A still from the Malayalam film 'Drishyam' Image Credit: Supplied

Mohanlal’s films are eagerly awaited and Drishyam, is no different. The legendary actor, who in his 35-year career has explored umpteen roles, gets into the skin of George Kutty, a father to two schoolgirls and turns this ordinary soul into a romantic hero.

Playing a common man is something that Mohanlal has always done with natural ease and in Drishyam he wins hands down.

George Kutty manages a cable television business in a small town of Thodupuzha. A film buff, he is forever hooked onto films. A class four school drop-out, George Kutty is married to Rani, who has studied beyond class four, but could not clear class ten. While Kutty is tight-fisted, Rani strikes a contrast with her yearning for the good things in life, which, apart from shopping and eating biriyani in a hotel, include sending her two daughters to an English convent instead of an ordinary English medium school.

Theirs is a happy household with the usual chaos mixed with cackles of laughter, so typical of an Indian middle-class home.

But the joy is cut short with the arrival of Varun, a teenager who takes Kutty’s family on an unexpected journey that becomes a test of their love and commitment towards one another.

Carving each character with great care, director Jeethu Joseph orchestrates this saga.

Little throwaway details such as Kutty always chiding his family for leaving the lights switched on, add a realistic touch to the narration. And when you have comfortably settled down in the Kutty household, Jeethu springs upon viewers a surprise when they least expect it. From surprise to shock, this family drama turns into a gripping thriller.

When the law-abiding Kutty is arrested the film surges ahead. As the scenes unfold, you wonder if he and his family ultimately succumb to the pressure of the policemen.

With a brilliant screenplay, Jeethu’s narration is almost flawless. Abetting him every step of the way is a terrific ensemble cast of actors who shine individually and in tandem. While this film joins the list of Mohanlal’s best performances, Meena after a hiatus, shares a wonderful on-screen chemistry with him. The two child actors, Ansiba and Esther, fit into the Kutty family beautifully. Surprising viewers with an incredible performance is Kalabhavan Sajon as a cop with negative shades. Siddique as the bereaved father of a teenager is at his subtle best.

Without sounding preachy, Jeethu points out the flaws some of us parents make when we decide to compensate time for our children with money. Keeping in tune with today’s issues, he points out how a cellphone can become an instrument of blackmail.

As the climax scene rolls, Kutty and Joseph have the last laugh, leaving the audience stunned and asking: ‘Why did I not think of that before?’ Because until then, without their realizing, Kutty’s problem had become theirs to solve.

Drishyam is an unforgettable picture, shorn of irrational fight sequences and mindless dance numbers.

This is the Mohanlal we fell in love with through his earlier films, without the larger-than-life images of his subsequent films.