Dishyum is the latest example of how a good director can make even a familiar story seem fresh. The film treads the familiar path of a rich girl-poor boy love story. But strong characterization, avoidance of cliches and small tweaks in the screenplay make the movie an entertaining affair.
Recent movies like Aaru and Aadhi were packed with violence. So it is ironic that a film titled Dishyum, a word that signifies a well-delivered blow, serves as a respite from the violence overload. Especially commendable is director Sasi’s decision to keep away from violence(and even the usual fight sequences) inspite of the enormous opportunities offered by the choice of the hero’s profession. That said, the movie has been given an 'A' certificate while bloodsoaked films like Aadhi get by with a 'UA' certificate! Strange are the workings of the censor board officials' minds.
‘Risk’ Bhaskar(Jeeva) is a stuntman in the movies. As the prefix to his name indicates, he is a daredevil with no fear of death and for this reason, is the stuntman of choice for the most dangerous stunts. Into his life comes Cynthia(Sandhya), a student at an arts college. He falls for her and is quick to express his love. But she sees him only as a friend.
The problem with most rich girl-poor boy love stories is that they gloss over the differences(that would actually matter in the real world) between the lovers and base the romance on trivial things like fights and sentiments. So they rarely ring true. But Sasi doesn’t do that here. He makes us, and more importantly the two of them, understand that they are different. There are some lovely scenes that bring out the contrast in many aspects of their lives. The question then becomes whether they can rise above those differences. So the movie is more believable and even manages to be a little suspenseful. Dishyum is no Kaadhal but is a lot more realistic than other movies that portray such a romance.
The romance is held up by the strong characterization of the two involved in it. Jeeva’s innocence and naiveté are not overdone. His honesty and willingness to speak his mind make us smile sometimes and sympathize with him at other times. He is a simple man who knows what he wants. Or atleast thinks he does. Sandhya, on the other hand, is a complicated woman who is not sure what she wants or even how she feels. There are times she shouts at him but there are times she goes against her own family to stand up for him. Like the heroine in Devadhaiyai Kanden, she is practical about her romance. With two such strong characters, Sasi’s job in delivering a lively relationship is half done.
Both of Sasi's earlier movies, Sollaamale and Rojakkoottam, had some plot developments designed to surprise us. While Dishyum has no such big twists, it does pack a number of small surprises that make it quite unpredictable and make us get involved in it. The screenplay proceeds in a way that keeps our interest. And there are a number of sequences that don't exactly end the way we predict them to.
But the surprise is not maintained until the end and the climax is as cliched as it gets in terms of both dialog and location(which is probably the second most popular location, after the railway station, for the climax in Tamil films!). There are atleast two points before the climax where, if the movie had ended, it would have been really surprising and as a result, had a greater impact.
This movie is the follow-up to big, talked-about roles for both Jeeva and Sandhya and both of them deliver. Jeeva slips into the stuntman role well. With close-cropped hair and long sideburns, he looks the part and his expressions, body language and dialog delivery help make him believable for the most part. Sandhya seems like a very natural performer. She has expressive eyes and is especially convincing when angry. She is able to sound angry without shouting. Badhru, a midget, is responsible for the comedy. Though it initially feels a little awkward, the actor and the characterization of his role help us get over it and lead to some good laughs(and a couple of tears). Nenjaankoottil... is a very melodious number. A couple of tracks that play in the background sound catchy too.