Meenakshi (Anushka Shetty) is an ophthalmologist who dreams of building a hospital for the poor, works in New Delhi, has a fine sense of art, music and books but doesn’t figure out that her husband holds an important position in the forces. She assumes he is an ‘S.I’. By the time she learns that he is an intelligence officer with RAW, you pity Shivakumar (Vikram) who patiently waits for love to blossom in their arranged marriage. And this is only one of the laughable aspects of Shiva Thaandavam’s script. The film is an example of what can happen when a fine technical team and a talented bunch of actors give their best to a film only to be letdown by a shoddy script.
Shiva Thaandavam opens on January 1, 2011 when a series of bomb blasts shake up London and thereafter, a visually challenged Kenny (Vikram) murders four people, leaving the London police force clueless. The cab driver (Santhanam) who happens to drive Vikram to the ill-fated destinations is nabbed. A photograph of Kenny that Santhanam spots in a newspaper help to get things moving and cop Veerakathi (Nasser) is on Kenny’s trail. Kenny plays the piano at a church in Kent and leads a quiet life, doesn’t hurt an ant and is literally a man in the crowd. The blind school where Kenny was trained leads to further clues.
If you’ve grown up on a staple of mainstream Indian cinema, you don’t need to exercise your grey cells to figure out that Kenny has a past and is out to avenge a personal loss. You know a friend and confidant might turn foe, you know something will shatter the growing love between a couple and you also know that cop heroes in Indian films will set out to nab terror suspects on their own instead of taking their international counterparts into confidence.
To be fair, Shiva Thaandavam has some genuine moments — visually impaired inmates at the school run by Daniel Kish learning echo-location technique, the devious trap laid out to trap Shivakumar and the farcical social work carried out by Miss England aspirant Sarah Vinayakam (Amy Jackson) for instance. But the loopholes outnumber such memorable elements. It’s absurd that the cop Veerakathi, who normally plays games on his iPad while recording his interrogations, will continue to fiddle with his iPad outside a factory fully aware that the suspect killer is in the premises, hunting down a target.
Vikram is earnest and a treat to watch. He carries the weight of Shiva Thaandavam on his shoulders. Anushka is a picture of poise. Jagapati Babu does justice to the role assigned to him. Amy Jackson and Lakshmi Rai have little to do.
Nirav Shah’s camera employs terrific ‘depth of control’ to take our focus to what matters on the screen while delicately blurring the rest. G.V. Prakash’s music is soothing to the ear. But all this doesn’t make Shiva Thaandavam engaging. Espionage, crime, romance and revenge are ingredients that would have made for a heady cocktail but this one is slow paced and tests your patience.
Cast: Vikram, Anushka Shetty, Nasser, Jagapati Babu and Amy Jackson
Direction: A.L. Vijay
Music: G.V. Prakash
Plot: A blind man on a mission
Bottomline: A slow, illogical dance of fury. A fine set of actors and technical team let down by the script.