Starring: Mohanlal, Meena, Ansiba, Esther Anil, Asha Sharath, Anjali Nair and Siddique
Director: Jeethu Joseph
This Malayalam crime thriller (with English subtitles) has been creating quite a buzz since its recent release on Amazon Prime, not least because of the stalwarts of South Indian cinema headlining the cast. It is the sequel to the hugely popular 2013 film of the same name, which also went on to be remade by Bollywood – with Ajay Devgn and Tabu in the lead of the Hindi version.
George Kutty (Mohanlal) is a cinema-obsessed businessman who has invested – or sunk if his wife Rani (Meena) is to be believed – millions into a vanity project as a producer. The film has been years in the making and as far as Rani can tell, it is unlikely to see the light of day and is getting increasingly frustrated with her husband’s indulgence and wasteful attitude towards the family’s savings.
She shares her frustrations with her close friend and neighbour, Saritha (Nair), the victim of domestic violence at the hands of a drunken husband. As close confidants, they share their deepest worries and concerns with each other, something that results in troubling consequences over time.
Rani’s other source of great consternation is her younger daughter Anu (Anil) studying at boarding school and turning into a typical stroppy and defiant teenager. This family discord, however, is quite peripheral as the one strong bond that unites them all is Anju (Ansiba), Anu’s older and more docile sister who often suffers from traumatic episodes.
On the face of it, the family appear to be an average upper middle-class household in the southern Indian state of Kerala, but there are several signs that there is a sinister secret shared by the foursome that is just bubbling under the surface waiting to burst out. Will George Kutty succeed in his elaborate schemes and protect his family from harm’s way, or will their deep, dark secret find a way out?
While it is not essential to have watched the first film in the series – either the Malayalam or Hindi version, it is probably a good idea to delve into part one before the sequel to fully appreciate the brilliance of Jeethu Joseph’s storytelling. But whether you watch ‘Dhrishyam 2’ with prior knowledge of the story and characters or without, there is enough in this gripping thriller to keep you hooked.
Mohanlal is at his stoic best, ably backed up by Meena and his fellow actors. Asha Sharath as a wronged mother with a vendetta excels in her short but powerful role. The sense of mystery and believable plotline not only draws the audience in but also makes them wonder how they would react in a similar scenario.
Not all sequels stand up to the test of time but this one certainly does.
*‘iGlobal’ Review Series