‘The industry’s perception changes towards you once you give a hit film,’ says ‘Drishyam 2’ director Abhishek Pathak – Exclusive | Hindi Movie News

Producer-director Abhishek Pathak has won a National Award for his short film ‘Boond’ along with producing many other movies like ‘Pyaar Ka Punchnama’. But now, he’ll largely be known for directing ‘Drishyam 2’ because of the film’s humongous success. In an exclusive interview with ETimes, the director reveals how differently he worked on this sequel, his long journey with Ajay Devgn and how this hit will change things for him. Excerpts:

What’s your reaction to the phenomenal success of ‘Drishyam 2’ in terms of critical and commercial acclaim?

We did expect good feedback but this has gone up by three-four folds I would say. It has gone beyond what we thought, and we love it. Unanimously, everyone has loved it and it’s an awesome feeling for any filmmaker. We’re happy to be crossing the 150 crore mark. Somewhere in Hindi cinema, we were lacking good content that could bring in those numbers. But I’m so overwhelmed that people are going to the theatres to watch ‘Drishyam 2’. It has become like a festival.

Moreover, a section of the audience has already seen the Malayalam version, yet they were keen on watching this…
Only a small miniscule amount of the audience has watched the Malayalam version with subtitles. Our country has a largely Hindi speaking audience and can’t read English subtitles. The Hindi audience connects more to Ajay sir and his journey of Vijay Salgaonkar’s character. I’m glad people waited for the sequel and accepted it with open arms. The fact that ‘Drishyam’ was remembered since the last seven years and every year the date of October 2 sort of became an event for the film has also helped the sequel to do well. We didn’t have to remind people about the film. When we saw the screenplay we knew we had to make this. We just had to make it more entertaining for the Hindi belt audience than the original one. We were pretty sure that it would work, and I’m happy people got more than what they were expecting.

Since you came on board as the director for the sequel, what was it that you brought to the film as your ‘touch’?

Thriller is one of my top favourite genres. What we normally miss out in thrillers is that we don’t tell the story from the point of view of visual storytelling. But when we were writing the script only, we were sure that every shot had a thrilling element and people wouldn’t blink their eyes. Each and every actor is different from the first part. We focused on the treatment of the film. We had to make it crispier, tighter in terms of the screenplay. Either the shot should be informative or entertaining, that was our endeavour. Everything else we’ve cut out. So, I think, as a director, how the film looks, how crisp it is, the colour tone of it or performances – I’ve worked on all that.

Akshaye Khanna had initially said no for the film, but he said yes after reading the script. Are all your actors happy by the end of the film now?

We got all the characters so beautifully written, for them to perform. It’s a delight for any actor to get such a role on paper and it’s an honour for me to get such a performance in return. So, it’s a win-win situation for all of us (smiles).

Ajay Devgn and you share a long association. He’s been in the first part and he’s also the director himself. Is it easy for you to work with an actor like that because he perhaps has a deeper understanding of things?

Ajay sir has seen me for a long time. He’s seen me since childhood, then working as a production assistant, as an intern, working on my short film, getting the National Award for that to now directing ‘Drishyam 2’. He’s seen my journey. He’s a very creative person and he was very clear about what he was getting into. He’s very good in terms of judging everything, even without seeing the rushes, so he understood my vision well. Moreover, it was way easier for him to understand what he would do in the sequel. When Ajay sir heard the narration, he had no questions at all because everything was there in the script. So, there was no difference of opinion between Ajay sir and me, on the script or the performance. We were pretty much on the same page through the film.

But do you think ‘Drishyam 2’ will change people’s perception towards you? As in how much does a hit like this matter?

For every artist, a hit is something they all strive for. We’ve got critical acclaim along with the blockbuster tag which is something everyone aims to achieve. I think the industry’s perception changes towards you once you deliver something like this. They feel that you’ve made a great film now. It’s really satisfying. Now when I make my next film, people will take it seriously because I’ve given ‘Drishyam 2’.

Everyone is quite excited for part 3 now and are already making theories. So, what can they expect next from you?

People are excited and are going to make theories for part 3 and 4. For sure there’s a demand for part 3 but we are just happy to be crossing the 100 crore number for now. Once we get some time off, we will think about what can be done in part three. Right now, we’re just enjoying every moment of what we’re getting. As far as my next is concerned, I have a couple of things already in place. I’m thinking what to take next. I need to put my brain to it because after delivering this one, I want to write a story which is still loved by people the way this one was received.

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