Film: “Shivaay”; Director: Ajay Devgn; Cast: Ajay Devgn, Erica Kaar, Sayesha Saigal, Abigail Eames, Vir Das, Girish Karnad, Saurabh Shukla; Rating: **1/2
Ajay Devgn’s Diwali bonanza for his fans, “Shivaay”, touted to be a thriller, in reality, is an action-packed drama that begins and remains on a languid note for much too long, making the film a slog.
It is a simple, straight-forward tale of a competent, “extra-ordinary” mountaineer, Shivaay, who is bogged down by “extraordinary circumstances”. He is a lonely soul, who is glorified as a superhero and compared with the likes of Superman, Batman and Spider-Man, when he battles the thugs and the police upon his daughter Gaura getting kidnapped. At the core, Shivaay is a father-daughter bonding film.
While this could have been a gripping tale, “Shivaay” has all the traits of an amateurishly written script, which include; poor characterisation, “tell and show” scenes and poorly penned dialogues that become unintentionally humourous.
Case in point is; in a defying moment, when the wheelchair bound, Girish Karnad, says, “Kissi ko to khadaa rehna hoga”, which literally means somebody has to stand up, which he does, and instantly plops! This unwarranted action, plied with the dialogue, makes the scene seem silly.
Also, when the Indian Consulate in Bulgaria, asks his employee Anu as to why she is keen to help Shivaay, the tone in which she answers, “Comics ki duniya ke bahar bahut kam superheroes milte hain”, which means, outside the comic universe you hardly see any superheroes. You chuckle when she says this because, though cliched, this is probably the only finest spoken sentence, in an otherwise mediocre set of lines.
With a tattooed torso and his naturally gifted intense looks, Ajay Devgn as the gravity defying Shivaay, offers nothing that we have not seen earlier. His charm and appeal has shades of characters he has exhibited earlier. His onscreen chemistry with Erica Kaar, the free-spirited Olga seems forced and that with Sayesha Saigal who essays Anu, is non-existent.
Erica and Sayesha are natural and convincing with their histrionics. But it is Abigail Eames as Shivaay’s daughter Gaura, who is charming. She impresses you when she emotes with her speech disability.
Girish Karnad as Anu’s father and Saurabh Shukla, in miniscule roles have nothing much to offer.
The antagonists, with their quirky traits are fairly interesting, but they are lost in the maze.
On the directorial front, Ajay Devgn, has concentrated more on the technical brilliance than the emotional quotient. His screenplay is packed with artistically composed frames, brilliantly layered CGIs and visual effects. The film is dazzling to view, but, with snappy edits and tight close-ups, his action sequences with jaw-dropping set pieces, seem more manufactured than real. The impact of his story telling is lost. Also, the trekking scene is very amateurishly canned.
Mithoon’s music seamlessly integrates into the narrative. The songs are used to propel the story forward and the shlokas to lord Shiva are effectively used as the background score.
With a runtime of two hours and fifty three minutes, don’t be surprised to be hear yawns, from the audience, at regular intervals.
Overall, the title, which resonates with magnetic appeal lacks conviction.
By Troy Ribeiro