Streaming on Sonyliv 17th March 2022.
The genre of police procedurals isn’t something new. Earlier also we have seen films which look at the inner workings of the police department. Salute directed by Roshan Andrews is a suspense drama, a murder mystery and a whodunit all rolled into one. It is a cocktail which works in spite of some familiarities. You can see the influence of last year’s critically acclaimed Nayattu. What makes Salute work is the tight script and also Dulquer Salman’s performance.
Salute tells the story of sub-inspector Aravind Karunakaran. He belongs to a family of police officers. His role model to join the force is his own brother Ajith Karunakaran (Manoj K Jayan). Aravind takes pride in working with his brother. Things take a turn when the police nab an innocent auto-driver Murali on a double murder case. An upcoming election and political pressure leads to Murali being implicated.
At the start of the film we come to know that Aravind has taken a sabbatical after realizing that his brothers had done wrong. The difference between the brothers comes out clearly from the beginning. Aravind wants to pursue the truth, his brother Ajith on the other hand mocks him and constantly says this is how the system works. The reason for Aravind reopening the case is the accidental interaction with the sister of Murali. Diana Penty plays Aravind’s girlfriend. She looks pretty but nothing more can be said about her character or performance.
Salute works best when the focus is on Dulquer and Manoj. The cat and mouse game between the brothers while living under the same roof is a delight to watch, you can see that they are keeping up appearances for the sake of the family. But at the same time they are trying to outwit each other. These scenes work really well.
The pace of the film is deliberately slow. There is no hurry to make the police catch the criminal. More often than not the film plays out as a battle between a hero who is haunted by his own conscience and a faceless villain.
Just when you think that Aravind has caught the criminal the story takes a turn every time, the best thing about Aravind’s characterization is that he is not shown to be invincible. He is as vulnerable as anyone.
The background music by Jakes Bejoy also adds to the impact. It adds a layer of intrigue and threat.
One of the areas where Salute fumbles is its last stretch. The finale of the film doesn’t quite live up to the buildup. Also none of the female characters adds much value to the film.
Dulquer Salman and Manoj K Jayan are in perfect sync with each other. Dulquer makes you empathize with Aravind’s moral dilemmas. There are no traditional hero antics but Dulquer shows that he is equally adept at serious roles. In a nutshell Salute is a gripping investigative drama that deserves to be seen.