Salaar Review - Too much build up for too less payoff in this watchable prelude for part 2!

PUBLISHED DATE : 23/Dec/2023

Salaar Review -  Too much build up for too less payoff in this watchable prelude for part 2!

Salaar - Too much build up for too less payoff in this watchable prelude for part 2!
Bharath Vijayakumar
Prashanth Neel's Salaar begins with two young boys (Deva and Varada) in the year 1975. They are the best of friends and each of them cannot and will not tolerate any harm inflicted on the other, by those around. They leave each other due to circumstances and Deva promises to be back, the moment Varada would need any help. This is the prelude and we now cut forward to 2017. It is funny, that I call the intial portions a prelude, because, in a lot of ways, Salaar: Part 1 Ceasefire itself feels like a close to 3 hours prelude, before revealing the actual conflict, just before the end credits.

The entire first half of Salaar is a build up exercise. Don't ask me, "then what about the second half?". That too is, but very little actually happens in the first half. Aadhya (Shruthi Haasan) is in trouble and goons are running all around to catch her. And then there are few trying to safeguard her. Who are these people? And what does Prabhas (a now grown up Deva) have to do with these people? Sounds interesting right? It also is, to an extent, but what we have on screen is build up, build up and more build up. The cinematography, music,editing and the physique of Prabhas, ensure that these build up scenes look great on screen, but what about getting us excited or engaged? Aren't we supposed to be thrilled about getting to know more about these people and get emotionally involved with them? But that hardly happens. In other words, the first half of Salaar feels like we are made to sit in the dining table of a five star restaurant with aesthetic looking plates right in front of us. But how long are we supposed to be staring at the plates if there is no sign of food going to be served?

The much longer second half does get into the core plot and most of the action now happens in Khansar, the equivalent of what KGF (the place) was to KGF (the film). There is a lot of world building. But again, the world building is in Prashanth Neel style. Which means, that we have a narrator telling about the place, the characters, the equations and the dynamics between these characters, as we get to see glimpses of what is being spoken about in back and forth faced paced edits. The issue with this kind of presentation, atleast for me, is that we don't really grow into getting to know these characters or get invested with their motives. It feels more like watching one big trailer! In KGF, we saw the film through the hero's POV. So, despite a similar kind of treatment there, we were invested with Rocky and his motives.

The last leg of the film is packed with reveals and twists. Some of them really work but as said earlier, we aren't really invested with the characters. So, these major reveals feel like watching the final overs of a T20 match with a lot happening. But the problem is, it feels like directly watching only these last overs without following the match from the begining and rooting for a team. Also, most the action sequences follow the boring routine. Bunch of people queue up to get thrashed. Apart the from the occasional frames in between the action, that showcase the hero in all his glory, the stunts themselves are mundane.

A whole lot of build up for a payoff that is too late and too less! But does just about enough to have us interested for the actual conflict in part 2.

Rating: 2.75/5

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