Drishyam 2: Why A Film ‘Hero’ Can Get Away With Murder

Drishaym 2 is all about family. A mother and father looking for closure for their son’s death. Another mother and father are trying to protect their daughter.

Cinema, films, movies— whatever you may call it, is a form of art meant to entertain. And a good film to me is one that keeps me engaged. Going into Ajay Devgn starer, Drishyam 2 with my family on the weekend meant we wanted entertainment badly. And we got entertained well.

What I didn’t expect while watching the film was— being squished between two senior-citizen parents of mine who had an opinion on every scene.

Now people can say, that it’s next to impossible that I didn’t know my parents were talkative! I know, but was I expecting pearls of wisdom to drop from their lips when they were not munching popcorn? Absolutely not!

As my sister said— “You get what you paid for, you go to watch a film about family, and you are bound to get lectured about family values.”

Family is everything in Drishaym 2

It is true, Drishaym 2 is all about family. A mother and father looking for closure for their son’s death. Another mother and father are trying to protect their daughter. And it shows us two desperate point of views and how far they are willing to go.

It is not easy, living with the knowledge of a crime you committed, which is the final message of the book, The Devotion Of Suspect X, on which the original Malayalam Drishyam was built upon. Though, the ending of the book and the films are drastically different. This knowledge of having got away with the crime shapes this film.

Drishyam 2 picks up seven years after the original, the Salgaonkar family is now financially prosperous— their eldest daughter Anju is now in college, their younger daughter Anu is a teen, the mother Nandini is still a nervous woman and Vijay the father owns of a multiplex theatre and is about to produce a film—  he is still the pillar of the family.

At the crux of Drishyam 1 and 2, we have the ideal Indian family— that thrives on its patriarchal foundation. The father protects and provides, the mother nurtures and indulges, and the children are happy and obedient.

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In case of Ajay Devgn’s Drishyam universe, Vijay and Nandini are wonderful parents, they treat and protect their elder daughter through everything. Being her adopted parents didn’t dilute their love and concern, which is the biggest lesson for me from the films. Especially with Bollywood’s long list of evil step-mother and child relation, we need more such examples.

I loved how nothing was removed visually or glamourised, this is the same world and this is the Salgaonkar family.

And this family is a dream example and the end goal of a traditional one-income household. — sadly, the execution of this dream in real life has resulted in multiple tragedies all over this country.

So watching, the ‘perfect life’ of this family being put to test again makes you wonder— how much time and money does police and law enforcement have to harass one family, just because their ‘pride is wounded’.

It really makes you wonder where the priorities of law are— while drugs are a rampant problem all over, they are obsessed with Vijay, a mere ‘fourth-standard pass’ in their eyes! They have been wiretapping this family for two years for what? To get a confession out of Vijay!

An unpredictable variable in the grand scheme appears — an eyewitness from the 2nd October 2014 incident who can destroy Vijay’s perfect plan.

Do I support a murderer getting away with his crime— not exactly.

But can I blame the Salgoankars for their distrust in the judiciary?

An entitled raja-beta whose parents had power and money tried forcing a fellow teen he met in a summer camp into having sex with him! To succeed in his plan, he commits the crime of taking her video without consent and blackmailing her, and he got the confidence because he knew he was protected.

Anju commits the murder in self-defence and in a not so complicated world, Anju should’ve been acquitted as she had the evidence to prove her innocence. Both the crimes were committed by minors, hence the law should’ve been lenient.

But deep down, we the audience know, it wouldn’t have panned out that way. We have seen real life examples of victim blaming and character assassin of girls who speak out. Hence, my sympathies lay with the Salgaonkars.

Through predictable twists and turns, the film progressed, while my father kept agreeing to Ajay Devgan’s decision to destroy his daughter’s lipstick by using it as a marker!

What’s the point of being genius if you need violence to solve a crime?

I found Akhshaye Khanna’s IG Tarun bland and really boring. If you are staring at a stagnant chessboard broodingly and calling yourself ‘nutter’, it doesn’t make you a genius. Do better, if you want to portray someone as eccentric.

Though, Tarun and his team, exploit, the lack of communication between mentally vulnerable Nandini and secretive Vijay. These actions actually don’t matter, because at the end of the day, they restore to violence again like the first film to solve their mystery!

All the three females in Vijay’s life get slapped, choked and battered by Gaitonde, while Meera looks upon them. Because his family is his weakness, what would’ve happened if Vijay was beaten up black and blue and family saw it? Anju would’ve confessed.

Tabu’s Meera needed more screen time to release that anguish and pain of losing a loved one. In the trailer, the creators kept shoving in the ‘rage of a grieving mother’. But where was the rage? Where was the angry mother I was promised

Vijay’s behaviour to be the sole protector and refusing to let anyone in the plan is anything but regular reaction. As my fellow audience, and even I, who was thoroughly entertained, cheered on when this man outsmarts everyone again, I couldn’t help but question my own thought process.

His lack of ability to understand his wife’s mental state would’ve led to his downfall had the film followed the book’s plot.

Vijay is not the hero of Drishyam 2

My father, from his cosy seat, commented, that Vijay is a bad example of a hero.

I beg to differ.

Vijay is a villain, who needs his family to be a functional human being. He needs his family as much as they need him. He may not have had his hands sullied, but by the end of the film, he pulls a similar twist from the novel which should make us question— how much are we willing to forgive a criminal when a crime is presented to us as a necessary evil?

Despite everything that happens in the world, if we stop trusting the law and order, and try to serve justice with our own hands, chaos will ensue and society would collapse— and that is a plot for a post-apocalypse film I do not wish to live in!

Image source: Still from trailer of Drishyam 2

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Aritra Paul

Editor at Women's Web. She/They. 30. Bi. Bookworm. Comic book connoisseur. read more...

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