Salaar (2023)

  • Year: 2023
  • Released: 22 Dec 2023
  • Country: India
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  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu
  • MPA Rating: N/A
  • Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
  • Runtime: 175 min
  • Writer: Sandeep Reddy Bandla, Choudary Hanuman, Prashanth Neel
  • Director: Prashanth Neel
  • Cast: Prabhas, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Shruti Haasan
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Salaar Movie Reviews

Ugramm on steroids.

Devaratha (Prabhas) and Varadha Raja Mannar (Prithviraj Sukumaran) are best friends in Khansaar. Circumstances lead to Deva and his mother leaving Khansaar and living in exile, moving from city to city. Aadhya (Shruti Haasan) comes to India without informing her father and her life is at stake. Deva is assigned to safeguard her but he has to do it without his mother’s knowledge as she disspproves his violent side. Protecting Aadhya pitches Deva right against Varadha and things aren’t the same among the two friends turned foes. What happened to them in the world of Khansaar is something one is expected to watch in part 2, instead this part is about showing glimpses of where Deva had been and not what he did. Adding to that there are a bunch of baddies in Khansaar and the place’s bloodied history connected to Deva.

Prashant Neel has reworked his script of Ugramm in a much grand way, going all out in building a new world called Khansaar, just like he did with Narachi in KGF. That justifies him resorting to KGF narrative style for Salaar as well with his trademark quick cut aways and non-linear narrative with constant hero elevations. There are actually four of those in this film. The entire first half is dedicated to introducing and re-introducing Prabhas’s Deva. Bigger canvas meant the mother – son segment taking a bigger hit and Neel has not been able to effectively crack it this time around. This is made up for by the terrific pre-interval action block and Prabhas’s towering screen presence is put to good use even though his performance remained one toned. It is the entry scene of Prithviraj Sukumaran which had an impact.

The second half is exclusive to establishing the world of Khansaar and it’s several provinces as right from the King to the several lords are introduced along with the constitution of their own. This is where Salaar takes the bigger deviation from it’s source material. The pace does get slow but the ones acquainted with KGF films, know exactly what to expect. The high moments are few but when they arrive, they explode. Asusual the final 15mins leads to an action segment giving both male leads equal opportunity to shine. Neel has kept majority of the story to be reserved for the sequel and this slightly disappoints. The final reveal is good enough to keep the intrigue for the sequel but barring those couple of scenes, the film’s narrative is rather flat.

Overall, it is not an exceptional intro though it succeeds in generating interest for the sequel. I am going with lenient rating due to the efforts put in to create this world and giving deserving Kannada actors a bigger film to showcase their acting skills.

* Film Injected with Over Mass Elevation but not having enough impact for the goosebumps

***Salaar Movie Review ***

Directed by Prashant Neel starring Rebel Star Prabhas in the lead. Also starring Prithviraj Sukumaran

Prashant Neel’s KGF, this was the reason for watching Salaar & an expectation that there will be link of KGF and Salaar but the later is not there.

Coming to Salaar, the movie had given mass moments but it’s kind feel of over injection of mass elements which creates a disinterest in watching.

Prabhas had given the best with his swag and the way he delivers the action but a viewer who watched Yash in KGF, the same goosebumps is not having when watching Prabhas in Salaar. The background music had been used extensively to elevate the mass sequences which clearly gives an indication that its intentionally made.

Prithviraj had given a decent performance.

The last 30 minutes filled with action was interesting but when deep driving in the second half, many times the screenplay had been accelerated thereby a lot feeling that something is not going as per it is required.

The core of the movie is similar to of KGF. It’s about the POWER but Salaar had expressed in through the mode of friendship & violence..

There will be a lot which needs to be unboxed in Part so Part 1 is an above average flick for me.

A Dinosaur which barely breaks the ice

Salaar has been my most-awaited film for 2023. It ticks most of the boxes for the mass movie fan in me: A mass movie focused on a single character dominance, Neel directorial which is usually a no-nonsense action movie with cracking goosebump scenes and a much awaited comeback for Prabhas who is tailor made for characters like this amongst other things. Salaar somehow touches most of these boxes but does not check it wholeheartedly.

