Shivaay review: Overtly lengthy and self-indulgent

Shivaay review: Perhaps it would have been better had Ajay Devgn focused only on acting and deputed experts behind the camera.

Written by Sonup Sahadevan | Mumbai | Published:October 28, 2016 7:26 pm
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In the closing shot of Shivaay, debutant actress Sayyeshaa Saigal says, “I don’t know what to say. I am at a loss for words.” We too felt the same way after watching this marathon self-indulgent, over a lengthy movie that ran for a mind-boggling 172 minutes. The movie drags on and on making it a literal snoozefest after a certain point. And that is perhaps it’s biggest shortcoming.

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To be fair, Shivaay opens well with a scenic shot of snow-capped mountains as a shirtless Ajay Devgn is lying flat atop a snowy mountain. He springs into life to perform some high-octane, action-packed moves — jumping, crawling, walking and running from one peak to another while showcasing his nimble-footed mountaineering skills. The VFX looks believable and the story moves fast as his love interest Erika Kaar appears.

After a whirlwind fling, a daughter is born and Erika — who isn’t interested in starting a family with Ajay — leaves her daughter behind and disappears in Bulgaria. And just like the avalanche showcased in the film, the film starts its downslide at this very point. The dad-daughter duo flies to Bulgaria to meet Erika who had long abandoned them. And this is where another tragedy strikes that makes Ajay switch on his destructive avatar. And once that is done, the entire movie will leave you with a strong Rohit Shetty hangover.

Ajay’s strength lies in his acting. Unfortunately, the same gets lost in the midst of the mindless action, which starts playing on loop every time the bad guys appear. The stunts lack the finesse you would expect from an action-packed film and this takes away the pleasure of watching Ajay’s exact moves while tackling the villains. Talking about the villain, without letting the cat out, we have to say this was the biggest let-down of the film.

Performance wise, this is an Ajay Devgn show all the way. The actor is present is almost every other scene, leaving little scope for others to perform. Erika could have stuck to speaking English rather than the heavily accented Hindi which sounded funny. Sayyeshaa marks a decent debut and shows spark and charm while Vir Das should stick to doing stand-up comedy rather than overacting in cameo appearances.

Shivaay ultimately suffers from the malice of overdose — an overdose of action and an overdose of melodrama, both of which should have been chopped off at the editing table. As the director of the film, Ajay should have focused on keeping the story short and tightly edited. For instance, Sayyeshaa’s bathtub seems to have been added to the film to give the debutant screen-time in this Ajay Devgn show. Not to forget the underutilization of veterans like Saurabh Shukla and Girish Karnad by casting them in minuscule roles.