‘Drishyam 2’ review: a gripping deconstruction of the original climax

There’s one of two ways writer-director Jeethu Joseph could’ve reached here. One, he’d already conjured up an accompanying volume to his dizzyingly clever and terrific Drishyam (Visual). Or he joined an online forum where a critical mass of grey cells was busy trying to punch holes in the plot and discussing how to ensnare Georgekutty into a cell. This triggered the spinning of plot lines that the earlier plot had under the radar, but we didn’t know existed or could be spun. 

All this is conjecture of course, but Drishyam 2: The Resumption isn’t an afterthought. It’s not even a sequel in many ways. It’s a gripping deconstruction of the original’s denouement, telling us what we—and Georgekutty (Mohanlal) missed—that night at the police station. Yes, we’re revisiting the smarts that the movie-buff, cable-operator, and master plotter used to rescue his family from the cynegetic fear that haunted them for the most part then. Joseph doesn’t bother with flashbacks or explanations as props to get you up to speed. You can’t go to calculus without battling algebra first, can you? (In my case, that stepped approach didn’t do much good, but.) Same logic. If you haven’t seen the original, stop right here and rectify this cinematic error right away. 

Mohanlal: one of the finest performances this year.

It’s six years since the case was buried for good (only for it to pop up in other languages). Or so we thought. Georgekutty is now a well-off movie theater owner, which ought to make his wife Rani (Meena as superbly expressive with her eyes, as if dilating to every emotion) happy, if not delirious with joy. But as she scalps a coconut she disabuses you and her husband of that fairy tale. The man of the house is bent upon producing a movie and has late-night sessions with other interested parties, and these also involve a lot of brainstorming and even more imbibing. Plus they have their elder daughter Anju (Ansiba Hassan) to worry about. At least the mother does. Post what she went through in the original, she’s suffering from a traumatic disorder that leads to high anxiety attacks and fits. In a brilliant societal commentary on human nature and hypocrisy, the family, now rich, no longer enjoys the sympathy that they once did, and they’re now the target of cant and theories (maybe the ones Joseph saw online?) amongst the rickshaw drivers, a spicy side-snack for consumption at the tea shop run by Sulaiman (a natural, so good Kozhikode Narayanan Nair). 

Anjali Nair, Meena: that’s what friends are for.

With all the die loaded seemingly loaded against her and younger daughter Anumol (Esther Anil) given to grumbling in English when she comes visiting from her boarding school, all Rani has is her neighbor, Saritha (Anjali Nair, very good) who she can confide in about her familial problems. Everything except what happened with Anju that night six years. Saritha’s all ears and crying shoulders, but she’s got to contend with her smatchet of a drunkard husband Sabu (Sumesh Chandran) who holds a grudge against Georgekutty even when he isn’t holding a bottle. All of this is shaken up with the arrival of Inspector General Thomas Bastin who takes up the investigation of the Varun Prabhakar case with renewed focus—screenwriter Murali Gopy plays him with a tightly wound tension and purpose, adding a steely rigor to the role. As things slowly evolve and the Prabhakars (Siddique and Asha Sarath, both superb) are back in town, Georgekutty begins to feel the heat again. 

Meena, Mohanlal: the past is the future.

Drishyam 2 is more than the stunning twists it loads later on in its run time. It’s the cloud that hung over Georgekutty and his family all these years. For, when a regular family undergoes trauma and societal distancing and the only way to survive is to wear a mask and sanitize every conversation, the psychological and physical load extracts a price. That price and its consequences is this terrific movie. Jeethu Joseph sets up the entire premise while you wait, realizing only later how connected, and almost meta this movie is to all that’s happened so far. It’s a story that spins relentlessly about a story-spinner who does exactly what the story does—spin an intricate web. Not falling trap to the original (movie) temptation to extract more juice for the sake of a franchise, Joseph makes you live the better-off but harrowed life its family endures. Which is why it works brilliantly on every level. (The police station reprisal scene is the only weak point that seemed forced as if to doff a hat to the first part.)

Murali Gopy:doggedly good.

And playing Georgekutty in one of the finest performances we’ll witness this year, Mohanlal adds a sheath of finesse to the role. Never loud or overbearing, he flinches just that twitch when he’s thrown a curveball, channeling emotions that break his paternal exterior when he’s confronted with the pain of being a parent, within or without his family. But he knows that while the truth may set you free, when it comes to murder and keeping your loved ones free, it’s the truth that must remain caged. 

Drishyam 2 (2021) on IMDb Movie data powered by IMDb. All images owned by the producers.

Drishyam 2: The Resumption  is streaming on Prime Video and rated U/A (Parental Guidance for children below the age of 12 years) for mildly intense scenes.

Drishyam 2: The Resumption
Director Jeethu Joseph Time 2h 32min
Writer Jeethu Joseph
Stars Mohanlal, Meena, Murali Gopy, Anjali Nair
Genres Crime, Drama, Thriller