“Amidst controversies and hypes of being a 'path-breaking' movie, Shivam fails to impress. Watch it, if you're an Upendra fan.”
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Is religious revival on the ascendancy? Well, Shivam, this week’s Kannada release, has all the trappings of it. With temple history as anchor, past invasions and present incursions as pretext, terrorism and mafiaso as meat, and twin Real Star Upendra as Bondesque Schwarzenegger, and bumpkin Basavanna, leading charge, Shivam makes clarion call for protecting one’s dharma.
While, Rajkumar Hirani with PK, and Aamir Khan playing footsie, sought to take satirical jibes at the pious and piety proclivities of people, director Srinivas ‘Dandupalyafame’ Raju, in Shivam, justifiably jousts on such bigotry and deprecatory dispositions.
Though honest in his intentions, Srinivas, however, has not let his larger concerns blinker him from the film’s box office prospects. So you have songs by the dozen, virtually every 15-20 minute of the film’s 150 minute run.
Further, Upendra giving full play to his twin role as RAW man doubling up as international conman Alexander and yokel Basavanna donning religious mantle, in the company of svelte Ragini Dwivedi playing the perfect female fatale, Shivam is a peppered kitsch tailored for die-hard fans.
As to whether Srinivas is able to drive home his message, couched in the cauldron of commercial claptrap, and audiences able to pick on his subtle ploy, is a moot point.
For Srinivas’ convoluted and cacophonous script may be a jolly ride for Uppi’s fans but as a convincing cinema of substance nowhere near the deftness nor the finesse of an engaging entertainer.
Both PK and Shivam present the extreme positions that is played out with audiences as the referee. Who wins? Boxoffice is the better judge. For now though the battle has begun. Will more Shivams follow suit? Time will tell.