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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Intelligent Thriller : Venkatesh Movie "Drishyam"

Senior Actor Venkatesh has been trying to experiment for quite some time to slowly digress into roles that suit his age and place in the industry. So, he has been working with various directors to make sure that he gets to play different roles. This time around, he has tried working in the remake of the Malayalam superhit Drishyam starring Mohanlal in the lead. In Malayalam, the film won critical acclaim and commercial success. Though it is surely not a commercial entertainer on the lines of Venkatesh’s past hits, Drishyam deals with a contentious issue in a commercial setup. Incidentally, the film is directed by yesteryears Tamil actress Sri Priya who has turned a director. The film’s unusual storyline and its narration keeps one immersed in the plot till the very end. Story: Rambabu is a small-time cable operator who has a quintessential middle-class family. An incident turns his little world upside down and Rambabu suddenly finds himself in a situation where he has to safeguard his family comprising his wife and two daughters. Like all Indians who grow up with an overdose of films, Rambabu too uses his filmi knowledge to find a way out of his troubles. Artistes’ Performances: Venkatesh puts in a superlative performance as the middle class father of two girls who are coming of age. Though he did act in family dramas earlier, this time around, he shrugs off his star image to fit perfectly into the role of a middle-class man trying to deal with a problem that life suddenly throws at him. Of course, one must steer clear of the temptation to compare his action with that of Mohanlal’s, but Venkatesh springs a surprise by simply playing his role with conviction. Also, it has been some time since he has had acted in a good film as a solo hero and Drishyam provides an ideal platform for Venkatesh to experiment and showcase his craft as an actor. Another artiste who gets to play an impressive role is Nadiya. She has been very lucky in getting good roles after her comeback and she is living up to the expectations. She looks every bit convincing as the upright police officer during her introduction and later as a helpless mother unable to find her son, she puts in a compelling performance that almost leaves the audience in tears. As for the rest of the cast, Meena is adequate for her role. Kruthika who plays the elder daughter of Venkatesh has acted well in pivotal scenes. Baby Esther who stole hearts in Malayalam once again spells her cast. Ravi Kale as the villainous constable is very good. The rest of the cast put in good performances. Technical Excellence: Dialogues are by Darling Swamy who remains true to the original dialogues from Malayalam for much of the film. But one gets to catch glimpses of his talent during the comic situations. Incidentally, the film has only two songs, both of which are situational. The background score is good enough and cinematography by S Gopal Reddy is as good as ever. His professional touch elevates the dramatic scenes and infuses life into each frame. The same level of professionalism is matched in editing and production design. Coming to director Sri Priya, she has literally retained every nuance and every gesture from the original Malayalam film. So, all those who had watched the original might wonder as to what her contribution to the film is apart from calling out action and cut. But one has to appreciate Sri Priya for not getting carried away and trying to give the film her personal touch. She simply makes a Xerox copy of the original in Telugu and that’s where her success lies. She also manages to get good performances from her cast, which is another huge plus for her as a director. Based on the Japanese movie Suspect X, Drishyam is a remake of the Malayalam film based on the 2008 Japanese thriller. Of late, almost all successful Telugu films have been commercial entertainers which bank heavily on inane comedy scenes. Almost all the writers and directors are focusing completely on making the most by putting in what sells the best. But Drishyam is a prime example of a film which works on the strength of its story. It proves that if the story and narration are strong, then a film does not need extra props to keep the audience enticed. For now, it is not clear if the Telugu audiences are ready to watch content driven movies like Drishyam. But it surely is a trend-setter of sorts and kind of puts forth a road map for the kind of films that one can expect in the coming years. But be warned that if one goes with pre-conceived ideas about it being a Venkatesh film or a family entertainer, then the viewer is bound to be treated to a series of surprises. For starters, the film has no major song and dance sequences. Neither does it have high doses of comedy or heavy-duty action scenes. Instead, all focus is on mind power and how one can use one’s intellect to bail his family out of trouble.

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