In conversation with Silverscreen India ahead of the release of Drushyam 2: The Resumption, the Telugu adaption of the Malayalam film, director Jeethu speaks about making his Telugu debut with the sequel, the appeal of the Drishyam franchise, and his upcoming projects.
“The father-daughter relationship and family emotions shown in the Drishyam franchise are universal. These emotions are the same all over the world. Moreover, the story is about a common man’s fight against the system and people like to watch this. I believe this is why there are so many remakes of the two films,” says Jeethu.
The Telugu remake of first part, titled Drushyam, was directed by actor-filmmaker Sripriya.
On how he came to don the director’s hat for the sequel’s adaptation and thus make his Telugu debut, Jeethu recounts that after the producers bought the Drishyam 2’s remake rights, they told him that Sripriya would not be directing it. Later, they expressed interest in having Jeethu helm the Telugu sequel.
“This happened before the release of Drishyam 2, while that film’s post-production was still going on. I had sent the Telugu producers the English version of the script and they had also watched the Malayalam sequel without the music. They really liked it and that’s how the project happened,” he says.
“In fact, on the day of Drishyam 2’s release, I was in Hyderabad for the Telugu sequel’s script discussion,” he adds.
In adapting the sequel for the Telugu audience, the director says some minor changes to the premise and structure of the film have been made without modifying the core content.
“Though Drushyam 2’s plot is essentially the same as that of Drishyam 2, there is a sizeable Telugu audience that has not watched the Malayalam version and is waiting to watch the sequel in their own language. Besides, there is Venkatesh’s fan base as well who want to watch their hero’s film,” says the filmmaker.
Jeethu reveals that he enjoyed working with Venkatesh and adds that he found him to be a very professional and cooperative actor. “I’m looking forward to working with him in the future as well.”
Drushyam 2 was shot in parts of Hyderabad and Kerala. The filmmaker notes that shooting the film during Covid-19 pandemic was not difficult thanks to their previous experience of filming the Malayalam version in similar conditions. “We followed the same pattern.”
Speaking about the massive response for the Drishyam franchise, Jeethu says never, even in his dreams, had he imagined that it would have such a huge reach beyond language and cultural barriers. He also reveals that after finishing the first part he did not originally consider making a sequel.
“Later, many fans started sending me potential sequel stories and my producer Antony [Perumbavoor] too encouraged me to give it a try. So in 2015, I started thinking about the sequel. The biggest challenge was to maintain the characterisation and ensure continuity. By 2016, I had a basic framework in mind and after that, I consulted with some police officers and forensic doctors as part of my research. I started writing the Drishyam 2 script in 2019.”
Asked about his other upcoming projects, Jeethu reveals that the shooting of his Malayalam film 12th Man, starring Mohanlal, has been completed and the post-production is underway. He says the film will be ready by the end of January or the beginning of February, next year.
His other Mohanlal-starrer Ram, which also features Trisha Krishnan, began filming in 2019 but was stalled in the wake of Covid-19. “We have some locations outside India in the UK and Arab countries. So we are thinking of resuming the shoot by the middle of next year,” says Jeethu.
“Apart from that, one more film is under discussion. It is a small one with new generation actors and the film’s script is written by 12th Man’s scenarist [KR Krishna Kumar],” he adds.