'Karunada Chakravarthy' Dr Shiva Rajkumar continues to charm and mesmerise fans, but director Srinivas fails with a poor vision.
At 61, Shiva Rajkumar is undoubtedly the big daddy of the Kannada film industry. His popularity soared to newer heights with an “eye-watching” performance in a cameo role in Rajinikanth’s Tamil blockbuster film Jailer (2023).
The Kannada film Ghost is his first-ever attempt at the pan-India level. It has been released in five languages. Hence, the expectations have doubled, especially after the humongous success of Jailer, which in its Kannada version alone made record collections at the box office.
With Jailer, the stage was perfectly set for Shiva Rajkumar to go beyond his traditional Kannada audience.
However, the question remains whether Ghost achieves what it went on to do. Let’s find out:
The crux revolves around an intelligent gangster who, along with his trusted gang members, takes a central prison hostage about to be handed over to a private entity for administrative purposes.
The drama intensifies after a former top CBI officer who succeeded in bidding to run the prison from the government under the privatisation of prisons and a minister, an actor and jail inmates are held hostages. Then comes the police task force chief to hunt down the OG (Original Gangster).
What follows for the next 48 hours, showcased in roughly two hours and ten minutes on the screen, is the whole saga about Ghost.
Firstly, Ghost heavily relies upon the charismatic image of Shiva Rajkumar without whom the cinematic experience of this one is next to nothing.
Meanwhile, the takeaway positive is again the star actor who single-handedly elevates the poorly-written screenplay.
As Shiva Rajkumar recently said, he chose Ghost for its newness that breaks his onscreen monotonous avatars lately. It certainly does to a great extent by turning it into a feast for his die-hard fans.
Director Srinivas has at least done one thing right — showcase the star actor impressively. He used elevation scenes of the hero to a good effect padded with the right amount of punching dialogues.
Unfortunately, the same fades away with other characters, mainly Chengappa — the police officer played by Jayaram Subramaniam. He looks vigorous! Period.
Imagine an entire prison being taken over by a bunch of gangsters with inmates including a minister, an actor, and a former top CBI official taken as hostage. What could be the seriousness of it in real life?
Well, that’s not the case in Ghost, as the entire rescue operation and taking down of the bad guys is headed by a single task force police officer. His way of dealing with the gangster and his gang is outsmarted at every stage.
Considering the cinematic liberty and even throwing the logic out of the window, the chief is seen sharing pizza and diet soft drinks in one of the scenes as they discuss the investigation.
Now, who on earth will order pizza and soft drinks under such conditions?
Ghost runs on two parallel tracks — one with Shiva Rajkumar who does his every bit to keep it from derailing and another, in the form of a botched-up screenplay and making that continuously puts the experience off track.
Fortunately, the aura of Shiva Rajkumar is so strong that it eventually saves the whole scenario from becoming an utter disappointment.
At the outset, the whole attempt gives an impression of concentrating solely on Shiva Rajkumar while neglecting the support system, which is the rest of what remains after the star actor.
The much-talked-about de-ageing scenes with Shiva Rajkumar in his younger days are nothing big but add a bit of excitement at the end.
All said and done, Ghost may not live up to its expectations, but is certainly not a boring one.
It gives a good excuse to watch it at least once and needless to say, it’s a must-watch for die-hard fans of Shiva Rajkumar.
What’s more? The climax scenes with Anupam Kher and Shivanna in a younger avatar promise something to look out for in the sequel.
(Views expressed here are personal.)