With its depiction of police brutality, this film questions the country’s criminal justice system
05 Aug, 2015
This is a ‘made in Japan’ product that has come to Hindi cinema via the ‘Southern remake’ route. Keigo Higashino’s detective novel The Devotion of Suspect X inspired quite a few South Asian adaptations. Ordinarily, this could be described business-as-usual, but for the interesting twists given to the original thriller. One tweak is that the mathematically accurate deduction skills of the chief suspect is applauded as the achievement of a person without formal education but with an exceptional ability to deconstruct popular cinema.
Vijay Salgaonkar (Ajay Devgn), a ‘class 4 fail’, runs a cable TV business in Goa, and when he and his family are suspected of abduction and murder, he runs through scenes from Hindi cinema in his mind to construct a foolproof set of alibis. Considering that the plots of the movies he chooses are full of holes to begin with, you would think a casual cross-examination by the police would expose him. But that doesn’t happen, because the real villain in the film is the system of law enforcement in India. Torture is presented as the preferred police method, to be applied to all suspects. Inspector General Meera Deshmukh (Tabu) seems to use this dubious method quite liberally in the film. No second thoughts are given to the human rights of the suspects, nor does there seem much worry about court proceedings that could question such ways of information extraction and hamper possible convictions. When she brings in Vijay, his wife Nandini (Shriya Saran) and their two daughters for questioning, she has them all thrashed.
This film is not a very good advertisement for the police. By the end of it, the audience is baying for cop blood. Not a very subtle film even if reasonably entertaining, Drishyam does ask a few questions of the current criminal justice system.
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