Drishyam Review: Watch this one for Tabu’s terrific performance!

Director: Nishikant Kamat
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Tabu, Shriya Saran, Rajat Kapoor, Ishita Dutta, Prathamesh Parab
Rating: ***

What’s it about
Vijay Salgaonkar is a chauthi pass, anpadh gawaar cable guy, and the screenplay takes pains in never letting you forget that.

And he’s a do-gooder, too. A fact that doesn’t go unnoticed in the community. Save for one cop, he’s someone who minds his own business and just has a very routine existence His idyllic existence in rural Goa comes to an end when his daughter is accosted and later, blackmailed by the state’s Inspector General’s spoiled brat of a son. In a moment of panic, matters take a turn for the worse, when the boy is unintentionally killed.

What’s hot
Ajay may headline this film, but the film doesn’t get traction until Tabu makes an appearance. As Goa’s IG Meera, she’s cold, calm, collected and not scared of breaking a few rules along the way. More so, when her only son goes missing and she slowly becomes convinced that Vijay and his family had something to do with his disappearance.

Rajat plays the perfect foil – the voice of reason to her hotheaded yet intuitive cop. And Prathamesh Parab as Vijay’s assistant Jose is something else. The boy, much loved in his last few Marathi film appearances, gets in the few chuckles in this film.

The big question really is, does Kamat’s direction do justice to the film based on Jeethu Joseph’s celebrated tale of the lengths an ordinary man will go to, to keep his family safe?

What’s not
The film’s length and pacing are a bit off. What is not, is the hows and whys in the story.

Vijay has his own house, so why watch films and shows at work longer than he needs to? And Goa isn’t that big a state. What’s stopping his wife (played by Shriya) from going shopping or to Panaji whenever she feels like? Or from him coming home every night?

And Goa is known for its devil-may-care “susegaad” (laid back) siesta culture, especially in its villages. In this film, the hotels, restaurants and shops stay open all day. As does Vijay’s own business. Unheard of. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a little. But there’s, no denying that the characters seem more like they’re written by someone familiar with Ratnagiri, than Goa.

It is telling when you realize that this film would fail without Tabu. The gripping premise, while evoking the right emotions at the right times, doesn’t hold you for too long.

Kamat, known for his strong stories and hard-hitting style of cinema, gets away with showing a lot of woman-beating and child-beating. Those are the most difficult scenes to watch. They have the desired impact, but leave you numb.

The film’s final moments are what resurrect it from being a pretty depressing outing overall. Well played, Mr Kamat! Now if only your screenplay was far stronger.

What to do
This film isn’t so much a whodunnit as much as it is a why- and how-dunnit. But it takes too much time building a convincing case of it. Watch this one for Tabu. Or if you’re an Ajay fan.

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