The "Drishyam" wave is unprecedented. It is quite normal to remake a successful malayalam movie into other languages but "Drishyam" goes beyond the conventional set of languages that remakes touch. But the movie attracted its share of negative feedback regarding the plagiarism and accusations however that went largely unnoticed due to the magnitude of its success. "Drishyam" is the first malayalam movie to cross the Rs. 50 Crore mark which is a great achievement considering the size of their market. Now let me come to the plagiarism part.
Drishyam's director Jeethu Joseph is swearing on anything that "Drishyam" is not a remake or inspiration of any movie or novel, but those who had seen the Japanese movie "Suspect X" or the Korean movie "Perfect Number" or even read the novel "The Devotion of Suspect X", tend to disbelieve Jeethu. I avoided reading the reviews or interviews of the cast & crew of Drishyam because I feared it might give away the story. For the very first time, I was oblivious of the story line of a superhit Indian movie even after a couple of months of its release because I hoped that I'll watch "Drishyam" in theatre or a DVD someday. The stringent act of Anti-Piracy cell made sure that there is only one poor copy of the movie available online via torrents. Since the movie had moved out of the multiplexes here I thought that I might watch "Drishyam" months later on TV or DVD rip. But an article in the daily Dinakaran last week triggered me to see the "Perfect Number".
Drishyam Vs Suspect X
Poster of "Perfect Number" (Korean)
|The lonely maths teacher named Kim Seok-go lives in an apartment and in the flat next to him lives a single lady "Baek Hwa-sun" with her niece "Yoon-ah". On a fateful day Hwa-sun's ex-husband Cheol-min turns up and turns abusive. The niece Yoon-ah strikes him with a glass vase and Hwa-sun strangles him using the iron-box. Overhearing the commotion in the wall next, Kim Seok-go comes to Hwa-sun's flat and sees the dead body of Cheol-min. Moved by the helpless state of Hwa-sun & Yoon-ah, Kim Seok-go offers help to cover up the murder.
The detectives inquire Hwa-sun and Yoon-ah but they were away from home on the fateful evening by watching movie in the theatre. Refusing to buy this alibi, the detective Jo Min meticulously examines the evidences and finds them true. Still unconvinced, he makes Hwa-sun undergo the lie detector test. But the of math teacher Seok-go makes Hwa-sun to recreate the experience of going to the movie theatre so that she is not lying. Expectedly Hwa-sun passes the test and was released from conviction.
Still the detective Jo was unconvinced but happy to know that the neighbour Seok-go was his classmate, he takes the help of Seok-go to nail Hwa-sun as the murderer. But a couple of events make Jo Min doubt his friend Seok having any involvement in the murder or as accomplice in the murder. Thus the cat-mouse game ensues between the friends and who outsmarts whom becomes their life. Seok-go asks Jo Min to go slow as solving this case will not do good for anybody. Meanwhile Hwa-sun gets uncomfortable with the watchful eyes of the neighbour Seok-go and offers him sex as favour if he was attracted to her for that.
Seok-go gets hurt by her behaviour but maintains a dignified composure and assures her that things will be alright. After a clue, Jo Min raids the flat of his friend but suspect Seok-go and finds all the evidences that nail down Seok-go as the murderer. Finally when Jo-Min understands the Seok-go's cover up plan, he was not only amazed but also realises that this friend is much more than what he was seen as. Infact Seok-go had volunteeringly given him to the cops so that Hwa-sun can live in peace
|Georgekutty is a happy family man running a local cable business. His world is his wife Rani and two daughters college going Anju and school going Anu. One week Anju goes to a summer camp and comes back with all excitement until her camp-mate Varun turns up and blackmails her with a video clip of her undressing in a shower. Varun demands sex from Anju and when Rani joins Anju's protest, pleads him to leave them, Varun asks Rani a f**k instead. Furiated Anju hits Varun with an iron rod and Rani helps in finishing off Varun. Georgekutty comes home next day and hears the happening from them.
Now Georgekutty plans to protect his family from this mishap. Inspector General Geetha Prabhakar, the mother of victim Varun, is now determined to get the whereabouts of her missing son. Meanwhile Georgekutty tells his wife & daughters what to tell if police asks. To make them feel saying truth, he recreates the "Drishyam" (Visuals) of going to Thodupuzha church, hotel and movie on the fateful day. The family tells their outing to the police and mentally they are convinced that they are saying only the truth of their alibi. Geetha knows that Georgekutty and family is telling a lie convincingly but she is unable to prove their lies.
As a last retort Geetha makes Sahadevan, a police constable who hates Georgekutty, to apply brute violence against the family which makes the small kid Anu give in. When the police finds the place where Varun was buried, before they could dig cunningly Georgekutty brings the media and tells about the injustice meted on them. When Geetha digs the ground, all she finds is a dead body / carcass of a calf. Geetha apologises to Georgekutty for her brutal injust behaviour and Georgekutty gives a hint of "warding off the unwanted guest" from his small world. Finally Rani asks about the location of Varun's dead body but Georgekutty refuses to divulge. The movie ends with the hint that Georgekutty had buried the body in the police station which none can ever suspect.
Well... after seeing both the movies, none can believe that "Drishyam" is not an inspired product. Jeethu had taken the key scenes of the murder, creating alibi by recreating the scenes all again and the lead character's resistance of giving-in to the detective's efforts and had beautifully localised the story. There are certain scenes in "Drishyam" that warm the hearts.. like the conversation between Georgekutty and his father-in-law. But nobody can buy the theory that Jeethu hadn't seen or even heard of "Suspect X" / The Devotion of Suspect X.
Ekta Kapoor had paid a bomb for making the "The Devotion of Suspect X" as a movie and had signed "Kahaani" fame Sujoy Ghosh as director. The principal casting was also finalised as Vidya Balan (single woman Hwa-sun), Amitabh Bachchan (lone neighbour maths teacher Seok-go) and Naseeruddin Shah (detective Jo Min) and the project was named as "Badla" (revenge). But the "inspired product" Drishyam is so successful that its Hindi remake rights had been sold.
"Drishyam" can be a successful case study of "inspiration" and "adapting the story" to the local sensibilities. Even though it may sound cliche, I found the Korean movie gripping than malayalam movie and really found the 360 degree turn of Jeethu amazing.