The director delves in detail into the nuances of his latest film, Drishyam 2: The Resumption
With the Drishyam sequel, director Jeethu Joseph appears to have outdone himself. The film is cleverer, more meditative, and has more twists than the first film. Here’s the man of the hour, Jeethu himself, in conversation about his much-appreciated film, Drishyam 2: The Resumption, that is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
You ruled out a sequel to Drishyam in many interviews. What changed?
By 2015 (two years after the release of Drishyam), people had begun creating derivative stories from Drishyam. I was told that Viacom was being approached with scripts. That’s when producer Antony Perumbavoor suggested that I give the sequel a shot. I considered it and spent four-five years to come up with this script.
The sequel is titled The Resumption, suggesting that you see this as a straightforward continuation of the first film. In the film too, Georgekutty himself suggests that the events of this film could be interpreted as making the first film whole.
It’s god’s grace that the sequel works so well. I was always clear that the second film should not be an unrelated story. I pondered about the issues this family would face during the years after the events of the first film. The investigation would continue, the trauma would endure. Their neighbours would envy them. Also, as Georgekutty is obsessed with cinema, I wanted to persist with the film angle here too. It all just worked out. I couldn’t really explain how.
Drishyam 2 has been lauded particularly for its writing. Could you talk about your writing process?
It’s a tedious process spanning years. I let multiple stories germinate in my mind. In fact, the idea of Drishyam occurred to me in 2000 when I was not nearly close to being a filmmaker. The Drishyam sequel was one of three stories I was spending a lot of time thinking about. Over months and years, I have considered and reconsidered the events of this film. I have formed and deleted the scene order many times—all in my head. Only after I am reasonably convinced do I write it all down. I’m a lazy writer; so, I don’t sit down to write until I am able to visualise it all in my head. I may not be good with remembering names and numbers, but when it comes to stories, I remember every detail. Sometimes, as I am playing badminton, or attending the Holy Mass on Sundays, ideas come to me. My daughter smiles at me when she sees me being in a trance sometimes, muttering to myself dialogues of characters in my head.
The film is notable for its focus on being a family drama. Did you have any concerns that it could play on the patience levels of those coming in, seeking a thriller?
I have always maintained that Memories (2013) and The Body (2019) have been my only thrillers so far. I view both Drishyam films to be in the mystery and family drama space. I lied to the audience ahead of this film’s release when I told them that it would not have any twists (laughs). I did that to protect the film from the burden of expectations.
Does it irk you that some criticise the first half for being ‘slow’, even though it’s instrumental in setting up the explosive events of the second?
What they don’t realise is that the first half works in their subconscious mind. They don’t recognise that I’m injecting their mind with the dynamics of the Georgekutty family and making them invest in the family. But I don’t worry about such criticism. As long as the final result is as intended, all this is okay.
The problem with OTT releases, of course, is that viewers could potentially choose to skip what they view to be sluggish portions.
(Laughs) I can’t do anything about that. It’s the choice of each individual. There could also be another reason for their impatience. Everyone knew that Drishyam’s sequel would contain surprises, but they could not bear the wait for the film’s exciting portions. In fact, I know a guy who always watches the end of suspense films first and then returns to the beginning. I can’t do that.
For the remainder of this review (and there’s a lot more left, I assure you), visit Jeethu Joseph: If Drishyam 2 were a book, Georgekutty would be in prison- Cinema express