Starring: Upendra, Ragini Dwivedi, Saloni Aswani
Directed by: Srinivasa Raju
Shivam is Srinivas Raju’s second outing after Dandupalya and unlike the edgy thriller, falls into a complete masala category. The hero-villain cat and mouse chase, strong dialogues, Upendra’s dramatic avatars, item songs and graphic violence form the essence of the film. Basavanna (Upendra) belongs to a conservative joint family and often travels abroad on undisclosed work. His father Parameshwar Bhat (Srinivas Murthy) follows the age-old family tradition and serves as the archaka (priest) of a temple. Basavanna has a childhood sweetheart Bhavani (Saloni Aswani) and since they have grown up together, their families have no objection to their relationship. Everything seems to be going well till Parameshwar calls on his eldest son Shivu (Gowrish Hakki) to become his successor. However, Shivu, a software engineer rejects his father’s proposal. Shocked by his son’s refusal, Parameshwar collapses and is found dead the next morning. Now the responsibility falls on the younger son, Basavanna, to take charge of the temple. The drama unfolds with his dilemma over continuing his own secret job or keeping alive the family’s tradition. The rest of the story is stitched around the nature of Basavanna’s actual job and how he handles this dilemma.
Unfortunately, the religious questions and debates that the story generates are diluted with the stress on extended action sequences.
There are high octane chases and glorious gun battles, where the hero continuously destroys people as he dramatically marches towards the climatic confrontation with the main antagonist (Ravi Shankar) and this keeps the viewers on tenterhooks till the end.
It feels like Srinivas Raju has blindly followed a hackneyed formula while making the film. Thankfully, the screenplay saves the film somewhat as events unfold logically.
Shivam’s strengths mostly lie in the second half. The temple episodes are well shot and the intro and the climax are well explained. The overall subject harks back to Upendra’s previous films and one realises that he has done it all. The versatile actor who has maximum screen time has shown striking variation in his two very different avatars. Upendra as the big commercial hero flexes his muscles and delivers his dialogues with all the force of his star power.
Ravi Shankar who plays the villain is just wasted. Ragini Dwivedi is competent in her role which comes with a twist but is under utilised. Saloni is good as Upendra’s love interest. The presence of acclaimed actors like Makrand Deshpande, Geetha, Bhavya, Shivaram go unnoticed. Bullet Prakash’s comic turn is in bad taste.
With too many songs by Mani Sharma, the music is just average and so is Venkatesh Prasad’s cinematography. A special mention should be made of the special effects behind Upendra’s archaka look. The production values are rich and extraordinary though not required for the subject at hand.
Watch it only for Upendra’s power-packed performance.