all be behind bars. 

Curiously Rambabu is oblivious to all the concerns of the world and is dedicated to the development of the script of his upcoming film. As luck would have it, it is at this juncture that a new witness is unearthed by the police who witnessed Rambabu burying Varun in the police station. The skeleton is finally unearthed and for the first time, Rambabu is caught out of his depths by the police, or was it something that Rambabu was planning to tackle for years? 

The first half of the film builds up like a family drama and at many junctures gives the vibes of being almost a comedy. There will be moments when many will find it a tad bit tedious. The director goes to every length to show that Rambabu has moved on from the tragedy and since he has earned some money, has also started believing that his past will not catch up with him. This is done in such a manner that still ensures that the audiences are conveyed a sense of dread constantly albeit in a subtle manner. The audience is always made aware of something sinister lurking in the shadows as Rambabu goes about his life. Post the interval, the film takes a whole new turn that renders even the bits that felt tedious in the beginning important. We now fully comprehend the danger that Rambabu is up against and how ill-prepared he is to face it.

Venkatesh Daggubati as Rambabu is easily the best thing about the film. Until the very end of the film, he successfully fools the audiences and the players in the film of his true motive, calibre, and his agenda behind his craze about producing and directing a film. The amount of ease and calm that he brings to his essays are so wonderful because of how easily he makes the players in the film as well as the audiences to fall for his play and take him as someone who has moved on when, in reality, he is still very much in the game.

I thoroughly enjoyed his interactions with his family members and the organic realism that these scenes had. There wasn’t a single bit where I didn’t take him to be the character. When his family is threatened once again, his concern and fear for their wellbeing are beautifully realised through his rendering of the moments. These bits make for a thrilling watch. I couldn’t help but notice the bit where he is slapped by a police officer in the presence of his family and the reaction that he has to this action. It is a mixture of fear, embarrassment, and anxiety and leaves quite an impact. 

Meena was just as good as Venkatesh. She is the most demented among the character owing to the family’s past and she proves to be the chink in their ironclad armour that Rambabu had created around the family. She gets bothered by the mere mention of the police. She unsuspectingly confides in someone that she should not have and put her family in great danger. She constantly keeps asking Rambabu about where he had disposed of the dead body but doesn’t get any answers from him. This makes her even more anxious, and it shows in her essay. Her anxiety quickly gets to the audience.

While I had watched the Malayalam original before and knew every twist and turn, I couldn’t help but enjoy the Telegu recreation of the same moments in their unique fashion. I feel that someone who watches this film for the first time will have just as much fun with it as I did with the Malayalam original. It is hard to choose between who has done a better job with the protagonist, Mohanlal or Venkatesh? Mohanlal does get the advantage of being the first iteration but Venkatesh nearly gives him a run for his money by making Rambabu his own in execution and spirit.

Drushyam 2 is a film primarily about characters and interpersonal drama and that is why it would be blasphemous not to mention the brilliance of yet another actor, Sampath Raj who plays the primary antagonist of the film if at all he may be called so. 

Sampath enacts the role of the police officer who is hot on the heels of Rambabu and has been on the case for over 2 years. He is a dangerous man because he is in no way related to the case, is dispassionate about it all and his only reason for pursuing the same is because he has taken it up as a challenge. He is cool, calculated, and most importantly doesn’t even touch Rambabu until he has enough evidence to put his entire family behind bars. What he didn’t account for was Rambabu’s tenacity and unthinkable level of pre-planning. As the film progresses, he gradually transforms from being a sure and confident individual to someone who is disillusioned by what happens later in the case. Sampath Raj wonderfully brings to life every nuance of the character making it a realistic and yet imposing adversary.

Every other cast member including the recurring characters from the previous film does a phenomenal job with their respective essays. 90% of the film is about people talking and if the performances were not charismatic, this would have been a difficult film to sit through. Thankfully, we are treated with some of the most engaging essays that we have had the pleasure of watching in recent times.

Judging individually, Drushyam 2 is just as good as its Malayalam original. It is also a fact that it is a scene-to-scene remake of the Malayalam film and has nothing new except for the different setting, the difference in the milieu, and the socio- cultural aesthetics. It isn’t for those who have seen the Malayalam original. However, if you are curious about the performances by the ensemble and don’t mind sitting through the story one more time, this could be an entertaining watch. For the ones who have seen its previous iterations, this is a must-watch.

Rating: 4/5 (4 out of 5 Stars)   

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