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Upside and flipside of <i>Shiva</i>

 
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Still from ShivaCast: Mohit Ahlawat, Nisha Kothari

Story
Fifteen years ago the one-man-army theme used to be much in vogue. By recreating the 'expected' experience from the past Shiva comes up with a reasonably unexpected thrill of what used to be the expected not so long ago.

Upside

This police story has plenty of force, most of it generated from the way Varma cuts the old-as-the-hills material into a newly- rejuvenated shape.

The editing (Nipun Gupta and Amit Parmar) is first...rather, fist-rate. Sound of slapping cheeks and cracking bones rent the soundtrack creating a reverberating sensation of retaliatory violence meant to combat malignant violence.

The action is swiftly and smoothly vindictive. The one-man-show-off idea gets its definition mainly from the fist.

Interestingly you seldom see Shiva combating evil with the gun. Bare hands are used to slap his adversaries to a groveling mass of terror...that's the way it works.

The performers include Ramu's usual suspects like Zakir Husain (Corrupt Cop) and Shereveer Vakil (Ruthless Goon). Dilip Prabhavalkar lately a hit as Gandhiji in Lage Raho Munnabhai will shock you as a corrupt Home Minister. Actors often do that. They change characters.

Flipside
The quieter moments shared with the journalist-girlfriend Sandhya (Nisha Kothari, lips full of quivering indignation) are relatively less effective.

Each time the courtship happens you wait with an indulgent smile to let the high-octane action begin.

The encounters with the main Arun Gawli-inspired gangster-turned-politician villain Bappu (Upendra Limaye) are all done-to-bludgeoning death, re revivified by Varma's excellent command over the language of seething implosive rage (seen earlier to great advantage in his best works Satya, Company and Sarkar).

Mohit Ahlawat speaks little, fights frequently. His forte is reticent retribution. The real heroes are the action directors (twin brothers Ram Lakshman who also play climactic parts in the film). The stunts are purely 1980s, with loads of new-millennium attitude thrown in.

Jha's judgment
The real shocker is the old-fashioned narrative. You've seen the cop doing his deadly justice-act to death. That doesn't stop Ram Gopal Varma for socking it in our face one more time. With velocity! 

Topics: mohit ahlawat, nisha kothari, shiva, varma, nipun gupta, amit parmar, ramu, zakir husain, Shereveer Vakil, dilip prabhavalkar, gandhiji, lage raho munnabhai, arun gawli, upendra limaye, satya, sarkar, ram lakshman, ram gopal varma, bollywood, shiva review, review, movie review, shiva release
Best of 2014

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