Shiva is action oriented movie in which, 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.
Shivkumar (Nagarjuna) is a new student at college. He joins a small group of friends including Malli (Shubalekha Sudhakar) 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, Malli 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.