Movie Review: Shivaay

Shivaay: Too much ado about nothing

Ajay Devgn always had a penchant for extravagance; remember “Raju Chacha” or even his first directorial venture “U Me Aur Hum”, “Shivaay” is ten steps ahead as far as the mounting of the movie and extravagant production value is concerned…

“Shivaay” traces the journey of a Himalayan mountaineer Shivaay (Ajay Devgn) who runs a business of taking shivaay-movie-reviewtourists for trekking on the Himalayas. In one such trekking expedition he meets Olga (Erika Kaar) a Bulgarian national who loves India. They fall in love and Olga becomes pregnant, but Olga does want to stay in India and has plans in Bulgaria, so she leaves the kid with Shivaay and returns to Bulgaria. Shivaay takes care of his daughter Gaura (Abigail Eames), but things change for them when Gaura expresses her desire to meet her mother. So Shivaay and Gaura go to Bulgaria in search of Olga, whether they are able to find Olga and what happens to them in Bulgaria is what the movie is all about…

Written by Sandeep Srivastava & Robin Bhatt, the movie lacks newness and the story waivers from being a father daughter movie to human trafficking movie and the writing does not justify any of the track. The major issue of the movie is that every sequence just goes on and on as if the writer did not know when to cut the scene. The first half drags incessantly and you lose interest half way through the movie. The second half is heavily inspired by Leeam Neeson’s “Taken” and that to half baked. Another issue is that all the characters look too plastic to be true, and there is absolutely no chemistry amongst the characters, whether it is Shivaay Olga Love Story or the father daughter relationship, it is completely devoid of emotions. The emotional quotient is not present throughout the movie, which is the biggest drawback and in the bargain the audience are disconnected throughout the movie. The run time of 172 minutes is the biggest hindrance that to for a movie that is so mediocre, the writing is absolutely below average…

The same can be said about the dialogues which are very ordinary and old fashioned and adds up to the boredom…

The performances also do not help the movie, starting with Ajay Devgn who plays the titular role, is too banal and early 90’s like. It seems Ajay just sleep walks through his role maybe due to his additional responsibility of direction as well. Another problem Ajay looks too old for the role especially when he is paired with girls half his age. Sayesha Saigal who plays Anushka the official at Indian Embassy, is the only bright spot, her performance in her debut role shows spark and confidence; she is definitely a actor to watch out for. The polish actor Erika Kaar who plays Olga, is another foreign actress trying to make it big in Bollywood after Katrina Kaif made it big, but she is hardly impressive, I may say she was average in the movie, can’t blame her solely as the writing was also at fault. The child artist from Britain Abigail Eames who plays Gaura tries hard to portray the character and she is impressive in bits and pieces but not completely, well blame it on below average writing. Girish Karnard as Anushka’s handicapped father is wasted in a badly written character which makes him look more comic than serious. Vir Das as the geeky hacker Wahab, is irritating mouthing chaste Urdu dialogues, you can make out that he is visibly uncomfortable doing so, and his performance is below average, Vir Das needs to understand that Stand up comedy and acting in a movie are two different ball  games. Saurabh Shukla as the Indian Diplomat who is a Bihari looks more like a caricature. Rest of the international actors look completely lost and they overdo in expressions… Overall all the performances including Ajay Devgn’s are below average…

It is the technical aspect which scores high, whether it is Aseem Bajaj’s cinematography which is brilliant in capturing the snow capped mountains of Bulgaria or the beautiful locations of Musoorie all are spot on. The action sequences are to die for especially the mountain climbing sequences, hence kudos to the action department comprising of Peter Fernandes & Junaid Sheikh, but some sequences are stretched unnecessarily like the car chase sequence or some of the mountain climbing sequences which look super humanly.

The VFX is just too good and is at par with Hollywood and is the highlight of the movie. It is the editing department which falters and impacts the movie, the editing by Dharmendra Sharma could have been much more crisp, more so when the movie was supposed to be an thriller cum action flick…

Music by Mithoon is another highlight, the title song sung by Sukhwindara Singh, Mohit Chauhan  & Badshah haunts you even when the movie is over, it has such an impact, the love duet “Darkhast” sung by Arijit Singh & Sunidhi Chauhan is melodious, the lullaby “Raatein” sung by Jasleen Royal is soothing to the ears, in a nutshell all the tracks are melodious…

Ajay Devgn showed his emotional side with his first directorial venture “U Me Aur Hum”, in “Shivaay” Ajay emphasizes more on the technical aspect than on the script which falls flat and the movie lacks emotional quotient completely. Definitely NOT Ajay Devgn’s best…but I still have faith in him as a director; he just needs a fantastic script to show his mettle as a director….

