Sivalinga: Long remake with masala entertainment
Cast : Raghava Lawrence, Sakthivel Vasu, Ritika Singh
Director : P.Vasu
An investigative horror-comedy, the film’s about the murder of a Muslim youth and the exposing of the culprit. Shiva (Raghava Lawrence), the cop, who gets assigned to the case realises that there is more to the killing than meets the eye, and that if he were to not solve the case quickly, the life of his close ones would be in jeopardy. This remake of the eponymous Kannada film is made by the same director, P. Vasu. Unabashedly commercial, suspension of disbelief is crucial if you are to enjoy this film.
The opening scene sets the tone for the events to follow. It shows Rahim (Sakthi) getting pushed from a moving train to his death. The case gets closed as a suicide, but is reopened when Rahim’s lover, Sangeeta (Sara), suspects foul play. Newly married, Shiva sets out to Vellore to the scene of the crime with his wife in tow (Ritika). The usual trapping one associates with ghost-thrillers is here too. The bungalow they stay in is in a remote area with a graveyard next to it. There are the eerie sounds and ghostly apparitions. Later, you are shown the ghost walking in and out of humans too. A restless pigeon which was Rahim’s pet also plays a crucial part in the happenings to follow.
Lawrence is his usual energetic self. Kannada actor Shivrajkumar’s spontaneous and subtle take on the cop in the original had lent it seriousness and conviction. But here, Lawrence seems to have walked in straight from the sets of a film like Kanchana or Motta Shiva. Ritika, in the scenes where she is possessed, makes a valiant effort to fit in. Rahim is probably the best role of Sakthi’s career, and he has played it with panache. Vadivelu’s character is integrated into the plot. When given his space, he generates some fun moments. Too many songs mar the second half. There is an Agatha Christie-inspired scenario, as the various suspects get lined up for the final face-off. The sheer sound and fury of the happenings in the closing scene manages to keep your attention glued. The story of a ghost who is clueless about the identity of his killers is an intriguing theme. But at about 156 minutes of running time, Sivalinga feels too long.