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Salaar Review: Epic Action Blast From Prabhas

Salaar Review: Epic Action Blast From Prabhas

Movie: Salaar: Ceasefire
Rating: 3/5
Hombale Films
Cast: Prabhas, Shruti Haasan, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Jagapathi Babu, Sriya Reddy, Eeswari Rao, Garuda Ram, Tinu Anand and others
Dialogues: Sandeep Reddy Bandla, Hanuman Chaudhary, DR Suri
Music: Ravi Basrur
DOP: Bhuvan Gowda
Editor: Ujwal Kulkarni
Production Designer: T L Venkatachalapathi
Stunts: Anbarivu
Producer: Vijay Kirangadur
Written and directed by: Prashanth Neel
Release Date: Dec 22, 2023

"Salaar" has generated a great deal of buzz and anticipation since its launch. Prashanth Neel's "KGF" films redefined mass cinema, and his first collaboration with Prabhas has raised huge expectations.

Let's see if "Salaar" lives up to them.

Varada Raja Mannar, also known as Varada (Prithviraj Sukumaran), is the son of Khansaar's ruler, Raja Mannar (Jagapathi Babu). Varada is the childhood friend of Devavrata, aka Deva (Prabhas). Deva and his mother (Eeswari Rao) were compelled to flee the city for certain reasons and sought refuge in a remote area of Assam. 25 years have passed.

In the present day (2017), Radha Rama (Sriya Reddy) and her men attempt to kidnap Krishnakanth's daughter, Aadya (Shruti Haasan). However, Aadya manages to reach Assam and is protected by Deva.

Certain incidents prompt Deva to return to Khansaar. What happens there? Why is Aadya in danger?

Artistes’ Performances:
No film has fully capitalized on Prabhas's star power and commanding screen presence since "Baahubali 2". Here, Prabhas  looks terrific. His on-screen charisma is exceptional. The first fight showcases Prabhas's appearance, style, and swag in a manner that must be witnessed to be fully enjoyed. Although he has limited on-screen presence in the second half, the final episodes compensate the gap. It is Prabhas’s style and screen presence that dominate more than everything.

Prithviraj Sukumaran plays an equally substantial role as Prabhas's friend and he perfectly embodies that character. Shruti Haasan's character is trite and appears occasionally.

Sriya Reddy plays a significant role as Varada's sister. The film features actors such as Bobby Simha, Brahmaji and John Vijay portraying negative characters, but their roles seem to make more impact in the second part than now.

Jagapathi Babu's portrayal of Raja Mannar is satisfactory. The role of Eeswari Rao as Prabhas's mother doesn’t make much impact.

Technical Excellence:
The cinematography, editing, background music, visual effects, and production design evoke the style of "KGF". The only distinguishing factor lies in the action stunts.

The film features heavy action sequences, with the interval fight being particularly exceptional. 

Prabhas’s stunning screen presence
The first half of the film
The interval bang
Heroism-elevation sequences

Underwhelming and confusing second half
Khansaar episodes
Lack of effective emotional feel

By now, it is widely recognized among film lovers that director Prashanth Neel possesses a distinctive style when it comes to directing action films. Through his "KGF" films, he has established a different approach encompassing screenplay, action sequence filming, editing, hero elevation sequences, and the creation of an imaginative story setting.

The film "Salaar" possesses all of those qualities. While the initial scenes of the film bear resemblance to Prashanth Neel's debut film "Ugramm", it quickly transitions into a different iteration of "KGF" and incorporates elements from "Game of Thrones".

The thread taken from "Ugramm" is the attempt to kidnap the heroine who arrives from abroad and the protagonist working as a mechanic in a remote location to hide from his native city. Neel then added the city of "Khansaar," which is ruled by a mafia gang similar to "KGF." Then, in the second half of the film, we see many gangs attempting to seize the "seat of power" and declaring a ceasefire for a specific time period, which is reminiscent of "Game of Thrones."

Apart from these parallels, Prashanth Neel completely captivates us with his fantastic narration in the first half. We are entirely glued to the proceedings for nearly one hour and fifteen minutes, even though little happens. The way he narrated withholding information about the main plot and elevating Prabhas' heroism is fantastic. He ends the first half on a high note.

The main drama is revealed in the second half, including why and how Khansaar was founded, how the Mannar family came to rule, and why Varada summoned Deva back to Khansaar, as well as the various stakeholders plotting against each other. This section contains a lot of elements and subplots to follow. It is at this point that Neel loses control of the narration.

Aside from that, the latter half of the film has an action sequence to talk about. We see a lecherous person trying to "enjoy" young “chicks” every night, and when he lays eyes on a teenage girl, a massive action episode ensues. This entire episode, which lasts over 20 minutes, is emotional and captivating. Prabhas' heroism elevated to next level in this episode.

What is the main difference between “KGF” movies and “Salaar” is the lack of effective emotional drive. In “KGF” movies, the mother-son sentiment worked quite well. Here, neither the bond between the friends nor the mother-son sentiment lacks that quality.

Neel has completely omitted the romantic thread between Prabhas and Shruti Haasan, which is quite daring for a mainstream action film. In fact, it is good. But Shruti Haasan’s character doesn’t add anything to the film.

Despite many issues in the second half, the final sequence that gives a lead to “Salaar 2 - Shouryaagana Parvam” is well.

Overall, "Salaar" is a treat for Prabhas fans because the actor hasn't looked this good since "Baahubali 2," and the heroism-elevation sequences work well. It may satisfy fans and action movie lovers with solid action stunts and a lavishly mounted setting. However, it is ineffective for those seeking sense and semblance. Despite engaging us with its narration, the film leaves us with the impression that something is missing.

Bottom line: Action Overloaded

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