“Shivaay” does not live up to its expectations due to its average writing and non-existent Emotional Quotient… I will go with Two & Half Stars….

Movie Rating: (2.5 / 5)

Movie Review: Drishyam

Drishyam: A vision which creates an impact

Drishyam posterRemakes in Bollywood have been in vogue since the Black & White era. Some remakes have been apt, some better than the original and some a complete waste which makes you wonder why was the remake made in the first place.

“Drishyam” , a remake of the Mohanlal starrer Malayalam film by the same name does not fit in any of the above categories, to some extent it does justice to the original but not entirely. Nevertheless it does create an impact. Based on the original story by Jeethu Joseph and adapted by Upendra Sidhaye, it narrates the story of a Vijay Salgoankar (Ajay Devgan) an orphan and class 4th fail, who is happy and content with his family comprising of his wife Nandini (Shriya Saran) and two daughters living in a small village in Goa. Fortunes turn when the son of IG Meera Deshmukh (Tabu) goes missing and Vijay and his family becomes the prime suspect. How the family deals with the trials and tribulations is what the movie is all about…

Jeethu Joseph’s story is a sure shot winner and makes for a tight thriller.

Upendra Sidhaye tries to adapt the original in a Bollywood mould which somewhere steals the soul of the original. The first half is wasted in establishing the characters and songs, the movie actually picks up pre interval when the mishap happens making the post interval extremely interesting and edge of the seat. The first half is dedicated to show the loving, happy family, Upendra’s writing lacks a bit in the emotional quotient and does not create any impact. But it is the second half when the screenplay redeems itself and makes you sit up and makes it worth a watch concluding it with a crackling climax. Rather the second half looks like a completely different movie with a much tighter screenplay and at the end creating an impact, but it could have been better with some more twist and if the run time would have been 15 minutes shorter.

The dialogues also written by Upendra are impactful in some sequences and falls flat in some. The dialogues could have been written better with some emphasis on the emotional quotient.

What really makes “Drishyam” worth a watch are its performances. Ajay Devgn as Vijay Salgaonkar, the middle class simpleton who falls in an extraordinary situation, gives a crackling performance and does justice to the character and yet again shows his range as an actor. Tabu as IG Meera Deshmukh, a tough cop and at the same time a loving mother, gives us another award winning performance, proving yet again that is an actress par excellence. Right from her entry she lives Meera Deshmukh’s character to the T, the movie actually picks up after her character is introduced. Shriya Saran as Vijay’s wife Nandini, actually looks a bit miscast and her performance lacks the depth which makes the character fall flat, her performance is the weakest as compared to the rest of the cast. Ishita Dutta who plays Vijay’s elder daughter Anju, does a commendable job in her debut. Pitted against the stalwarts like Ajay & Tabu, Ishita successfully creates an impact which is commendable. Rajat Kapoor as Meera’s Husband has very little to do, but whatever he does, he does justice. Overall it is the performance by the cast which elevates the movie.

Goa has never been captured as beautifully as it has been done by Avinash Arun in this movie. He captures the virgin and serene locations of Goa beautifully, emphasizing more on the green and luscious villages. Editing by Arif Sheikh could have been a bit crisper, especially the first half and being a thriller it the cut needed to be sharper, in a nutshell Arif does a satisfactory job.

The combination of Vishal Bharadwaj and Gulzar is a cracker, and you expect melodies which stay with you, but unfortunately it fails miserably in this movie, and creates no impact. Rather when the movie gets over you do not even remember a single tune.

Nishikant Kamat, who has been quite successful in making commercial movies in realistic moulds somehow slips a bit with “Drishyam” , it is Jeethu Joseph’s original story and the performances which saves the day for Nishikant. Being a thriller it could have been a bit tighter with some more twists. But overall at the end of the day it does create an impact which is important, but definitely this is not Nishikant’s best work.

The concept, the story and the performances, strictly in that order is what makes “Drishyam”, a must watch. I will go with Three stars.

Movie Rating: (3 / 5)