Drushti is one among the many Telugu feature films that was lying in the cans for long and had to opt for a direct digital premiere. Though expectations are riding low for the thriller to deliver, it's sometimes this lack of buzz that helps a film's cause. And Drushti does evoke a surprise, even though it doesn't fire all cylinders. The absence of a decent canvas and the lack of adequate detailing hurts the film the most, but Drushti manages to keep you hooked for the most part. A 110-minute length with little or no fluff in its proceedings and two decent, if not firehouse, performers Rahul Ravindran and Pavani Gangireddy salvage a decent premise. Had it been slick and showed some spunk in its execution, Drushti would have even deserved being called 'memorable'.
The plot revolves around Mohan, a freelance photographer with a fractured leg, who happens to be a witness to a murder of an apartment neighbour. Despite being unaware of the killer's identity and having reported the incident to the cops, Mohan shockingly emerges the key suspect behind the murder. When given a chance to prove his innocence, Mohan narrates a series of suspicious incidents that surfaced in his neighbour's life before his death. The photographer's love interest is a physiotherapist who helps him unravel important clues in this mysterious case. Will the cop trust him after all? And just when they think they know the murderer, a smart twist turns the film on its ahead. The finer nuances, traits of the characters are quite significant in creating the right atmosphere for thrillers and none of Dhrushti's primary characters fit the bill on that front. It's creepy to spot a lead character, a supposedly curious photographer spying on various flats in his apartment daily. Rahul Ravindran perpetually roams around in his shorts and everything from the way he positions his camera and zooms into the lens in his photography assignments appears fake. He clicks anything and everything he spots. It's all casual and easy sans an effort from the actor or the director Ram Abbaraju to assert some conviction in the characterisation. The heroine's physiotherapist-arc too is mostly restricted to comic relief. The cop is one of the most ridiculously written roles in a Telugu film for a long time – horribly miscast, so casually enacted that it almost drowns the intensely written sequences in the narrative. The better part about Drushti is its straightforwardness. It wastes little time in getting into the plot. To an audience that regularly consumes thrillers, you may smell the climactic twist early. Yet tiding above that predictability, the screenplay is sharp (though you may not say the same about its execution). The director also shows his knack for comedy. The basis behind the meeting of the lead characters - Rahul's filming of a girl's failed suicide bid, the video going viral and the girl arranging goons to attack him for revenge - may all seem trivial on paper but they provide some harmless fun in an otherwise tense narrative. Some of Vennela Kishore's terrific spontaneity rubs onto the film. Pavani Gangireddy is a natural in front of the camera; be it the lighter or the tense moments, she shows enough range to stand on her own feet. The plot idea of a psychotic parent setting up an orphaned child, raising them and killing them for insurance money seems chilling and intrigue on a surface level, but the director ought to have provided more insight to it. Everything about the film appears so basic, simplistic and easy-on-the-eye. The filmmaker loses a lot in translation between the paper and the screen and it doesn't take much time to realise that the film isn't visualised well. There can be no better film than Drushti to explain how integral are the several crafts in filmmaking to ensure a good cinematic experience. It's probably this reason why that the film had to settle for a digital release. There's nothing in it to savour theatrically. This is not to rob the film from its strengths, but the fact it could have been much better than what it ends up being. There is promise and there is disappointment. Drushti, the film may suffice for the digital medium but it's another case of the lost potential of a decent script.