Shivaay: Monstrous ego trip

Shivaay, is Ajay Devgn’s latest home production in which he wields the baton , plays the tune and ups the risk on the financier’s contributions. His divine obsession with Shaivism is even more markedly pronounced here.

Shivaay(Ajay Devgn) the iconoclastic hero of the film is modeled on some of the core attributes of Shiva, the destroyer, who is the fiercest amongst the triumvirate force that include Brahma and Vishnu. Shivaay is primal, a loner living an almost ascetic life in the mountains until his Parvati a.k.a Olga’s(Erika Kaar) flirtatious ways lure him into a truncated romance- dangling from a rope in suspended animation.

She goes back to where she came from-Bulgaria, but not before leaving behind a daughter, Gora(Abigail Eames) who becomes the apple of her father’s eye. From loner to lover and now fiercest protector, Shivaay , traverses from India to Bulgaria in his effort to reconcile his 8 year old offspring to her mother and along the way gets his chillum induced high in the child trafficking intrigue that serenades him there.

The CGI favoring adrenaline junkie has no reason to complain because the trip to a never-before-seen land comes with all the turbulence and risks that he thrives on. To add to that he gets ample opportunity to showcase his emotions( and how?) and play-up his brand augmenting action-romance specs.

This is a kind of pandering to the self  that is quite unique in the Bollywood hemisphere. Several sequences are put on pause, held back as a pronouncement of the actor’s super heroic efforts with special emphasis on the emotions spilling forth from his eyes. So when there’s a tectonic shift in the underground plates, or an avalanche is just at hand our hero looks into the camera, lingering for a few seconds too long before getting into rescue mode.

When the villain has  the hero cornered, struggling to shift him off, the camera holds still waiting for a henchman to add to the weight before the hero can make his move for greater glory. There’s also that scene where the unarmed hero , unbalanced by the weight of  the pulverizing hits he has taken from gun wielding foreigners, suddenly picks up a sharp icicle and spears it into the heart of the villain. Such is the magic in the moment that when Shivaay picks up the icicle it’s merely a long sharp sliver but when the deed is done you see it as a Trishul.

Added to that outlay is an opening credit sequence that does no one but the star’s ego proud. The allusion therein, to his helping the Indian Army in keeping incursions at bay, is but a mere palliative to his avowed bleeding heart desh bhakti. One wonders though, how he shot his home production abroad, replete with foreign technicians and actors involved,  while all the while proclaiming his allegiance to the mother country.

 Actions of course speak louder than words and in this film the post interval half has plenty of it. The action staples spill out in a continuous flow- showcasing the hero as invincible and indestructible. From jumping out of a police van(handcuffed to a pipe on the roof )to going into a free fall from the side of a gigantic dam and suddenly showing up hanging on to an iron rod just above the sluice valve duct, to getting shot in the leg and running fast enough to escape a flurry of bullets, to jumping from thousand feet high mountain tops and falling so cozily in snow beds at the bottom with nary an injury- he is quite the fiercest super heroic father protector we have seen yet. But it’s all so incredulously laid out that you lose interest in the opening moments itself.

The cinematography is top-notch but the music, dialogues and the sound beats that serenade it are so obviously heralding that they leave a bad taste. Ajay Devgn the director indulges Ajay Devgn the actor beyond sufferable limits. Abigail Eames is the only one who manages to evoke some sympathy from the audience. The rest are mere window dressing. So, what could have been a crisp, confident, adrenaline gushing,  high velocity entertainer ends up looking like an inflated balloon powered by the over-indulgence of a super-ego that might even translate into a voyeuristic paradise for the fast dwindling fans of this star.. or maybe not!

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