Shivaay – Movie Review
Posted by Vivek on October 30, 2016 | No Comments
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Sayesha Saigal, Vir Das, Girish Karnad
Writer: Sandeep Srivastava
Music: Jasleen Royal, Mithoon
Director: Ajay Devgn,
Producer: Ajay Devgn, Sunil A Lulla
The trailer of Ajay Devgn’s magnum opus Shivaay promised a grand visual spectacle and a spectacle it is. The ambition of the film is the kind we seldom see in Hindi films and that alone is worthy of applause. Huge odds and a single man fighting them in a foreign land is a familiar David vs Goliath setting, especially for action films. It also makes for a suitable landscape for a film of this scale.
Shivaay, pits a single father Shivaay (Ajay Devgn), a Himalayan mountaineer, against a faceless international child trafficking mafia that has kidnapped his daughter Gaura, (in a Taken-ish type of plot) in Bulgaria. The duo are there to look for the girl’s estranged mother, a Bulgarian national who left her behind at childbirth with Shivaay. But before they can embark on the search whole heartedly the little girl is kidnapped and to make matters worse Shivaay – an Indian with a Bulgarian looking kid becomes the suspect. The hunter becomes the hunted.
Amongst magnificent camera work and dramatic graphics, the film takes shape through the father’s quest for his daughter in a true-blue action flick fashion. The rugged landscapes of Bulgaria lend beautifully to the grit and grunge of the film. Sweeping angles and roaring sound design keep the narrative going in a daze of wind-swept frenzy while Shivaay and Anushka (Sayesha Saigal), the girl who works at the embassy, go on a car-crashing spree to find Gaura. They don’t know who they are looking for and where does the trail they are following lead but Shivaay is unstoppable and unbeatable.
And truly Ajay Devgn is both in this film. At some points his ‘man-of-steel-ness’ seems ridiculous but then, his histrionics and the feverish pace of the film take over.
In a tense, action-packed build-up we follow Shivaay through the phenomenal physical dangers he takes on and survives, right till the end. It is a journey wrought with a lot of crazy chases and climbs, deadly falls and crashes, bloodshed and tears. While the action is satisfyingly grand it is the emotional drama that although carries heft does not carry depth. Dialogues, motivations and performances of everyone excluding Ajay Devgn are either hammy or shallow. The soulless writing miserably fails the scale of Shivaay’s dare-devilry and the film. Maybe that is why a booming sound design invoking Shiva, the ultimate destroyer (who Shivaay is a devotee of), helps a lot, cushioning an otherwise uneven film.
The film is a visual and aesthetic treat for action lovers especially Ajay Devgn fans, the man plays superhero action characters, not only superhero action heroes. Now as a director, with his third film, he displays versatility in form, style and genre, almost seeming to love playing with the medium. While remaining within mainstream tropes he ups the bar of action films by sheer vision and execution, both as an actor and director and that is a fact relishing enough.
Shivaay may fall short as a satisfying film experience but simply the ambition and execution is a step forward for a rather backward Bollywood.