I will approach this review differently by describing how different aspects of the movie works but falls short somehow:

The Plot/Story: This is definitely the most complex storyline of a Prashant Neel movie. While the plot gets really interesting towards the end, you tend to realize that a lot of time was wasted in the first half for no good reason. Eventually the movie leaves a lot to be explored in Part 2 but I feel there could be too much left to show in Part 2 and I’m afraid there is going to be a tough job for editors. It is also quite a risky move to have not even planned to shoot Part-2 yet (which Neel has admitted in interviews) with so much left to be told.

The Action: Finally Prabhas gets his groove back with the action sequences which perfectly suit his body language. There are some great creative choices on some of the action scenes which are definitely bound to get cheers in the cinema halls although they aren’t entirely logical. There are creative killings which justify the A rating but they were definitely not necessary for the plot, not that I’m complaining. But I would have definitely loved to see some more physical effort from the lead characters for some of the action scenes. At times it is just too cool and too easy.

Screenplay: Prashant Neel’s strength has been screenplay over the storyline in his past movies but in Salaar it is the other way around. The movie does follow the traditional way of telling flashback stories like most mass movies but as the movie gets close to the end, there is no payback to the flashback narration. The movie ends like an interval scene which we have seen in most of the mass movies. This ending makes the first half screenplay seem pretty odd.

Dialogues: Neel’s previous works have always boasted of minimal but impactful dialogues. While Uggram had some of the best written Kannada lines, KGF had very quirky and mass one liners especially with a good mix of Hindi. There aren’t any trademark dialogues in Salaar which will etch in one’s memory but Prabhas and Prithwiraj’s does have some fun one liner exchanges. Those also serve as the little humour element in this movie. Dialogues are well written but it is not something you’d remember it for years to come.

Music and Background Score: Most of us were already slightly disappointed with the background score of Ravi Basrur in KGF 2 as compared to KGF 1. Unfortunately the background score doesn’t really match up to Prabhas’ screen presence and build up for most parts in the first half, especially for his introduction sequence. The music and background score does get better in the second half and there’s a ‘main theme music’ which could have been made better use of in the first half as well. Overall, the background score falls short of creating some major goosebump moments leading up to the fight.

Cinematography, Editing and Visuals: Bhuvan Gowda continues his stellar form with some great shots and he manages to showcase Prabhas at his best. Aerial shots and shots of the city landscape totally reminds you of KGF 2 in many parts but not in a bad way. The visual effects team have done a great job in showcasing completely imaginary cities, towns and walls. The choice of using Neel’s favourite dark-tone does seem excessive at times. Dare I say that they also have done a good job in digitally modifying Prabhas’ looks in some scenes, and yes it is evident. While the action sequences are edited well, the same cannot be said about the shifts that we experience in some of the dramatic sequences. While the set design of Khansaar kingdom does remind you of many hollywood movies, the hair and make-up department has done an exceptional job in making each character stand out.

Performances: Neel manages to explore Prabhas’ strengths perfectly by writing a role which involves him being the quiet and dangerous hero. Prabhas’ performance does remind one of his Chatrapathi and other mass movie days without the unnecessary comedy and duet numbers. This is definitely the much needed comeback for Prabhas. Prithwiraj does excel as Varada Raja Mannar but at least for Part 1 there isn’t any USP element for his role which makes him stand out or explore his strengths. Apart from these two, there is a plethora of supporting characters of which most of them have done nothing but justice to their role. Sriya Reddy, Bobby Simha, Garuda Ram, Madhu Guruswamy, Pramod Panju and Tinu Anand are some of the highlight performers. Of course special mention to Naveen Shankar who even with a very little screen presence makes a major impact and I am quite excited to see him in part-2. Just like the other Neel movies, we do have some creative choices for character and family names.

Uggram Connection (Extra): A lot has been discussed about this movie being a remake of Uggram, but let me assure you it’s not. However Neel has straight up taken some scenes and moments from Uggram and recreated them here. He does have the creative freedom to do that considering its his own work but I personally feel that he should have admitted that to the Kannada audience. I could here some gasps of disappointment in the theatres for some of the exact scenes.

Overall, Salaar makes for an almost satisfying theatrical experience but it leaves a lot of things open-ended. While it does deliver on the promise of a violent action film, it somehow fails to connect much at an emotional level. Neel continues to show how good he is at doing what he does but I feel that he does not really justify the time he has invested to bring this dinosaur finally out of its hideout.