30 Years of Cult Classic Shiva

30 Years of Cult Classic Shiva

Whenever we talk about Indian Cinema, the first movie which will come into the list is Sholay. It is one of the greatest Indian movies of all time. Similarly, there is one movie in our Telugu movies which is

1 year ago | By Harsha Pagilla

Whenever we talk about Indian Cinema, the first movie which will come into the list is Sholay. It is one of the greatest Indian movies of all time. Similarly, there is one movie in our Telugu movies which is as a cult and classic as Sholay, that is none other than Ram Gopal Varma 1989's Action flick Shiva. The iconic cycle chain is still considered as one of the best movie scenes in Tollywood. It is popularly said that prior to the film’s release Telugu films were categorized as BC and post its release, they were categorized as AD. And if you watch the film, it is easy to understand why it was said so. Siva broke many conventions of commercial filmmaking with regards to storytelling, background music, editing, cinematography, and its other technical aspects. Today it completed 30 years and let's talk about the cinematic brilliance which occurred 30 years back.

Unorthodox Film Making:

It all started with Ram Gopal Varma narrating his unconventional screenplay to Akkineni Nagarjuna during Collector Gari Abbayi. Even though many raised doubts against RGV but from the start, Nagarjuna believed in Shiva and produced the movie under his own banner Annapoorna. The process of film making for very unique compared to movies in that era. The structure of the movie is very simple like the hero is a simple guy who tackles a powerful villain, the story seems linear if we tell it on paper. But this is where the real talent of Ram Gopal Varma comes, shady dark shots, haunting music in the background, natural performances, and no unnecessary drama. 

Shiva was the first film to use Steadicam for shooting the film. Though Steadicams had been available in India for some time, no one had used it till then. RGV defied the norm and left us in awe with the results they accomplished with the Steadicam. Shiva brought a new dimension to cinematography. The movie saw the camera angles coming from tires, beneath a vehicle and various other angles one could never imagine of. While some might term these as gimmicks, these shots added to the feel of the film. Many scenes were dimly lit to convey the sense of fear and danger lurking around. 

Realistic Characters:

Right from Shiva to Yadagiri, every character has a unique characterization and body language. The way he designed the Protagonist character is not seen in those years. It must be noted that the film does not project him as a good guy or a hero, he is just like other students who attend college. And then there is Bhavani – the iconic antagonist played by the late Raghuvaran. On the contrary, he looks ordinary and speaks sparsely. But beneath this calm-looking exterior is a man so dangerous and cruel, that he doesn't bat an eyelid before killing someone. Other characters Asha, Machiraju, Nanaji and friend characters all of them are well written and perfectly portrayed on screen.

Importance of Music in Cinema:

Background music is one of the most crucial aspects of cinema. Yet, Indian films have often overlooked and neglected their importance. Background music has the ability to make or break the crucial moments in a movie. Very few films and filmmakers in India have used background music effectively.

Ram Gopal Varma was one such individual who understood the importance of using music to create powerful moments in cinema. He strove to achieve the same with Shiva and his collaboration with the prolific veteran composer Ilaiyaraja, only helped in this regard.

Illaiyaraja has been hailed as one of the most versatile composers ever known to Indian cinema. If you pay attention to the background score of this film, it is easy to understand why. The veteran composer has the unique ability to use music sparsely but effectively to convey the required emotions. The use of arousing action theme followed by a mellow and enchanting love theme, which is used in crucial moments of the film, tells us all about the maestro and Varma’s understanding of the value of background score. It helps highlight how Shiva’s relationship with Asha (Amala) is the only positive thing in his otherwise tumultuous and turbulent college life.

Fin: Shiva will always be a textbook for all the filmmakers to try something different. Whatever the controversies surround around RGV, we always love him for giving us this iconic movie. We will be always grateful to him for that. Today this cult classic completed 30 years and as a token of gratitude here is the article.

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