The film opens with a bunch of gangsters, led by Ganesh., waiting outside the (fictional) VAS college of Arts & Sciences. A college student JD (JD Chakravarthy) gestures to the goons and they proceed to savagely assault another student and his friends.
It turns out that JD is a student leader, a big-man-on-campus, who is the (unopposed) president of the Student Union at the college. He is also the lowest rung in a gang ladder that reaches through Ganesh, the local goon, to Bhavani (Raghuvaran). Bhavani uses this network to provide political (and criminal, as needed) muscle to the local politician Tilak Dhari (Paresh Rawal).
Shiva (Nagarjuna) is a new student at college. He joins a small group of friends including Prakash (Raj Zutshi) and Asha (Amala). JD is known to cause petty troubles (such as leering at the girls and insulting the professors). He falls upon Shiva in a chance encounter. When he provokes Shiva, Shiva hits back. Further, Shiva chases JD across campus in plain sight and inflicts vicious punishment. JD is shocked as nobody has previously confronted him like this for fear of his gang connections.
This incident sparks two things. JD fetches Ganesh to sort out Shiva, and, Prakash and the other students, now encouraged by Shiva's actions, implore Shiva to run for president at the next election. Shiva proposes that the more qualified, but nerdy Naresh (Jagan) run instead. Ganesh first attempts to talk Shiva out of it. But Shiva tells him off, claiming that college matters are to be kept within the campus community and that lowly gangsters from outside need not interfere.
When Ganesh attempts to use force, Shiva beats him back too. The matter comes before Bhavani. Bhavani is mildly annoyed, but he studies Shiva as a potential replacement for JD. At his behest, Naresh is assaulted and rendered unable to run. At this point, Shiva accepts the nomination and decides to run.
Meanwhile, Bhavani has other troubles. He refuses to side with a worker's union leader Krishna Rao (Ajit Vachani). Krishna Rao takes his plight to Shiva; Shiva agrees to help in return for muscle, and Krishna Reddy provides this by calling upon the workers. Around this time, Asha expresses a romantic interest in Shiva. The friendship progresses and they eventually marry.
The stage is now set. Bhavani launches a set of sniper attacks on those close to Shiva. Shiva retaliates in kind and takes out many of Bhavani's leaders. Tilak Dhari notices that Shiva is launching a fitting response to Bhavani and decides to stop supporting Bhavani. Angered, humiliated and defeated, Bhavani strikes Shiva's home.
A final fight ensues in which eventually, Shiva manages to kill Bhavani, ridding the city of one of its most terrifying anti-social elements, while personally coming to terms with the fact that his wife is killed by the Bhavani gang, in the bargain.
- Genre: Action
- Runtime: 161 minutes
Shiva is a 1990 Bollywood action film, based on student politics in a Mafia backdrop, written and directed by Ram Gopal Varma. The film is a remake of Varma's debut Telugu film, Siva (1989), which was premiered at the Kolkata International Film Festival of India, held in January 1990. The film has Nagarjuna, Amala in the lead roles. With wide positive reviews, the film became a blockbuster.
The film's original soundtrack was composed by Ilaiyaraaja, which remained a chartbuster. The college campus depicted in the film was shot at Acharya N. G. Ranga Agricultural University in Hyderabad. Dialogues of this movie became an instant hit and therefore audio cassette of dialogues were released it was written by Iqbal Durrani Ram Gopal Varma later went on to release a prequel of the film in 2006.