- A corrupt politician's henchman hammers a massive nail in the skull of a person in broad daylight. The junta stands frozen. The cop, witnessing the gruesome murder, just smiles and walks away.
Welcome to Ramgopal Varma's SHIVA.
A world where the law of the jungle prevails. A world where bullets, swords, daggers, belts and acid are used generously. A world that shows the ministers as a corrupt lot and cops, hand-in-glove with gangsters. A system infested with criminals.
Wait haven't we witnessed all this and more since MERI AAWAZ SUNO in the 1980s? Most importantly, hasn't Ramgopal Varma helmed films like SATYA and COMPANY and produced SHOOL and AB TAK 56 that threw light on the cat-n-mouse game of cops-n-gangsters?
The theme of SHIVA is beaten to death. An honest cop fighting the unscrupulous elements in the police force as well as gangsters holds no novelty today. Even if it's directed by an accomplished storyteller like RGV. The unfortunate part is, RGV is not in form this time around. Compare it with his previous works and this one comes across as a pale photocopy of his earlier achievements.
SHIVA tells the story of Shiva [Mohit Ahlawat], who has joined the Mumbai Police. His ideals clash with the harsh reality at work.
Bappu [Upendra Limaye], a gangster turned politician, continues to spread terror. But the police officers [Zakir Hussain, Raju Mavani] turn a blind eye to his misdeeds. There's also a crime journalist [Nisha Kothari], who walks into Shiva's life and also attracts the fury of the gangsters.
Along with three honest cops, Shiva decides to take the gangsters to task.
It's difficult to find bright spots in SHIVA. The film is so dark, so violent, so gruesome that you can't help but get put off by the sequence of incidents. The predictable plot only adds to the woes. Starting with the corrupt cops to the gangster-politician who has cops on his payroll to the corrupt Home Minister the fight between good and evil is a monotonous experience here.
Given the outdated plot, there's not much RGV can do to salvage the show. Yes, a few scenes are well executed, like the fight between Mohit and Sherveer Vakil and the chase that ensues or Dilip Prabhavalkar's [Home Minister] introduction minutes before the intermission. But a couple of deftly executed scenes cannot camouflage the defects.
Writing [Farhad-Sajid] is unexciting. Music [Ilaiya Raaja] is another forced ingredient in the narrative. The song at the start ['Police Police'] is the only track that holds promise, while the two romantic tracks add no value. However, the background score is highly effective. Action [Ram-Laxman], in plenty, is one department the film depends upon heavily. Cinematography [Amal Neerad] is perfect.
Mohit Ahlawat shows improvement over his debut film JAMES. Nisha Kothari is plain average. Upendra Limaye is theatrical, but would appeal to the grassroots nonetheless. Dilip Prabhavalkar excels as the conniving politician. Zakir Hussain is wasted.
Raju Mavani is fair. Sajid, Sherveer Vakil and Dinesh Lamba are passable. Ganesh Mayekar [Cutney, gangster from Malaysia] doesn't impress. Ninad Kamat is wasted. Ranveer Shorey and Suchitra Pillai get minimal scope. Nagesh Bhosale, Sanjeev Wilson and Pankaj Jha, the honest cops, are adequate.
On the whole, SHIVA is a poor show, with nothing except gruesome violence on display. At the box-office, while the violence will keep the ladies/families away, even the hardcore masses might not give SHIVA its mandate due to its outdated plot. Businesswise, the prospects at multiplexes will be poor, while there's minimal hope at single screens too.