Ajay Devgn messes up big time with his Diwali offering Shivaay which ends up being a never-ending saga of mindless violence, gory killings and long and boring chase sequences. At a marathon running time of 172 minutes, the film is not only an exercise in self-indulgence , it also tests the viewer’s patience to the limit with the shaky camerawork and sickening action scenes ensuring that every viewer leaves the cinema hall with a throbbing headache…
Ajay Devgn aka Shivaay lives in the Himalayas and apart from doing dangerous stunts and helping even the Indian Army, he also happens to be a tourist guide for mountain climbers. He develops an attraction for a Bulgarian tourist (debutante Erika Kaar) who also speaks excellent Hindi (!). A chance intimate encounter with her results in an unwanted daughter who is abandoned by her mother and grows up with the father Ajay Devgn. The kid who plays the role is also a foreign child artiste. She also becomes an expert mountaineer like her father Ajay but is unfortunately mute (pray for what purpose?).
One day while rummaging through her belongings after an earthquake, she chances upon a photograph of her mother and realizes that she is not dead as told by her father. She insists on going to Bulgaria to meet her mother at least once. Now the story shifts to Bulgaria and a lady officer, debutante Sayesha Saigal, of the Indian Embassy is assigned the task of assisting them in finding the mother.
But before any progress can be made, Ajay inadvertently gets sucked into the world of child trafficking and Russian mafia. He manages to get a paedophile arrested in the same hotel that he is staying and the next day to avenge Ajay’s interference in their racket, the child gets kidnapped by the gang members and Ajay gets arrested by the Bulgarian police. The plot gets deeper as the child’s mother re-enters the scene and wants her daughter back. There is also a hacker Vir Das who helps to track the villains before the child is sent away permanently to Romania.
For a film advertised as a beautiful saga of a father-daughter bond which will be lapped up by the family audience, there were hardly any scenes where the bonding is shown. On the other hand the film’s grim plot of child trafficking takes us into the murky streets of Bulgaria when Ajay becomes a one-man army and goes on a bone-battering spree against a bunch of weird foreigners playing the bad guys.
Even though action has always been his forte, he loses the grip completely by over-stretching every scene till it turns into sheer boredom. A film with action as the fulcrum should have at least had a charismatic villain lending an engaging touch to the drama but alas! here the faceless villains (all foreign actors) wearing masks only add creepiness to the already gross narrative.
Being the writer as well as director of the film, Ajay Devgn has taken the liberty of having himself in almost every frame of the film as a result of which there no scope for the development of any other character thus making the story very predictable and one-dimensional. Taking a leaf from his director-friend Rohit Shetty, Ajay get hundreds of cars blown up but as he lacks the chutzpah of the latter to knit it into a fun entertainer the result is sheer baloney.
To add to the nonsense further, there are two new heroines, Sayesha Saigal and Erika Kaar, both much younger than him. While the former is the grandniece of Saira Banu, the latter incidentally is a Polish actress with whom Ajay has done kissing scenes also!!! Coming from an actor who has always refrained from such mush for 25 years, it does seem strange and does not suit his personality at all.
The cinematography is substandard and both the Himalayas and the Bulgarian snow-peaks have been captured without any excitement. Music is plain bad and the ‘shlokas’ appearing every now and then only add to the chaos. Towards the end the fight with the main villain goes on senselessly and the killing with the ‘trishul-shaped’ ice was quite ridiculous!
Wielding the directorial baton is not every man’s cup of tea. Ajay Devgn is a brilliant actor and one of my big favourites. It was sad to see that he had put all his effort into production and direction instead of concentrating only on his acting skills which seems to have taken a complete back-seat here. One wonders what made him plan this film as a Diwali release when families get together and look forward to entertaining films which can be watched together…