Cast: Ajay Devgn, Sayesha Saigal, Erika Kaar, Abigail Eames, Vir Das
Director: Ajay Devgn
Written by: Sandeep Srivastava, Robin Bhatt
Story: Ajay Devgn
Music: Mithoon, Jasleen Royal (Raatein)
Cinematography: Aseem Bajaj
Editing: Dharmendra Sharma
Technical Aspects: 3.5
————–SPOILERS(more or less) AHEAD! ————–
Script & Screenplay
The Shivaay screenplay mounted on a weak and arbitrary premise. The hero falls for a Bulgarian girl Olga (Polish actress Erika Kaar). But he is in no mood to accompany her to her homeland.
But that is only one of many falls that the film suffers. The brave, upright mountaineer, on learning that his one-stand stand has impregnated the pretty damsel, makes his bizarrely unreasonable demand.The woman, on her part, asserts that she wants to live her own life and refuses to hitch herself to Shivaay for good.But why did Olga let Shivaay even know about her pregnancy in the first place? It would have been easier had she simply left for Bulgaria and we would not have to suffer this mess.
Anyway..so he pleads with the visitor to stay on until the birth of the baby. She does, paving the way for the crisis that drives the cool climber over the edge in the second half of the choppy 172-minute film.
So, the man is left holding the baby. Eight years later, his spirited mute daughter, Gaura (British child actor Abigail Eames), is the center of his universe.Gaura is cute but she punches her father instead of cute cuddles in twisted gestures of love(talk about hereditary traits).She “accidently” discovers that her mom is in fact still alive (contrary to what her father had her believe) and so after a lot of punches Shivaay gives in.They arrive Romania and Shivaay gets embroiled in the fight against flesh trade and child trafficking which causes a kidnap of his own daughter.
Plenty of blood is spilled. The body count is high. And there are car chases galore through the streets of Sofia and the mountain highways of Bulgaria. But the father-daughter relationship, the focal point of the film, does not rise to any great heights. It fails to evoke genuine emotion.
But that is only one of many falls that the film suffers.The lengthy scenes and the second half that endlessly drags its feet are a true test of your patience. Shivaay could have easily been a shorter film with a more gripping narrative had the editing been stricter.
As an actor you can’t really help it if your director treats every scene like it’s an extended showreel. But hold on! Ajay directs and acts in Shivaay and that perhaps is the biggest flaw of the film. There are moments when you admire his vision and be awed at the scale he has attempted to make things work
But a man can only do that much, and things go bad very bad..very quickly especially in the second half where we are subjected to preposterous foot chases by Ajay and his daughter as the goons (in a helicopter with a clear shot wielding AK 47s) ‘shoot’ and ‘miss’ them repeatedly as they run for cover for like miles.It’s as if Ajay has an invisible bulletproof shield all around him and not even once does he or his daughter take one single bullet.Talk of creative liberties.
Shivaay is wanted criminal and yet he can enter the police station and search the premises at will and call for random names on the basis of a random hunch and nobody gives a damn.Even GTA and CS games have more realism than this film where Shivaay would have ended up ‘busted’ or ‘wasted’ even before he could begin.
Had Ajay decided to just act and blow us away with his action and emotional moments , Shivaay would be a different experience.
Ajay Devgn fans won’t be disappointed. You have a bare-chested Ajay lying bareback on the snow capped mountains opens the film, making it clear that there will be a lot of Ajay Devgn in every frame. And it isn’t really a bad thing. For someone whose forte is action, Devgn has come a long way from making an entry standing with his two feet on moving bikes to thrusting deadly icicles in his enemies’ torso.
Abigail who plays Gaura is not only a natural but also immensely likable without being annoying.But the script does make her so as repeatedly gives bi-polar reactions to her own father but tames down with the goons.She remains an underused powerhouse of talent.
Erika Kaar plays Olga and should have rather spoken in English instead of awkward Hindi that we are subjected to(still more fluent than Katrina on any day).
Sayeesha plays a..well who cares.She plays the third vertex of an uneasy love triangle.Her role is too small and she barely gets noticed.
Vir Das plays the stereotypical ‘ethical’ hacker who is used conveniently to suit the proceedings of the film.He sleepwalks his role.
None of the characters develop into rounded, believable people. Their motivations are hazy, their actions arbitrary.
Dialogues & Music
The dialogues might sound swaggy but are funny.
Olga: Why Shivaay? Why Shiva with a ‘Y’ ?
Shivaay: Why not?
End of discussion.So punny. Clearly, not much thought went into it.
Bolo Har Har(awesome beats) has been overused as a background score. Darkhast makes up for a pleasant hear.Rest songs are redundant and a song feat. Sayeesha even scales the heights of surrealism with what it is trying to convey.Totally unnecessary.
Action, VFX & other Technical Aspects
Well the action of the film is very good and brilliantly executed but some scenes stretch too long to leave a lasting impact.Some action is unnecessary with no premise whatsoever.Major liberties come into play with Shivaay conveniently managing to get hold of mountaineering gear on multiple occasions so that he perform a death-defying stunt unlike better action films(Mission Impossible) which make smart use of ordinary objects to pull off extraordinary feats.
The cinematography is one of the best things about the film. Bulgaria looks beautiful yet eerie through Aseem Bajaj’s lens.
The VFX is done well too and looks less tacky than it seemed in the trailer.
Yet I noticed (or I did not) couple of scenes which looked fantastic in the trailer but were chopped out of the film for reasons better known to the producers.