Shiva (Kannada)

Cast: Shivarajkumar, Ragini Dwivedi, Ravi Kale, Suchendra Prasad, Rangayana Raghu, Ravishankar, Gurudutt

Director: Om Prakash Rao

The catch line this Shivarajkumar starrer is, “If Shiva opens both his eyes, he pleases ‘class’, opening third eye will charm ‘mass’; in case he is forced to open all the three together, it results in ‘khallas’ (elimination).”

Well, Shiva lives up to the catch line and pleases both the classes and masses. It appears directors have started revisiting old staples such as separated brothers (Godfather) and children avenging their parents’ murder. Shiva falls in the second category though Om Prakash Rao tries to infuse life into the wafer thin storyline, through action, romance, melodrama and comedy. Shiva, released a year after Jogaiah, is an out-and-out crowd-pleaser, what with it being produced by Shivanna fan K.P. Srikantha.

Punchy dialogues, non-stop action, romance in beautiful foreign locales and emotion in the right places keep it going. Some sequences are borrowed from Hollywood to give it gloss. The director depends heavily on action sequences and the good looks of the female lead to keep the pot boiling. Refreshingly, he focuses on shenanigans in horseracing instead of underworld minions brandishing choppers. Jockey Rajendra (Ravi Kale), who refuses an offer from bookies Mastan (Gurudutt), Adikeshavulu (Ravishankar) and Panduranga Shetty (Rangayana Raghu) to throw the race, pays a heavy price for his honesty.

His friend journalist David (Suchendra Prasad), who tries to expose bookies, meets a sticky end. Their children Shiva (Shivarajkumar) and Julie (Ragini Dwivedi) avenge death of their parents by eliminating all the three villains after fighting many goons, zooming on motorbikes and so on.

The first half’s entertaining tenor is dampened by the lachrymose second half. Comic relief is supplied by the Malavalli gang (a combination of Shobhraj and Bullet Prakash). Gurukiran’s music has catchy numbers such as “Shille Hodi”, “Oosaravalli”, “Nee Odi Bandaga”, and “Kollegaladalli”. Satya Hegde’s cinematography is eye-catching.