Banner: Ajay Devgn FFilms, Pen India, NH Studioz
Producers: Ajay Devgn, Dhaval, Jayantilal Gada, Shreyans Hirawat
Director: Ajay Devgn
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Abigail Eames, Sayyeshaa, Erika Kaar, Vir Das, Girish Karnad, Saurabh Shukla, Bijou Thaangjam, Markus Ertelt
Writers: Sandeep Srivastava, Robin Bhatt
First things first, kudos to Ajay Devgn, the director of this film, for having the courage to envision a narrative so huge and executing it with panache. Kudos to Ajay Devgn, the producer, for backing a film that requires a larger-than-life canvas, and finally kudos to Ajay Devgn, the actor, for delivering a flawless performance, making Shivaay a festive treat. This time, we have a Devgn film that is not only high on content but also has the emotional value to lift the narration.
The film exceeds expectations, and this is no mean achievement. Sweeping in its scale, breathtaking in its visuals and eye-popping in its sheer audacity of vision, Shivaay is a sheer pleasure to watch. The visual and sound palette of the film are mind-blowing. And if the look of the film is impressive, the sound and background score hook you from the very first frame.
The Story: Shivaay (Ajay Devgn) is a mountaineer who conducts treks in the Himalayas. On one of his tours, he meets Olga (Erika Kaar), who hails from Bulgaria. After he saves her life in a deadly avalanche, they fall in love. Just before leaving for home, Olga finds out that she is pregnant but she is not ready to be a mother. On the other hand, Shivaay wants her to have his baby. She agrees to deliver the child but refuses to raise it with him and leaves for Bulgaria immediately after the baby is born.
Nine years later, Shivaay is happily living with his daughter Gaura (Abigail Eames). After learning that her mother is alive, Gaura forces Shivaay to take her to Bulgaria to meet Olga. Shivaay and Gaura reach the Indian Embassy in Bulgaria to look for Olga. They run into Anushka (Sayyesha) there, who, on the orders of her boss (Saurabh Shukla), will move mountains to find Olga. However, even before Gaura can meet her mother, she is kidnapped by a child trafficking gang and thus begins Shivaay’s hunt for the culprits and search for his daughter.
Ajay Devgn, who has donned the director’s cap after eight years, is a signature presence across the film. Shivaay is proof that Devgn is not only a spectacular actor but a brilliant technician as well. Directorially, he impresses with his unique and larger-than-life canvas. He has done his homework and, from the foundation of his story to the character sketch of his actors, he executes each layer of the screenplay flawlessly. Devgn’s vision is extraordinary and his ability to convey it on the silver screen is spectacular.
Among the scenes that stand out is the one when Shivaay saves Olga from the avalanche; Shivaay and Gaura’s relationship and their interactions; an all the chase sequences. A special mention of the action team for delivering to such high standards. Cinematography by Aseem Bajaj is marvelous and he captures the locations exceptionally well. His camerawork is one of the main USPs of the film.
The sets and the locations are apt and support the narrative. Visually, the film is incredible and supports the narration. Editing by Dharmendra Sharma is spot on. Costumes are apt. The background score and songs are another asset and they blend with the narrative beautifully. Music works with the story and is beautifully blended into the film. With a runtime of 173 minutes, the film has a firm, well-established first half and a well-built second half, although the length of the second half should have been shortened.
Performance-wise, Devgn portrays his character with complete credibility. He is one actor who is aware of his skill and uses it to own the character he plays. Abigail Eames’s conviction and confidence reflect in her portrayal of the character. She holds her ground from the beginning to end. Sayyeshaa plays her part endearingly and is excellent. Erika Kaar stays true to her character and delivers her part with élan. Vir Das plays his part well. Girish Karnad is notable. Saurabh Shukla excels in his role. Bijou Thaangjam is good. Markus Ertelt is first-rate. The rest of the cast supports well.
Verdict: Super hit.