Shivaraj Kumar has not tasted a big success in the recent years. Blame it on his trusted directors, who let him down big time. In fact, his much-hyped 100th movie Jogayya, which built up to a crescendo before crashing the audience's expectations, disappointed his fans. As a result, they waited with bated breathe for a massive hit from him and they were hopeful that Shiva would reinstate his super stardom. Unfortunately, Om Prakash Rao does a Prem!
Shiva is lavish and colourful. The action sequences are brilliant and songs have been well shot. More importantly, Shivaraj Kumar looks as young as ever. Is that enough for a movie to impress the audience? Wait! Story abhi bhi baaki hai. Director Om Prakash Rao, who had given blockbusters like AK 47 and Simhada Mari, has tried to do something different, thereby leaving his mix-making technique - taking inspiration from four-five movies. Maybe this might have backfired.
Baddies Panduraanga Shetty (Rangayana Raghu), Mastan (Guru Dutt) and Adikeshava (Ravi Shankar) tries to buy Rajendra (Ravi Kale), a jockey who believes in sincerity, and offers him a huge prize if he loses the race. But he rejects the bribe and pays a huge price for it, as Rajendra loses the game. Journalist David (Suchindra Prasad), who is a close friend of Rajendra, reveals why his horse did not win and wants to send the trio to jail by publishing it in his newspaper. Unfortunately, he and his family are killed by them and his daughter become an orphan.
In the next phase, we see Julie (Ragini Dwivedi) taking revenge on them including Shiva (Shivaraj Kumar), who gets stabbed by her. Will she succeed in her mission? Who is Shiva? Answers to all these questions will form the story.
The first thirty minutes of the movie generate curiosity but fails to keep the momentum with poor screenplay. In fact, the placement of the second song distract the viewers and never sets the right mood to watch. Before the end of the first half, there is some twist and makes the audience to hope for a better second half. However, the second half is somewhat okay compared to the first half. But the director beats around the bush to wrap up the film.
Last but not least, who on earth will go to his enemy's place without any weapon just before the climax to reveal her identity? Normal, sane human beings would not try it or come along with the hero or at least arrive with some weapon for fear of getting killed. But no, our brave Ragini lands in the baddies' place to extend the climax.
The highlights of the movie are Shivaraj Kumar's performance, action sequences and some songs. Watching Shivanna's performance is a treat. He looks young and energetic and gives his best. Action sequences are excellently shot. Background score to the stunts need a pat and choreography for some tracks are also good and also there is a Mission Impossible scene - it was also copied in Hrithik Roshan's Dhoom 2. MS Ramesh's dialogues are praise worthy.
Ragini Dwivedi is okay. Her role had a lot of meat and could have done a better job in acting. Unfortunately, only her costumes and skin show will remain in the minds of the audience. Rangayana Raghu's good and rest others are passable. Technically, Gurukiran and Sathya Hegde get full marks but Deepu N Kumar has done poor job with his editing, which is one of the reason why movie is uninteresting.
Verdict: 2.5 out of 5