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Drushyam starring Venkatesh and Meena is a remake of a Malayalam film with the same name. The story of a family man running in to an unexpected threat to his family. And he taking on the entire system to save his family is the core of the film. The theme is universal and the new genre of “family thriller” invented by writer Jeetu Joseph is class apart. Both this made the film most wanted in all most all Indian languages. In south Indian languages, the role played by Mohanlal is being essayed by Ravichandran in Kannada, Kamal Hassan is proposed for Tamil and in Telugu Venkatesh. Kamal Hassan himself endorsed Venkatesh for this role in Telugu, making the choice even more anticipating. With the confidence they have on the film, producers decided to showcase the film to media two days before the actual release. Let’s see how their confidence paid-off.

Rambabu (Venkatesh) lives in a small town near Araku. He is an orphan, who created a successful life of his own. Starting from a petty shop to presently a cable TV operator with a 5 acre farm house, beautiful family comprising of wife (Meena), teenage daughter (Kritika) and a school going young one (Easthar). Rambabu is mad about films. Though he stopped his formal education at class IV, his learning curve was always up with his learning from and with films. Everybody respects and considers Rambabu a good man in the village except for a corrupt constable (Ravi Kale).

Such a decent family man Rambabu’s family runs in to a trouble. To save his family Rambabu has to do what no one can imagine. What is that trouble and how Rambabu stood his ground to save his family and what length a common middle class man can go to defend his family is the main story of the film.

It takes good time for the characters and set-up to settle in the first half an hour of the film. Might cause uneasiness to people who are used to fast paced Telugu films. If you start following the characters and start associating with them like a family, the dividend surely pays-off when the conflict point arises in the film. The film turns in to a thriller and picks up speed that could be safely called ‘edge of the seat’. What is more interesting is, it is just not a thriller but an emotionally charged and fulfilling one for soul too. Screenplay by Jeetu Jose walks away with all the credit with his narration. Director Sri Priya must be appreciated for retaining the soul and extracting fine performances from her actors.

No wonder if Kamal felt Venkatesh suits the role best in Telugu. While you are watching, you would completely endorse Kamal’s judgement. Both family sequences and the thriller part if efficiently carried by veteran (Victory) Venkatesh. In the climax scene where he talks about his commitment to his family and its values (the “athidhi” scene) he excelled Mohanlal. Meena is a perfect fir for the house wife’s role. Except for some make-up glitches, she is very good. Elder daughter played by newcomer Kritika is satisfying. Younger one played by Easthar did a fantastic job in the second half of the film. A special mention sure is needed for Nadiya who played an Police IG in the film and senior actor Naresh her husband. Ravi Kale as a corrupt local constable who acts tough on Rambabu is ably played.

Nadiya excelled in performing in a conflicting role of a tough cop and an emotional mother. Its a challenging role for her as an actress and she succeeds with grace. Naresh proves his vintage value with subtle yet impressive performance. Such actors in character roles can make Telugu cinema proud. In a climax scene where he seeks the information about his son is impressive that, he steals the show from everyone. Rest of the minor characters are played by Paruchuri Venkateswarao, Chalapathi rao, Annapurna, Sapthagiri and Krishna Chaitanya.

Technicall speaking the film stands out for an effective background score by Sharrat and no nonsense cinematography by S.Gopal Reddy. Director Sri Priya should be appreciated for not meddling with the soul of the film in the name of “nativity”. Thank God the film stays true to original emotions and stays away from general Telugu cinema antics.

Venkatesh after Nagarjuna (in Manam) seem to be finding his new place as a leading man in a refined roles. Such trend sure is a big welcoming change desired of Telugu cinema. Reinventing themselves is a must for actors and with this, I am sure Venkatesh earned his second inning as a vintage actor who retains his title ‘victory’.

The “family thriller” genre is sure to find its audience both in mass and class. Further more families will flock to theater to feel the emotional aspects of the film. Hope this proves to be a game changer in Telugu.

Cinetara Rating : 3/5

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