Surprise Surprise! The new release scheduled for tomorrow just made it a day early. The content in question was the Malayalam film Salute which started streaming on SonyLiv during the day today, and a day earlier than its original release date. This for me was a smart move by the streaming platform as the weekend was packed with many new releases. And this did bring about a change in plans for us at Popcorn Reviewss, as I decided to watch and review the film immediately. Starring one of my favourite actors Dulquar Salmaan, I was really looking forward to watching this film. Originally slated to have a theatrical release, the makers opted for a direct OTT release. And finally I have finished watching it. So then is Salute worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Salute follows the story of a police officer who is forced to charge an innocent man for a murder which he did not commit. The story is a slow burner in a bit of a commercial space. And in the secomd hour, the thrill element kicks in when the actual investigation begins. But you need to be extremely attentive throughout its runtime. There are smaller details which could be missed out on, if you let your thoughts waver. To top it, the screenplay is convoluted especially due to its non-linear style of storytelling. This sort of storytelling technique was also seen in the previous Dulquar Salmaan film Kurup. During the first half, there are a set of “unrelated” sequences which would leave you scratching your head. But you need to be patient through its narrative as slowly you begin to get answers. In between, an engaging track involving the police planting evidence in order to frame an innocent person, and their refusal to hunt the actual culprit down is wonderfully shown. The subtle twists and turns will keep you invested throughout.
In the second hour, the actual investigation kicks in. Some of the minor subplots are nicely linked to the main plot. Although the proceedings are slow and again convoluted(which slightly impacts the overall screenplay), you always wish to know what transpires next. The clues are well integrated in the screenplay leading upto a final act which was a tad underwhelming especially due to a twist thrown in towards the end. But overall, a well written screenplay which is gripping and has you hooked throughout.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational but extremely well penned, especially the ones involving the investigation. The music is pretty good with a pulsating BGM which is exceptional. The colour grading is smartly used in many scenes with amazing cinematography. Director Rosshan Andrews has done a pretty good job in creating that world of intrigue with a good grip on the narrative. You need to keep in mind that this is an experiment of balancing a commercial element with an experimental kind of screenplay which deserves your attention.
The performances are absolutely smashing here. Boban Alummoodan as Mahesh shines in his extended cameo. Lakshmi Gopalaswamy as Dr. Radhika is exceptional. Saniya Iyappan as Sheeba is first rate. Diana Penty as Dia is sincere and a welcome addition to this world. Binu Pappu as SI Hyder Salim is incredibly good despite a limited screentime. Manoj K Jayan as DySP Ajith is menacing and shrewd and in some scenes would potentially boil your blood. Dulquer Salmaan as SI Aravind owns the screen and how. It is difficult to ignore his towering presence onscreen. Also, there is an ease with which he approaches his character which doesn’t seem to be forced and yet his body language and persona formulate another memorable outing for him.
Although it is a slow burner, Salute is a gripping investigative drama which will hold your attention throughout. Available on SonyLiv.