Star Cast: Dulquer Salmaan, Manoj K Jayan, Diana Penty, and ensemble.
Director: Roshan Andrews.
What’s Good: Dulquer Salmaan proves that he can hold an entire movie on his able back and also be subtle but effective at the same time. A fresh story too.
What’s Bad: While the consequence is visible, the character arc for Dulquer looks a bit incomplete.
Loo Break: Definitely not. It’s a crisp edge of the seat drama and you must consume it like one.
Watch or Not?: Go for it. It’s Sanjay and Bobby sprinkling their Mumbai Police magic again. The mystery stays intact only to surprise you later.
Language: Malayalam (with subtitles).
Available on: Sony LiV
Runtime: 142 Minutes.
SI Arvind Karunakaran (Dulquer) joins the police force with an aspiration to be an honest cop. One fine day just months after his posting he is made to sabotage a case and frame an innocent as a murderer of two. The guilt doesn’t let him sleep and he decides to take a sabbatical. But the investigation team that stages proofs is led by his elder brother Ajith, his hero and he can’t do anything bold to make things right. What he does to find redemption is the film.
Salute Movie Review: Script Analysis
The cop dramas that have the influence of the politics of the land and a touch of corruption, most of the times take the same route. But you don’t expect Bobby and Sanjay to take the path already taken and that is where their talent as writers shine. Just like Mumbai Police, the two know what story they want to tell and just when they make you feel they have lost all the control over the script, they flip the coin and tell you who’s the boss.
Salute set in a police department is about the power game and abuse that happens in there. But zoom in and look closely, it is about a man meeting his hero and his dreams shattering into pieces, it is about a brother who has idolised his elder one for his entire life and has seen evil in him now. So the conflict is always about two brothers from different sides of the spectrum. Amid this, there is a faceless criminal and we all know how amazing both the writers are in shaping faceless Characters and weaving mystery around them.
The best part is that Salute even with a story that is highly dramatic, never goes high on drama. The approach is subtle and real which makes you enter the world more conveniently. Imagine two brothers living under the same roof are fighting in the office (not literally) but in the house they have to maintain the decorum. Never do they talk to each other in raised voices. The family never gets to know the tension between them, but they are always thinking one step ahead than the other.
There is also a social commentary about corruption, politics influencing investigations, and how the pressure during election seasons makes the cops do wrong. But it is never overplayed to make it be the highlight. It is on your understanding as to the audience on how you take it.
What bothers me in Salute is the climax. While Dulquer Salmaan’s Arvind does learn a thing or two about life, his character remains stagnant. There is no real progress in terms of him idealizing his brother. You have seen your ideal do wrong which disrupted your life and that should create a sense of hate for him or at least the realisation that you cannot hold them at the same position any longer. Arvind continues to call his brother his inspiration and it only kills the purpose.
Salute Movie Review: Star Performance
Dulquer Salmaan and his charm is so flexible that it shapes itself as the character. He can be a college boy trying to navigate his life or a robust police officer that can’t see bad. His innocence stays intact and you can see it through his eyes in all his characters. Just like the makers, even he has subtle approach and it all helps because the writing has all the drama.
Manoj K Jaya compliments Salmaan with his performance. He is the bad cop and tries his level best to stop Arvind from taking the right path. The actor shines as he is always convinced what he does is right. He even says, “ This is how the system works,” with complete confidence because years of service has hardened him in that way.
Salute Movie Review: Direction, Music
Roshan Andrews knows how to use the natural set up to create scenes and frames out of it. He shows Arvind and his goodness move around freely in the day, while Ajith and his evil that lurks in light is powerful in the darkness of the night. The fact that he even handles the faceless killer quite intriguingly and doesn’t let it be good on just the paper is commendable too.
Jakes Bejoy’s background score is on point and he knows when to induce it and when to stop. It is never overdone and that creates a much-needed impact.
Salute Movie Review: The Last Word
Salute is a fresh take on the police system and a story more personal than others. Dulquer Salmaan is a treat and so is the writing. You must watch this soon.
Salute releases on 17 March, 2022.
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Want to know how superstar Ajith’s last film was? Read our Valimai Movie Review here.