Shivaay suffers from the same affliction that has downed many a Bollywood film. In trying to appeal to tastes of all palates, we end up serving a dish that is akin to a Thali meal – a little bit of everything. While it may work in case of food, it certainly doesn’t work for films.
Shivaay starts promisingly enough introducing to viewers the titular character (Ajay Devgan) and his Bulgarian love interest Olga (Erika Kaar). After a brief romance, Olga leaves their baby with Shivaay and moves on with her plans in life. All is well in their world till daughter Gaura (Abigail Eames) finds out the truth about her missing mother. The father–daughter duo then head to Bulgaria to find Olga.
In Bulgaria, Shivaay gets in the crosshairs of a gang of child traffickers and his daughter is kidnapped. So far the pace of the film is brisk and is fairly entertaining. Unfortunately, the second half slides into familiar territory of Dhai Kilo Ka Haath routine popularized by Sunny Deol almost two decades back. From here on, it’s unrelenting fights and chases. To assist our hero, there is an Indian Embassy staffer Anu (Sayesha Saigal) and her boyfriend (Vir Das) helping Shivaay at the cost of breaching the country’s laws.
After a long winded confrontation, good wins over evil, but the film runs for another fifteen minutes while Shivaay agonizes over giving up custody of his daughter to Olga.
Ajay Devgan has directed the film as well, and the lack of command over the craft shows. He can’t decide whether he wants the film to be a drama, thriller or whodunit. It’s hard to be totally impartial when performer and director are one and the same. There are many scenes that should have been cut sharper, the camera lingers on Ajay too long. Also lack of a strong villain dilutes the hero’s fight. At one point, an academician-looking, opera listening portly old man appears to be the main villain, then his henchman and finally the main villain is revealed towards the end of the film. The villain’s character is so poorly developed that the only thing we know about him is that he is a trafficker. No screen time has been spared to delve into his dark side.
Cinematography by Aseem Bajaj is of a very high quality. Ajay has worked hard on the film. He is fit and can carry off the action scenes effortlessly. However, a good actor does not necessarily make a good director. The film begins to drag in-between. This film, in the hands of a seasoned director, could well have been a huge success. Shivaay, in its current form, is one of those films that viewers tend to forget rather quickly.
Rating : 2/5
Starring: Ajay Devgan, Sayesha Saigal, Erika Kaar, Abigail Eames, Vir Das
Director: Ajay Devgan