What makes Georgekutty from 'Drishyam' a universal hero?

Mohanlal in Drishyam
'Drishyam' turned a family story into a thriller. Photo: Manorama

What is there not to like about Georgekutty? He is a caring husband and father, very brave, willing to go to any extent to safeguard his family, and extremely smart and intelligent. Anywhere in the universe where family matters, Georgekutty will be relatable. Moreover, theatre and cinema are going back to family stories now. It is said that Westerners love Othello, which is the tale of a man who killed his loving wife, Desdemona, after the greedy Iago manipulates him into believing that she is unfaithful, unlike his other legendary plays.

'Drishyam' turned a family story into a thriller. But the hero isn’t larger-than-life. He is just a very simple family man, someone who was ready to endure any form of punishment for the sake of his wife and daughters. Having said that, Georgekutty is also enviably intelligent and witty, and that’s what makes him a real hero.

Since it was Mohanlal who played Georgekutty, and considering the gamut of larger-than-life heroes he has portrayed previously, at least Malayalees would know that his simplicity was just a mask and that he is easily capable of outwitting his rivals. But Georgekutty isn’t any of these. He is a school dropout, a simple villager, and a self-made entrepreneur who runs a cable TV business. An ordinary man who learned about the world, law, and order by watching films. It must be this school dropout’s extraordinariness that must have turned him into a global phenomenon.

You can see how Georgekutty succeeds in suspending the cop who harasses his family. But he didn't move heaven and earth to do that. Despite being an IG, Geeta Prabhakar isn’t able to find her son’s murderer. She is forced to concede defeat and quit her job in front of Georgekutty’s smartly concocted stories.

The film’s core is the Latin word alibi that’s familiar to courts and cops all over the world. The word, which is used in English, borrowed from Latin, means ‘somewhere else.’ This word is used to prove that during the time of the crime, the culprit was at another location. If you are able to prove this in court by submitting the documents as proof, the culprit can escape punishment.

In Keigo Higashino's Japanese novel 'The Devotion of Suspect X,' Ishigami, the protagonist, uses the same strategy to cover up the murder committed by the woman he loved (who is also his neighbour) and her daughter. But the hero here is a brilliant math teacher. Yasuko, along with her daughter Misato, kills her ex-husband, who has come to harass her again, asking for money. Ishigami, who has a secret crush on Yasuko, arrives with an offer of help and tries to save both of them from the case. The Korean movie 'Perfect Number,' released in 2012, was based on this story.

In 2017, they made a Chinese film based on this story. But except for the fact that the hero creates an alibi to save his family from getting punished, there is no similarity with 'Drishyam.' That’s why 'Drishyam' is being remade in most Indian languages as well as in Chinese, Korean, and Sri Lankan. Audiences have loved a film like 'Lost Girls' (2020), which narrated the story of a mother who goes in search of her missing daughter and uncovers the cases of many murdered women. What made 'Drishyam' unique was that anyone who saw it wanted it to be remade in their language. The filmmakers and writers who remade it in their language made sure Georgekutty was placed in their milieu, culture, and ethnicity. And they are continuing to do that. That’s what makes Georgekutty a global hero! 

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