Review: ‘Drishyam 2’ (2022), starring Ajay Devgn, Tabu, Akshaye Khanna, Shriya Saran and Ishita Dutta

December 2, 2022

by Carla Hay

Shriya Saran, Ishita Dutta, Ajay Devgn, Yogesh Soman and Akshaye Khanna in “Drishyam 2” (Photo courtesy of Yash Raj Films)

“Drishyam 2” (2022)

Directed by Abhishek Pathak

Hindi with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in the fictional city of Pondolim in India’s Goa region, and briefly in London, the dramatic film “Drishyam” features an all-Indian cast representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: A family with a terrible secret about the death of a young man becomes the focus of suspicion again when new clues are uncovered. 

Culture Audience: “Drishyam 2” will appeal primarily to people interested who are fans of the movie’s stars; the first “Drishyam” movies; and crime dramas with unusual plot twists.

Kamlesh Sawant and Tabu (center) in “Drishyam 2” (Photo courtesy of Yash Raj Films)

In order to fully appreciate the crime drama “Drishyam 2,” viewers need to have seen or know about what happened in the original “Drishyam” movie—a story about a family keeping a scandalous secret about a dead sexual predator/blackmailer, and how the parents of this deceased man will do whatever it takes to uncover that secret. (This review has spolier information about the first “Drishyam” movie, which is necessary to discuss “Drishyam 2.”) “Drishyam” began as a 2013 Malayalam-language film and was then remade into 2015’s Hindi-language “Drishyam” film. A Malayalam-language “Drishyam 2″ movie (also known as Drishyam 2: The Resumption”) was released in 2021.

The Hindi-language “Drishyam 2,” released in 2022, is a remake of the Malayalam-language “Drishyam 2.” It’s a dependable remake of a movie sequel that didn’t really need to be remade. Most people who don’t know how “Drishyam 2” ends will be impressed by the clever and very unexpected plot twist, which is not far-fetched but could actually work in real life.

Directed by Abhishek Pathak, the Hindi-language remake of “Drishyam 2” (which was co-written by Pathak and Aamil Keeyan Khan) is more intensely dramatic than the Malayalam-language “Drishyam 2,” which is also a very good film with fine performances from the cast members. One of the main reasons why the Hindi-language version of “Drishyam 2” has a more urgent tone is Devi Sri Prasad’s musical score is very pronounced in creating suspense. The movie’s cinematography and editing look worthy of being seen in a movie theater, compared to the Malayalam-language “Drishyam 2,” which was released directly to Prime Video and has some very TV-movie production characteristics.

The “Drishyam” saga is a tale of two feuding families in the fictional city of Pondolim, India. On one side of the feud is the Salgaonkar family: Vijay Salgaonkar (played by Ajay Devgn), his wife Nandini Salgaonkar (played by Shriya Saran), and their two daughters: Anju Salgaonkar (played by Ishita Dutta) and Anu Salgaonkar (played by Mrunal Jadhav), who’s six years younger than Anju. Vijay, who is passionate about movies, owns Mirage Cable Networks and a movie theater. He’s also an aspiring movie producer. On the other side of this feud are wealthy businessman Mahesh Deshmukh (played by Rajat Kapoor) and his wife Meera Deshmukh (played by Tabu), who has had a career in a police law enforcement.

This version of “Drishyam 2” picks up in 2021—seven years after the events of the first “Drishyam” movie, with the principal cast members reprising their roles in this sequel. In the first “Drishyam” movie, which takes place in 2014, the Salgaonkar family covered up the death of Sameer “Sam” Deshmukh (played by Rishab Chadha), the only child of Mahesh and Meera Deshmukh. Sam had secretly recorded a video of Anju (who was 18 at the time) taking a shower. Sam threatened to make the video public unless Anju or her mother Nandini had sex with Sam.

In a physical fight to get the video, Anju accidentally killed Sam while her mother was in the same room. Nandini helped Anju bury Sam’s body in the family’s backyard. Anu witnessed the murder and cover-up. Vijay wasn’t home at the time of this manslaughter, but when he found out what happened, he helped destroy evidence, in order to protect Anju and Nandini from being arrested.

Meera Deshmukh was Pondolim’s police inspector general at the time. She immediately became suspicious of the Salgaonkar family’s involvement in Sam’s disappearance and had the family arrested. However, with no body found, it couldn’t be proven that Sam was dead. A twist at the end of the movie revealed that Vijay had tricked the police and moved Sam’s body somewhere else. Where he moved the body won’t be revealed in this review.

