Panorama has bought world wide rights. Already it has been filmed in Malayalam, Telegu, Hindi, Sinhalese, Kannada, Chinese with plans for Korean, Japanese and English. There are plans for a Part 3 with the Malayalam and Hindi versions being released simultaneously.
Why so popular? "Drishyam" is not a mystery the way we normally watch, in fact it is sort of the reverse. It might seem strange that an idea first expressed in a language most westerners are not even aware of, Malayalam would attract universal attention. The hero is an ordinary guy, an orphan and school drop out. He owns a cable operation which helps feed his addiction to movies. His daughter is caught innocently in a sexually compromising situation and the perpetrator approaches the mother and daughter and in a tense situation he is accidentally killed. When the hero comes home he decides on a plan to protect his family from being caught and his daughter's reputation being besmirched in a conservative area. The scummy character's mother is a very clever police chief bent on catching the guilty party which focuses on the right people because they were the last one connected to the missing man. The plan is very clever. The audience takes the side of the protective father.
Part two occurs 7 years later and we had all been impressed thinking the issue was over. However there are always a few loose ends and policewoman mother still is determined. It is well handled, but with a lot of tension. The different versions do have subtle differences in actions and moral differences.
A favorite quote of mine exemplifies some of the moral ambiguity comes from the hero seen in the Hindi version: "Despite all the justifications, the hero can never look in the eyes of the boy's parents".My first look at the Bollywood version: http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2015/11/driishyam-bollywood-remake-masterpiece.html
Years later I saw the original Malayalam version and sometime after the sequel. Then I was I saw the second part in Telegu. More recently I saw the Bollywood version of the sequel.I recognize that I do not know all those who should take credit for the success, but below are some who deserve some recognition
Jeethu Joseph was the original "Drishyam" (2015) in Malayalam. He got his start as an assistant director, but than ran into roadblocks. He tried to interest producers with a one line plot, but failed. His mother stepped and agreed to finance the film with him as director. A producer did get interested and took over about a month into the project. His career went forward, but really got a big break with "Drishyan" released in 2013. He had no thoughts about a sequel, but others did and Antony Parambavour (who financed bodth the original and sequel) persuaded him to try. Jeethu has written and directed the two Malayalam versions and directed the Tamil.
Abhishek Pathak was the director, producer and adapted the script for Hindi version of "Drishyam 2". He had attended the New York Film Academy and later learned much from Anurag Kashyap. He has been primarily a producer, but also a writer and director. He produced the first Bollywood version of "Drishyam" in 2015. His other credits include "Omkara" (2006), "Aakrosh" (2010), "Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge" and "Ujda Chaman" (2011).
Mohanlal played the Georgekutty character owner of cable operation in Malayalam versions.. Gave an ok for part 2 as sidelined by Covid lockdown. He has 34 playback singing credits and 34 producer credit and over 260 acting credits that snagged numerous awards. Some film credits include "Summer in Bethlehem" (1998), "Tezz" (2012), "Grandmaster" (2012) and "Pulimurugan" (2016),
Ajay Devgn played Vijay Salgaonkar, the cable tv. owner. The reason Ajay agreed to do the original was because what he had planned got delayed and he had three months to spare which was enough for the shooting schedule. His original family name was Devgan, but he was advised to change to Devgn. He has been very busy as an actor, but also as a producer and director. His film credits include "The Legend of Bhagat Singh "(2002), "Raincoat" (2004), "Once Upon a Time in Mumbai" (2010), "Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge" (2010), "Shivaay" (2016) and "Gangubai Kathiawadi" (2022).
Meena played Rani George, wife to Georgekutty in the Malayalam versions and Jyothi wife to the cable operator in the Telegu versions. She also has a singing career and is multi lingual. Her over 150 film credits include "Friends" (1999) and "Karutha Pakshikal" (2008).
Shriya Saran plays Nandini Salgaonkar, wife to Vijay. She has fascinated me when she played in English the love interest in "The Other End of the Line" (2008). She speaks several languages with film credits including "The Blue Umbrella" (2005), "Kanthaswamy" (2009), "Midnight's Children" (2012) and "RRR" (2022).
Tabu is one of the highlights for me in the two Bollywood versions. She plays Police Chief Meera Deshmukh and you may not like her as she is ruthless in her pursuit of who she believes is her son's killer. Speaking four languages she appeared in one English movie, "The Namesake" (2008). Her film credits include "Chachi 420" (1997), "Hera Pheri" (2000), "Cheeni Kum" (2007), "Andhadhun" (2018), "Sanju" (2018) and "Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo" (2020). http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2015/12/tabu.html I would love to see her in the Part 3, both in Hindi and English.
I look forward to "Drishyam 3", mostly with the same casts and think it might be well worth checking out different versions to see which has the best twists or most subtle embellishments
Drishyam (Bollywood version) is available through Netflix while Drishyam 2 through Prime.