Drishyam 2 director Abhishek Pathak says some people
Drishyam 2 has had a dream start at the box office. The film has earned ₹65 crore net across India in its first three days, surpassing the opening weekend collections of all Bollywood films this year except Brahmastra. The film’s director Abhishek Pathak, who is making his feature debut with the film, talks about the journey and the film’s cultural impact on the Hindi-speaking audience.
Drishyam is the remake of the Malayalam film of the same name. The first Hindi version came out in 2015, two years after the Malayalam original’s success. However, Abhishek says the sequel was planned even before the Malayalam Drishyam 2 was released. He says, “The Malayalam film was made but before it came out on OTT, we had bought the rights to it. We saw the film and loved it. By November 2020, we got the rights and then we started developing it.”
The Hindi version of Drishyam 2 has made some changes to the script, introducing elements and characters that did not exist in the Malayalam version. Elaborating on that choice, Abhishek says, “There is no point in making a frame-to-frame remake. You are not doing anything as a director if you do that. You have to bring your vision to the table. Also, if it’s a copy, people will talk about that aspect. It will spread via word of mouth and reduce your audience. Why would you want to take that chance?”
But the filmmaker agrees that any such change needs to be carefully planned so as to avoid ruining the essence of the original. “When you start rewriting something, you always mark out things you don’t want to touch,” he says, adding, “The idea is to not damage it. See, we got the rights to something we loved and there’s no point changing that. We have to stick to the soul of the film, including the twist and turns. But the screenplay can change. Malayalam films are a little different as compared to Hindi films. The audiences are different as well. So we need that change. So yes, changing the screenplay of a remake is important but you have to be careful.”
Drishyam 2’s success comes at a time when there has been a widespread perception in the cinema industry that remakes are not working. Abhishek says he both agrees and disagrees with that notion. He shares, “I agree and disagree both. Remakes are not working, I don’t agree with that. But yes, if the original is available on OTT in your language, you cut down on your audience. That has certainly damaged certain films that have come recently. But remaking is not something that will go away, I think. There are certain stories made for certain audiences. And if there is a chance to retell that brilliant story to another, larger audience, I don’t think there should be a problem with that. We are buying the rights officially from the producers. It’s not ‘copy kar liya’ as some people say.”
But Drishyam 2 is more than just a remake. It is also the sequel to a hugely successful film that is considered a cult classic by many. In fact, many believe that the popularity of the Ajay Devgn-starrer Hindi version has even surpassed the Malayalam original, which has Mohanlal in the lead. Abhishek says, “Without us doing anything, every year on October 2, there are memes about Vijay Salgaonkar and his family. It’s fun. Mohanlal sir is a great actor, a very established actor but the Hindi audiences relate Drishyam somewhere more with Vijay Salgaonkar and Ajay Devgn. And even though the Malayalam sequel was out, many people didn’t watch it as they wanted to see the Hindi version first. That is because they relate so much with Ajay sir. The Malayalam Drishyam is a brilliant film but they somewhere chose to hold on till the Hindi version was released.”