In Kerala in 1984, Sukumara Kurup allegedly murdered Chacko to fake his own death and claim the insurance money. Kurup is still absconding, and has inspired several films. Writer-director Jeethu Joseph compared his Drishyam series to the Kurup case.
“This case will never end, that’s for sure,” Joseph told Scroll.in.
In Joseph’s Malayalam-language Drishyam (2013), Mohanlal played Georgekutty, a cinephiliac cable TV operator. Georgekutty goes to extraordinary lengths to protect his wife and daughter from a murder charge. The victim is the son of the Inspector General of Police (Asha Sarath). The movie spawned remakes in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi, Sinhalese and Chinese. Joseph directed the Tamil remake Papanasam (2015), starring Kamal Haasan.
The original production’s enduring popularity has inevitably inspired a sequel. In Drishyam 2, Georgekutty and his family return to face the music. The movie will be streamed on Amazon Prime Video from February 19.
“The sequel wasn’t made just because the first film became successful,” Joseph said. “We got an angle, only then did we proceed.”
Rather than a crime, the sequel focuses on Georgekutty’s successful cover-up. “Georgekutty owns a film theatre, is attempting to produce films, and is much more confident after six years,” Joseph revealed. “But his wife and elder daughter are still in trauma. Every time, a cop arrives, they get tense. In the first film, the neighbours were supportive and believed Georgekutty was innocent. But now he is rich. The neighbours get jealous and begin to speculate.”
Among the recurring actors are Meena as George’s wife, Ansiba Hassan and Esther Anil as his daughters, and Asha Sarath and Siddique as the murder victim’s parents. Murali Gopy plays the new Inspector General of Police.
“We never expected Drishyam to be this big, but we knew it was a good film,” Joseph said. “We wondered about the key element that attracted people. Perhaps the father-daughter emotion is universal.”
Could another reason be that Georgekutty got away with a righteous crime? “We had arguments during the release about whether we were supporting murder, but that’s not the case,” Joseph recalled. “The boy comes from a police family, so Georgekutty couldn’t approach the police. It is human instinct to save oneself and one’s loved ones.”
Despite being strong on thrillers (Memories, Drishyam, Aadhi), Joseph’s Hindi directorial debut The Body (2019) did not set the box office on fire.
The Body was a remake of the 2012 Spanish hit El Cuerpo. “I sincerely don’t know why it did not work, but I have taken a decision not to remake other directors’ films,” Joseph said. “My own film, I can remake. And I honestly did Papanasam just for Kamal Hassan.”
He will collaborate with Mohanlal once more for Ram. But what about a film with Mammootty?
“Drishyam was originally offered to him and he loved the subject, but the dates didn’t work out,” Joseph said. “He did not like the other roles I brought to him. It’s my dream to work with him, so it will happen some time.”