Ghost Review: This Shiva Rajkumar Movie Just Isn't Spirited Enough

MG Srinivas’ film starring the veteran Shiva Rajkumar aims to be a taut thriller, but is anything but
Shiva Rajkumar in Ghost
Shiva Rajkumar in Ghost

Director: Srini

Writers: Prasanna VM, Srini, Maasthi Upparahalli

Cast: Shiva Rajkumar, Anupam Kher, Jayaram

Duration: 127 minutes

Available in: Theatres

An hour after Ghost, I’m still wondering about the emotional core in a film of this magnitude. There’s little in terms of recall value of any sorts. The fights are too many, the massy moments pile on without respite, the twists are innumerable to keep track of, and more importantly, there’s not enough heft in the reason for the conflict in the first place.

And, the makers have managed this despite having on board a certified star like Shiva Rajkumar, who earned a brand new bunch of followers across the other Southern States just recently with his extended cameo in Jailer

To reduce the Kannada star, whose eyes and body language usually spew fire, to a role where the rest of the world is singing his praises and speaking of his bravado (but we can’t understand why he is Doddavaru), is the first misstep of Ghost

A still from Ghost
A still from Ghost

Shiva Rajkumar plays the unnamed don who enters a high-security prison on a mission. Jayaram is top cop-cum-investigation czar Chengappa who is also in the same complex to outwit the bad guys. But who are the bad guys? And if Chengappa is funny and menacing and revealing every single plan to a group of people, how on earth did he get to the position he is in? There are simply too many questions, none of which gets a satisfying reply in the screenplay.

Of course, Shiva Rajkumar looks the part, cinematographer Mahendra Simha’s frames are interesting, and composer Arjun Janya amps up the background score, but this is no taut thriller, despite the runtime not being too flabby.

The film has actors with potential — including Prashant Narayanan, who can be menacing to a fault. But, his role as Vaman never really gets the closure it needs to make the entire film work. There’s Anupam Kher too, in a blink-and-miss role, and so you don’t really identify with the character or its purpose. And, what is Archana Jois’ journalist role in all this, gushing like a fangirl when the Chief Minister calls her?

A still from Ghost
A still from Ghost

With senior actors — we have seen across industries — how it takes a young director who is a fan, but does not come with the accompanying baggage, to resurrect careers and take them to another level. Vikram in Tamil is one example. We saw vintage Kamal, reimagined, and Lokesh Kanagaraj went about telling his story even as he paid homage to the icon he has loved since childhood. I wish this film travelled down that path. Especially since Shiva Rajkumar for the most part plays someone who does not think twice before pressing the trigger. We did not need a sob-filled backstory — remember his Jailer character worked even when we knew briefly about him — we just needed some logic to know why he does what he does in Ghost. Director MG Srinivas needed to invest better in the writing and focus on the ‘show, don’t tell’ philosophy. 

The film is ripe with some one-liners that work — and are an indication for fanboys to hoot: “I’ve scared more people with my kann (eyes) than my gun” and “They call me OG” are examples. But, for a film that is in quest of justice, one wonders how fair is it for Chengappa to indulge in police excess (starving the prisoners and beating them) to get them to give him what he wants. 

At one stage, Anupam Kher’s character Rao tells Anand (a much younger-looking Shiva Rajkumar, resembling the late Puneeth. Some nice VFX work here) that this assignment/operation of his will help people think of Ghost with a positive connotation.

I really want to know how. 

Watch the Official Trailer of Ghost

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