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Salaar Part 1: Prashanth Neel delivers the perfect mass comeback for Prabhas

The film can be described as Kannada’s Game of Thrones with the ambience of KGF films. Prithviraj Sukumaran makes his presence amply felt as the parallel hero

By

Prabhatha Rigobertha

December 23, 2023

Not much was expected from Prashanth Neel when the first KGF released but the action drama surprised one and all with its box office numbers. Originally made in Kannada, the film also released in Hindi clashing with Anand L Rai’s Zero and completely outsold the SRK starrer. The raw action and Yash’s swag coupled with the backdrop of Kolar Gold Fields made it a huge success.

The second part of KGF went on to do even bigger business. The buzz around Salaar has been huge since its inception, this in spite of Prabhas’s lackluster form in the recent past. A lot of hopes were pinned on Salaar and thankfully the director has given the perfect mass treat that rewinds memories of Chatrapathi. However Salaar isn’t for those who despise macho heroes and are not huge fans of the KGF films.

Shruti Haasan, Prashanth Neel and Prabhas

Salaar begins with establishing the ultra strong friendship of Deva (Prabhas) and Vardha (Prithviraj Sukumran). They have each other’s back in both good and bad times. The very first scene of Salaar has Deva fighting a seasoned wrestler just to get Vardha’s nathooni back (a particular nose ring that the clan wears). Later on we see Vardha saving Deva and his mother (Easwari Rao) from his father’s men. In this process Vardha also sacrifices a major part of the territory his clan owns. That night Deva and his mother vanish. But before going Deva takes a promise from Vardha that he should not hesitate in reaching out for his help in times of distress.

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From here the story goes into a flash forward where Deva and his mother are living in Assam. Through some vague hints we understand that Deva has sworn to his mother to never touch a weapon again. The mother in fact is so touchy even when she sees a plastic knife. All this changes with the entry of Aadhya Krishnakanth (Shruti Hassan with a heavy American accent); her life is in danger for reasons that will become more clear in the second part. Things take a turn when Deva’s mother frees Deva from his promise, in order to save Aadhya. This results in Deva smashing a lot of people to pulp.

Shriya Reddy makes a solid impression

The second half is entirely devoted to a dystopian city of Khansar that has several tribes with distinct characteristics. The politics and the character dynamics of this dystopian city are similar to the popular web show Game of Thrones.

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Not surprisingly the biggest strength of Salaar is the strong brotherhood showcased between its two main leads. Deva’s intense affection for his friend is reminiscent of Ranbir Kapoor’s character in Animal. There is also a Mahabharata touch in how they are shown to be fierce warriors.

Easwari Rao plays Prabhas’ mother

Prabhas shares most sparks with Prithviraj and that is clearly visible on more than one occasion. For example there is a scene where both of them take on some drug infested zombies. It is a sequence that enthralls the masses. The two actors are also seen indulging in banter amidst the fight and have some hilarious punch lines.

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The world building of Khansar has also been done well. Bhuvan Gowda’s cinematography is top notch. He effectively captures the tumultuous atmosphere of this fictional city. Some of the themes explored in the second half are right to leadership and loyalty among others. Prashanth Neel has done a good job in exploring these themes.  Ravi Basur’s soundtrack goes well with the mood of the film. Thankfully there is no forced romantic subplot between Prabhas and Shruti.

Shruti Haasan’s American accent is irritating

Shruti Hassan’s put on American accent is irritating to say the least. In fact most of the women characters in Salaar are relegated to the background (of late most big action movies are doing the same). The only actress who makes a solid impression is Sriya Reddy. She plays the firebrand daughter of Jagapathi Babu’s Raja Mannar.

The second half has an overdose of violence which will be off putting for a section of audiences. The film’s runtime is almost three hours; some portions of the film could have been trimmed or chopped.

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Prabhas plays a mostly brooding character who does not even break into a smile. The actor has not got many dialogues but he is successful in portraying the raw aggression. Prabhas particularly shines in the scenes with Prithviraj.

Prithviraj Sukumaran as a parallel lead more than makes his presence felt

Prithviraj Sukumaran as a parallel lead more than makes his presence felt. The actor does a solid job in portraying both the vulnerability and the determination of a future successor caught in the power struggle. The actor’s own dubbing of Telugu does take some time in getting used to but it is not a major hindrance.

Salaar part 1 ends on a cliffhanger that sets a good base for the second part, there are indications that this brotherhood may turn into enmity.

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Prabhatha Rigobertha
Prabhatha Rigobertha
Rigobertha Prabhatha has been writing on movies, web series, books, etc. on social media platforms like Facebook for a few years. He has a YouTube channel "prabhathalovesmovies" in which he posts video reviews. "I have only two windows to my world - movies and books" reads it's tagline. He is a student of English literature and currently working as Content Writer at Pudami Publications based in Hyderabad.

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