Jeethu Joseph on ‘Drishyam 2’: ‘It is about how the family responds to life after the crisis’

Shoot of the sequel to the hugely successful ‘Drishyam’ with Mohanlal, to start on August 17

July 04, 2020 03:03 pm | Updated 04:11 pm IST

Director Jeethu Joseph

Director Jeethu Joseph

Sequels in Malayalam cinema, Jeethu Joseph is often told, do not tend to do as well as the original. That, however, hasn’t stopped him from going ahead with Drishyam 2.

The director is in fact scheduled to start shooting the Mohanlal-starrer on August 17. The actor had made the first announcement about the project on his 60th birth day in late May.

It is the sequel to one of the most successful Malayalam films in history. Not only did Drishyam set the box office on fire in 2013 —it was the first Malayalam film to collect Rs. 50 crore — but was remade into probably more languages than any other Indian film ever was. Besides Tamil, Hindi, Kannada and Telugu, it was adapted for films in two foreign languages, Chinese and Sinhalese.

So Jeethu knows the expectations will be huge about the sequel. “I decided to do Drishyam 2 only after thinking about it for years,” he tells The Hindu over phone on a rainy Saturday afternoon. “Some of my friends had doubts, but when I showed them the first draft of the script, they too felt I could go ahead.”

It was during one of the meetings he had with the producers of his first Hindi film, The Body , that the idea of a sequel to Drishyam first came up. “They had asked me about its potential and told me that some other filmmaker had already talked of a sequel,” says Jeethu. “Antony Perumbavoor, who produced Drishyam , and Mohanlal had also asked me to explore the possibilities.”

Drishyam 2 will take off from where Drishyam ended. “It is about how the family responds to the life after the crisis,” he says. “The police hadn’t closed the murder investigation. So the film will examine how the family deals with their own personal trauma and reactions from the society.”

A still from ‘Drishyam’

A still from ‘Drishyam’

He finished the screenplay during the coronavirus-induced lockdown. “Once we get the clearance from the Kerala government — which we hope to — we could begin shooting,” he says. “I am in no hurry to release the film, as the cinemas have to open first and there are several films, affected by the coronavirus, are already lined up.”

Jeethu has had to cancel shoots of his own film, Ram , featuring Mohanlal and Trisha. “Sixty percent of the shoot was complete, but for the remaining portions we will have to travel to the UK and Uzbekistan,” he says. “Though the situation in the U.K. has improved, we have decided to resume the shoot only next year.”

Besides Drishyam 2, Jeethu has also been working on a few other scripts. Then there is his second film in Hindi.

“That film is based on a story by another writer,” he says. “And it is not going to be a remake, like my first Hindi film The Body. I have found there is not much fun in doing remakes.”

The Body was the official remake of a Spanish film by the same name. Rishi Kapoor had played one of the main roles in it and it turned out be his last release.

Jeethu Joseph with Rishi Kapoor

Jeethu Joseph with Rishi Kapoor

“His death pained me a lot; I had grown close to him during the shoot of The Body ,” says Jeethu. “He had become fond of me and was actually planning to come to my home in Kerala. He had told me that he wanted to eat Karimeen Pollichathu (a central Kerala fish delicacy). Those plans had to be altered as he had to travel to the US for treatment.”

Jeethu, whose last release was Thambi in Tamil, is itching to get back to theatres to watch movies. “I had watched a lot of films on the OTT platform at the beginning of the lockdown, but then I got bored,” he says. “There is nothing like watching a movie at a cinema along with other viewers. But I know we may have to wait for months before normalcy returns to the film industry. There is, however, no point in waiting endlessly; this is the livelihood of many. That is why I decided to go ahead with Drishyam 2.

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