SIVALINGA SYNOPSIS: A cop investigating the suspicious death of a Muslim finds out that his own wife has become possessed by the young man’s ghost!
SIVALINGA REVIEW: If you have ever wondered how the love child of Chandramukhi and Kanchana will look like, Sivalinga is the answer. Even though the film is a remake of P Vasu’s own Kannada film of the same name, it feels like something that the director came up with after combining elements from the blockbusters that he and his leading man, Raghava Lawrence, have made.
From Chandramukhi, there is the secluded palatial house (with the visuals of shadows running across rooms), the heroine’s ‘possession’ (here, it is supernatural than psychological) and Vadivelu (who raises a few laughs, but let’s not call this a comeback); the film even has its own version of Laka Laka Laka (here, it’s Jula Jula Jula, which doesn’t sound as effective). From the Kanchana series, there is Lawrence and his fear of ghosts (which keeps getting referenced endlessly), the funny mother character (Urvashi in her naïve mom mode), characters screaming their lines (instead of merely speaking them) and the cheap visual effects.
But the story is basically a whodunit, revolving around a cop investigating a suspicious death and trying to determine if it was murder, though we, the audience, know it is. In fact, the film begins with this murder. Rahim (Saktivel Vasu, effective), a cook, is kicked out from the compartment of a moving train. Upon his girlfriend Sangeetha’s (Saara Deva) request, the cops agree to reopen the case — even though the court has declared it to be suicide! Enter Sivalingeshwaran (Raghava Lawrence, who is increasingly becoming a poor clone of Rajinikanth; he is even referred to as Chinna Kabali in a song!), a daring CB-CID officer, who is handed this case. But, before he can investigate, he has to get married to Sathyabama (Ritika Singh, distinctly looking uncomfortable in her first mass movie role), who smilingly marries him despite protesting to her father only in the previous scene for cutting short her studies! And when they move into a new house, she starts behaving even more strangely. Soon, Siva finds out that she has been possessed by the ghost of Rahim, which tells him that he will not leave her body unless he solves the case.
What sets Sivalinga apart from the bunch of horror comedies that we have been seeing in Tamil cinema is that even the ghost doesn’t know the identity of the killer. The idea of his pet dove helping the hero to crack the case feels novel, but it isn’t built up in an interesting manner. Similarly, the film tries to give us red herrings, but rather than give them some personalities and make us feel they could have murdered Rahim, it wastes time on unnecessary comedy and songs in its quest to be a commercial film. In fact, the actual culprit doesn’t even get a couple of scenes before the climax. But the film isn’t boring or crassy (like Lawrence’s previous film, Motta Shiva Ketta Shiva), and is passable, but isn’t that too low a bar for a veteran like P Vasu to be settling for?