Lal Salaam is a Tamil-language sports drama film directed by Aishwarya Rajinikanth. The film stars Rajinikanth, Vishnu Vishal & Vikranth in lead roles while Ananthika Sanilkumar, Jeevitha Rajasekhar, Livingston, Senthil, Nirosha, Adithya Menon, KS. Ravikumar, Thambi Ramaiah, Vivek Prasanna, Dhanya Balakrishna, Thangadurai, Akash Sahani, Kapil Dev & others are seen in important roles. The music is composed by AR. Rahman and the film is produced by Subaskaran Allirajah under Lyca Productions banner.
Guru (Vishnu Vishal) is a carefree youth who struggles with his identity and beliefs. On the other hand, Samshuddin (Vikrant) is the son of Moideen Bhai (Rajinikanth), a textile businessman from Mumbai. Samshuddin is once a good friend of Guru until a tragic incident in their childhood turns them into bitter rivals. Their rivalry spills over to the cricket field as well in their village. Then one match in the village becomes a turning point in Guru and Shamshuddin’s life and changes everything. What happens later needs to be seen in the film.
What about on-screen performances?
Rajinikanth as usual delivers a commendable performance. It is refreshing to see him play the role of Moideen Bhai who is a Muslim leader. He is measured in his actions and even the fight scenes are not over-the-top. But his star power and his acting capability are not utilized properly in the film as his role is very limited and impactless.
Vishnu Vishal and Vikranth are adequate in their respective parts. They have essayed their roles quite well and are very natural as cricketers since they play cricket in real life as well.
Ananthika Sanilkumar looks cute but her role is too short. She plays the love interest of Vishnu Vishal which doesn’t add any value to the plot as she literally vanishes from the film after a couple of scenes.
Jeevitha Rajasekhar tries too hard to be natural but she overreacts in all her emotional scenes. She is only seen crying in the whole film.
Thambi Ramaiah is pretty decent in his key role.
Kapil Dev makes a pleasant cameo as himself in the film.
Livingston, Senthil, Nirosha, Adithya Menon, KS. Ravikumar, Vivek Prasanna, Dhanya Balakrishna, Thangadurai, Akash Sahani & others are fine in their respective roles.
What about off-screen talents?
The story by Vishnu Rangasamy is utterly disappointing. There is nothing novel with its plot and the ending message that the film aims to tell with respect to the Hindu-Muslim conflict is pretty outdated and has already been said through N number of movies in the past.
The screenplay by Vishnu Rangasamy & Aishwarya Rajinikanth is very boring and the snail-paced narrative never keeps our interest going. Right from the first scene till the last, there is not even a single scene that stands out nor there is a scene that we haven’t seen before. Even the emotional scenes lack impact and the weak drama never helps the film.
Director Aishwarya Rajinikanth does an average job with her craft. Though her on-screen presentation is neat, her narrative style is very tedious. It is hard to believe that this was the same director who made “3” with Dhanush which was high on emotions and drama.
The Telugu dialogues are nothing great and the Telugu dubbing is not up to the mark. Having Sai Kumar’s voice for Rajinikanth is a very poor decision made by the makers for the Telugu version.
The camera work by Vishnu Rangasamy is first rate while the edit by B. Pravin Baaskar is not so sharp as almost about 15-20 minutes in the film could have been easily chopped off.
The songs and background score by AR. Rahman is impactless. It fails to take the film to the next level.
The production values by Lyca Productions are good.
* Rajinikanth’s Performance
* Vishnu Vishal & Vikranth’s Performances
* Cinematography & Production Values
* Climax Fight
* Routine & Beaten To Death Storyline
* Dead Slow & Sluggish Screenplay
* Weak Sub Plots
* Forgettable Songs & Terrible Background Score
* Zero Emotional Connect
* Rajinikanth’s Dubbing
* Poorly Handled Cricket Scenes
Verdict: Lal Salaam is a completely boring affair with a plot that has zero novelty. Even Rajinikanth could not save this shallow take on village politics that has a routine story of unity & social discrimination based on religion.
Telugubulletin.com Rating: 2/5