Shivalinga - Movie Review

Saturday, April 15, 2017 - 10:30
Shivalinga (2017)
Cast & Crew: 

Film: Shivalinga
Cast: Raghava Lawrence, Ritika Singh and others
Producer: Ramesh Pillai
Directed by: P Vasu
Release Date: April 14

'Shivalinga' movie has been released today.  Let's find to know whether it's worth watching or can be given a miss…

What's the Story?

Shivalinga (Lawrence Raghava) is a CBCID officer whose job he keeps it as a secret from the entire world, except from the funny and doting mom (Kovai Sarala's job is here done by Urvashi). Known to crack mysteries with his brain and guts, Shivalinga is one of the most masculine intelligent officers in the Department.

He is married off by the mom to the beautiful Sathya (Ritika Singh of 'Guru' fame), both of whom move to a new place because the husband is assigned the task of cracking the murder mystery of Raheem (Shakti), one Sangeetha's lover.  

Shivalinga is too scared of horror flicks, much less ghosts, but he hides the fear when the new building the couple are staying in is in the neighbourhood of a large graveyard. Right from the start, the wife starts hearing weird sounds and behaves like a possessed creature, giving shivers to the hubby.  

It's Raheem's spirit which is after her. What does the spirit expect from Shivalinga and his wife? Why is Raheem after this couple? Will Shivalinga be able to race against time and crack the case to the spirit's satisfaction? That's the crux of the story. 

What Works!

The combination of P Vasu and Lawrence ensures that there is a healthy hangover of 'Chandramukhi' and 'Kanchana'. If the investigator's discussions with an occult practitioner (played by Pradeep Rawat as a Muslim fakir) reminds one of the element of Rajinikanth's discussions with the 'mantrikudu', the mother-son comedy follows the template seen in 'Kanchana'.  

The drama doesn't lose intensity even though Urvashi (as a proud host of food shows on TV) and Vadivelu (as a servant) regularly offer doses of comedy. Since the murdered subject is a Muslim, the director uses the element to create a sub-text of Islamic culture quite well. Ritika Singh's weird behaviour (read her liking for colour green, the colour of Muslims), etc is narrated well.

The bond between the husband and his wife comes with emotions. It comes to the fore more in the climax. The flashback is narrated in installments and not at once.  And this is done well.

What Doesn't Work!

After a point, you realize that the story line is weak. As a result, the kind of interest that the first half holds doesn't sustain later. Unlike in 'Kanchana', which sticks to the transgender character's world till the end, this film drifts away after introducing the element of love affair between a Muslim boy and a Hindu girl.

While the investigation process as a whole is just OK, it's ridiculous that the hero didn't even probe into CCTV footage for so many days to get the first clues! The songs are loud and the BGM more loud! Clearly, SS Thaman was asked to get it attuned to the tastes of B, C centre Tamil audiences.  

The CG works may get mixed response from the audience. Sarvesh Murari's cinematography is good.  

Performance Score

Lawrence is convincing in the role of a smart investigator and troubled husband. Although he imitates Rajinikanth here and there and even pays him tribute for no relevant reason (there is a song featuring a huge billboard of the Superstar immediately after a scene where Lawrence clamps down on black money hoarders as if Rajini has got anything to do with fighting black money in real life).  His comic timing is missing in this film, though. But his dances are, needless to say, wow.

Ritika Singh pulls off the horror scenes with confidence. However, heroine imitating masculine body language while she is possessed has become quite routine. Shakti, Urvashi, Vadivelu and others do a fine job. 

Final Verdict

'Shivalinga' is a formulaic horror-crime thriller. An engaging first half, a decent climax, mild comedy, intense performances and an undercurrent of 'Chandramukhi' and 'Kanchana' marriage make it a watchable fare. On the flip side, the story line is weak and some liberties are taken in showing the progress of murder investigation.

Reviewed by: 
Viswanath V