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Shiva (Udayam) 2006 October 30, 2006

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews, Tamil, Telugu.

From the very first shot, the camera angles and movements, that I quite enjoyed, have the unmistakable stamp of Ram Gopal Varma. The unbelievably brutal daylight killing at the start of the movie sets the tone for the violent film that isn’t as commercial a film as Varma claims. I cannot understand what Varma wants to achieve by remaking Shiva. He says he wants to make a commercial action film. Neither the original Shiva, nor this one or even James has the commercial ingredients to appeal to a large number of people (James was quite boring by commercial Hindi film standards). The original Shiva is a classic and it worked because it was a fresh attempt within commercial parameters. It was very different from any of the films that the audience were used to seeing at the time. At its core, it had an interesting story to tell, apart from the technical aspects and the backdrop of college politics hadn’t been previously explored. The characters felt very real and the situations were very believable. However, the new Shiva is lacking in most aspects. The police backdrop was a bad idea because the good cop versus system idea has been done to death, so it isn’t fresh enough to appeal.

Initially, it seems that Ram Gopal Varma might have done what he said he would i.e. remake Shiva. He uses the scenes and conflicts from that movie initially, though superficially it isn’t the same. The problem is that the writers [Farhad-Sajid] miss almost everything from the original that made real impact on the audience. There aren’t enough exciting/shocking sequences, not enough characters that you care about, not enough scenes that stay etched in your mind, no actor to match the appeal of Raghuvaran in the negative role, no bubbly heroine to provide relief and more. As a fan, I find so many things missing in this movie, when compared to the original. If any real effort was put in, the writers and the director would have realised it too. Varma’s decision to okay the script and make this film seems highly impulsive. From a technical viewpoint, Ramu does well but that isn’t enough to salvage this film.

Varma’s obsession with Mohit Ahlawat is difficult to understand. He is not Bachchan. Hell, he is not even close to a raw Nagarjuna (Varma’s original Shiva) or even a raw Jagapathi Babu (Varma’s Gayam)! The faster Varma realises his folly, the better. That said, Mohit Ahlawat is better here than in James. These are the only roles that suit him and these movies have failed, so I don’t see too much of a future for him.

Nisha Kothari is eye-candy and her acting isn’t bad. Ranvir Shorey and Suchitra Pillai are good in their short roles. Ninad Kamat provides a couple of laughs and vanishes. Upendra Limaye, who plays Bappu and Dilip Prabhavalkar (Lage Raho Munnabhai, Paheli) play the bad politician roles. Prabhavalkar playing this role just after he is acclaimed as Gandhi is ironic.

The best thing about the movie is Ilayaraaja’s music. All the songs are new versions of his hits from his telugu and tamil films including one from the original Shiva. The pick of the lot is the Dheemi Dheemi/Manasa Adagava/Oru Naal Maalaiyil number. Shreya Ghosal just nails this song. The tune, orchestration, lyrics, singing – everything is good. The background score obviously is good when the master is at work. The visuals of the songs are in typical Varma style, which is nice, but is becoming monotonous now. The cinematography (Amal Neerad) and action (Ram-Laxman) are other bright spots.

Ramu seems to have become too commercial and that is bad news for fans like us. Not enough time is spent on the scripting of his recent productions. Compared to the original Shiva and as a film by Ram Gopal Varma, this is poor. Otherwise this is an average film that is better than James.


1. Shujath - November 22, 2006

A week after the release, Ramu gave an interview saying that Shiva was an “impulsive reaction to the failure of James”. Nothing could better describe the movie. This undoubtedly is his worst outing as a director….total letdown!

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