A Stale Tale
U/A, 2h 43m
What Is the Film About?
Lal Salaam is set in the early nineties in Kasumur village. Guru (Vishnu Vishal) is a youngster with anger issues but plays cricket well, bringing laurels to his team. The movie’s basic plot involves how his one act of untimed aggression creates a rift between two families and riots in the village.
Moideen Bhai (Rajinikanth) is a successful businessman in Mumbai, running his operations like a don. He has a deep bond with Guru’s parents. His inadvertent involvement in all the issues related to Guru and the village forms the parallel track.
Superstar Rajinikanth picks another age-appropriate role while also making sure the ‘heroism’ is present in his usual style. It is an extended supporting part runtime-wise. However, his presence is felt throughout. It is a character that shines symbolically as the ‘hero’ of the movie.
Right from Rajinikanth’s arrival, there is a larger-than-life aura around him, and he goes about the proceedings in his style. In Telugu, it takes time initially to adjust a little bit, though, as the dubbing is not from the Rajinikanth regular (Mano). Saikumar has done the honours this time, and it requires some adjustment as we are used to a particular voice. There are no issues, once it is done.
Vishnu Vishal is the lead in a typical sense, as his actions drive the narrative majorly. The dishevelled and rough look suits him, and he does well expressing the anger and subtle dramatic moments. However, the character doesn’t rise to the next level and remains a mere spectator in the overall scheme of things.
Aishwarya Rajinikanth directs Lal Salaam. It is a regular commercial fare with a message for religious harmony and humanity triumphing all.
While the message is noble and should be appreciated in the current times where religious disharmony is at its weakest, the way Aishwarya Rajinikanth goes about the proceedings leaves a lot to be desired. It is archaic in its approach to put it politely.
The movie’s story is simple – it is about religious harmony between the two sections of people in a village, the Hindus and the Muslims. One can instantly guess where it’s headed from the start. The director tries to freshen up the proceedings with the screenplay but adds to the messiness in the first half.
The way the back-and-forth technique is employed is confusing. One is not sure if the events happening are current or in the past if they miss the beginning. It seems to be done to cover up the sheer predictability on offer.
The lack of a clear protagonist also hurts the proceedings as it feels like two parallel narratives are running simultaneously. A smooth integration is missing despite the utter predictability on offer leading to a messy feel.
Politics, riots, betting, jathara, inter-village quarrels, and a brief love story – everything happens simultaneously with an inconsistent tone where there is hyperrealism on one side and commercial mass elevations on the other.
The messages in between them appear like a sore thumb. Remember these entire elements are packed within the first half itself.
The interval comes as a relief as not only does it give a break, but also provides some clarity related to the proceedings. We now know what the issues are at hand, and need clarity on a few.
Post intermission the narrative feels better tonally. The movie takes a clear-cut commercial approach and goes about the proceedings expectedly.
The one missing chunk involving flashback is also covered leaving out any remaining confusion. The rest of the narrative is a race to the end hitting all the predictable notes with zero surprises. It tests our patience in the process, as nothing is original or fresh here.
Overall, Lal Salaam is an outdated cliched commercial fare with a message involving religion and humanity. If that’s enough, go ahead and try. If that’s not the case, even Rajini’s presence can’t help this predictable and outdated mishmash.
Performances by Others Actors
Vikranth gets a decent role and does well to evoke the right emotions. Jeevitha is seen in an acting role after a long gap. Within the given short time she gets, she acts so much that it covers up for all her years in exile.
Thambi Ramaiah is the next in line with a decent role. It is on expected lines, but still needs to be done and he does it with sincerity. Vivek Prasanna is adequate whereas the rest are alright.
Music and Other Departments?
AR Rahman provides the music and the background score for the flick. The songs weave smoothly into the narrative even though the ‘narrative’ itself isn’t smooth. They are no chartbuster variety but go with the flow. The background score is fine. The cinematography and editing could have been better. The movie feels very lengthy and gets tiresome after a point.
Rajinikanth’s Age Appropriate Role
Music/BGM (Within Movie’s Context)
Messy At Times
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Lal Salaam Movie Review by M9
“Lal Salaam” has the right intentions, but its overly melodramatic narrative and confusing screenplay, involving cricket, festivals, religion, and politics, make it cluttered and unconvincing. Having Superstar Rajinikanth in an extended cameo does little to help the film, although he looks fabulous in his Muslim look. Additionally, “Lal Salaam” has too much Tamil nativity, which won’t work for Telugu audiences, making it difficult to sit through.
Lal Salaam show started with a village backdrop, showcasing the struggle of Vishnu Vishal, followed by a love melody. Stay tuned for the first half report.
Stay tuned for Lal Salaam Movie Review, USA Premiere Report.
Cast: Superstar Rajinikanth, Vishnu Vishal, Vikranth, Senthil, Jeevitha, Thambi Ramaiah, Ananthika Sanilkumar, Vivek Prasanna, Thangadurai.
Director: Aishwarya Rajinikanth
Music: A.R. Rahman
Cinematography: Vishnu Rangasamy
Editor: B. Pravin baaskar
Story & Dialogues: Vishnu Rangasamy
Banner: Lyca Productions
U.S. Distributor: Film Distribution Network
Lal Salaam Movie Review by M9