Shiva is a remake of Ram Gopal Varma’s own film which received a hit status back in the 90’s. The original film had Nagarjuna’s intensity and Amla’s simplicity which made it effective in many ways. However the plot of Shiva’s remake has been done to death, especially by Varma himself. The plot involves the triumph of good over evil which is achieved by the main protagonist Shiva by simply bending the legal system when he can’t get around it. The script consists of the stale topic of good guys versus bad guys and then the ensuing fight for justice through any means. In terms of topic the film does not hold any novelty, as for Ram Gopal Varma’s (RGV) screenplay then it is filled with huge doses of gory violence which again is nothing new, a tad of romance and a tad of humour. Unfortunately for RGV, this time round the formula seems stale and boring and holds no excitement. Along with that, newcomers Mohit Ahlawat and Nisha Kothari simply don’t manage to make their screen presence felt this time too. A film with too much violence, a subject matter that has nothing new to offer and performances that barely make a mark. A sore disappointment from noted director RGV.

Shiva belongs to the action/social films genre and it has been produced and directed by Ram Gopal Varma. The story has been written by Farhad and Sajid and stars Mohit Ahlawat as Shiva, Nisha Kothari as Sandhya Joshi, Ranvir Shourey, Suchitra Pillai, Shereveer Vakil, Dilip Prabhavalkar, Sajid, Zakir Hussain, Raju Mavani, Nagesh Bhonsle, Pankaj Jha, Ninad Kamat, Upendra Limaye and other character actors.

Shiva revolves around the struggle of one man to change the evil face of society. Shiva joins the police force with the intention of eradicating corruption and injustice. But on entering the police force he finds out that the very people who are given the responsibility to uphold the law, have been misusing it. He tries in vain to change the situation, but to no avail. Even his own colleagues who are cops (Zakir Hussain, Raju Mavani) turn a blind eye to the injustice and crime that goes on in front of them. However Shiva’s conscience and ideals do not allow him to turn a blind eye to all the crime and corruption around him. He decides to take matters into his own hands and single-handedly takes on the system. During his endeavors to change the face of crime, even his own brother (Ranvir) and sister-in-law (Suchitra) are upset with his attitude, during this time he encounters a young journalist who also gets onto the bad side of the goons.

Journalist Sandhya and Shiva grow close to each other and along with her and a few other buddies Shiva tackles the likes of a gangster turned politician Bappu (Upendra Limaye) and his henchmen. While tackling all these corrupt people, he himself breaks the law several times. Finally Shiva is summoned by Home Minister Shirke (Dilip Prabhavalkar) who himself is supporting the corrupt people. But the brave Shiva battles him too. Now the battle of good over evil begins.

There are too many predictable aspects to the film which have been depicted in several films before, like the corrupt home minister supporting the corrupt gangster, the corrupt cops. There is no novelty from the writing aspect; writers Farhad and Sajid have not introduced any new aspect in the film. Even the basic concept of good versus evil is stale. Ram Gopal Varma’s screenplay has too much violence and some scenes are downright gory, like when the gangsters hammer a nail into the head of a person, banging people against glass tops, cutting of an ear of a person etc. Agreed that action is the mainstay of the film, however it could have been kept to a sane minimal level. Often the film merely seems like a complete action film but one that lacks any concrete or rational plot.

Some of the fight sequences do have a good intensity, i.e. the ones that lack the gory sights. Another aspect that is interesting is the character of Bappu (Upendra Limaye) which seems to be based on the real life character of gangster turned politician Arun Gawli, his mannerisms and even his look. A few sequences with Dilip Prabhavalkar also stand out since he is doing a role that is the complete opposite of his Gandhi character in ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’, it’s interesting to see the two different sides to this extremely well-versed actor.

There is nothing much that really stands out in the film, a lifeless script, a lackluster screenplay and below the mark performances scar the film. The music of the film has been composed by Illaiyaraja and none of the songs are really note worthy, however the background score is good. In fact the songs do not flow with the narrative quite well and do not seem to fit in. Action sequences by Ram Laxman are the mainstay of the film but go overboard at times. Cinematography by Amal Neerad is average. Even the romantic track between the two leads has not been developed at all, except for the romantic songs with them.

Mohit Ahlawat as Shiva no doubt has a good screen presence, his intensity and look manages to depict the anger and violence aptly. Unfortunately though his acting and performance leaves much to be desired and he needs to work hard on his performance. Nisha Kothari looks good but she too needs to work on her performances according to her character and not merely sizzle in the song sequences. Upendra Limaye as Bappu gives a good performance as the bad guy. Dilip Prabhavalkar too delivers a hard-hitting performance which leaves an impression. Zakir Hussain is just about average in his performance. Ninad Kamat is okay in parts.

Shiva does not manage to bring anything new or refreshing to Cinema, especially at a time when ‘different films’ are the order of the day. On the whole it is an action film which has too much violence, lackluster performances by the leads and a stale concept. It may work for some of the guys who are into total hardcore action films irrelevant of the subject matter. At the box-office though the prospects for the film don’t seem too bright at all.

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