In “Drishyam 2,” the Salgaonkar family’s secret is constantly at risk of being exposed. Seven years after Sam’s disappearance, he is presumed dead. Meera is angrier and more vengeful than her husband Mahesh, who is more inclined to show some mercy on the Salgaonkar family if they just tell Mahesh and Meera where Sam’s body is. Mahesh makes this personal plea to Vijay when they happen to see each other in person, but Vijay continues to lie and say he doesn’t know what happened to Sam.

Vijay is close to fulfilling his dream of making a movie. And the movie he wants to make is about what he and his family went through when they were accused of foul play against Sam. Vijay has hired a screenwriter named Murad Ali (played by Saurabh Shukla) to write the movie’s script. At Mirage Cable Networks, Vijay continues to work with his assistant Jose (played by Prathamesh Parab), who is buffoonish and provides some of the movie’s comic relief.

Vijay and Nandini have some tension in their marriage not only because they are burdened with keeping this dark family secret but also because Vijay is heavily in debt because of the money he put into making the movie. Nandini thinks the movie is a bad idea because it will just bring unwanted attention to the family all over again. Many people in their community still suspect that Salgaonkar family was involved in Sam’s disappearance and the cover-up.

Meanwhile, Anju (who is now a 25-year-old college student living on campus) has developed post-traumatic stress disorder because of this secret. She has terrible nightmares and panic attacks. During the course of the movie, Anju is on a college break and is staying at her parents’ home.

“Drishyam 2” opens with a flashback scene of something that happened on the night of October 4, 2014. A man named David Brazagna (played by Siddharth Bodke) has met with a thug named Tony (played by Vineeth MV) to hand over a travel bag full of cash to Tony. David tells Tony after this handoff that he doesn’t want to do the job anymore, so David tries to get the cash back from Tony. A scuffle ensues, and David shoots Tony dead and flees with the cash.

Police officers nearby respond to the gunfire shots, and David runs away through the woods and hides. David makes his way home, where he has a wife named Mary (played by Ashmita Jaggi) and a toddler son named Agnelo (played by Pakshal Jain). David knows it’s only a matter of time before the police come to arrest him. And he is arrested for the murder of Tony. The movie later shows that David saw something important that night that is related to the Salgaonkar family scandal.

Meanwhile, in 2021, Vijay and Nandini have become disturbed when they find out that the married couple living next door is involved in domestic violence. The two spouses are Shiv Kulkarni (played by Nishant Singh) and Jenny Thomas (played by Neha Joshi). According to what Vijay and Nandini see, Shiv is an angry drunk who beats Jenny.

Vijay and Nandini intervene by calling the police and reporting the domestic abuse. Shiv is eventually arrested. Nandini and Jenny become friends, and they confide in each other about their marriages and other things. Nandini lets her guard down and lets it slip to Jenny that she knows more than she’s telling about Sam’s disappearance. Will this semi-confession come back to haunt Nandini?

Sam’s mother Meera, who is now retired from law enforcement, is still filled with vengeful rage over his presumed death. Certain things happen that jumpstart the investigation and put the Salgaonkar family on the radar of the police again. Meera uses her clout with her former colleagues in the police department to put pressure on the Salgaonkar family. The police currently investigating the case include a cynical inspector general named Tarun Ahlawata (played by Akshaye Khanna), a logical inspector named Vinayak Sawant (played by Yogesh Soman) and a hotheaded inspector named Gaitonde (played by Kamlesh Sawant).

“Drishyam 2” has enough intriguing plot developments that the movie’s total running time of 140 minutes is well-earned and doesn’t look like a waste. However, this movie biggest weakness is that it will confuse a lot of viewers who don’t know anything about what happened in the first “Drishyam” movie. “Drishyam 2” has some flashbacks that explain some key plot points, but some of those flashbacks sometimes a little too late in the story. All of the movie’s cast members give performances that range from better-than-average (Devgn as the complicated Vijay) to competent (most of the cast) to overly dramatic (Tabu as hate-filled mother Meera).

Despite the movie’s flaws, “Drishyam 2” will keep viewers guessing until the very end about what will happen next. It’s the type of thriller that sometimes attempts to be too tricky for its own good. However, the story explores themes of guilt and redemption in the context of leaving it up to viewers to decide who deserves to be punished and who deserves to be forgiven. By trusting viewers to make up their own minds, “Drishyam 2” offers a much more interesting story about human complexities than if the movie had been a simplistic tale of good versus evil.

Yash Raj Films released “Drishyam 2” in select U.S. cinemas and in India on November 18, 2022.

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