On a scripting level, in terms of detailing, Salute has enough juice to make an intriguing investigative thriller that isn’t so loud. The movie tries to create two parallel cat and mouse narratives. One of them is about the hero, and the other is about a mysterious guy. But with stiff dialogues and a treatment that feels a bit confused about its drama pitch, Salute struggles to reach its full potential.
Aravind Karunakaran, who had taken a long leave from service, comes to the police station he worked a couple of years ago to check specific case files. But the cops were hesitant to give the files as he was not on duty. And the case he referred to had created controversy in the past. Why was Aravind looking for those files? Why were the police hesitant to give him the files, and what really made Aravind take this long leave is what we find out in Salute.
Writers Bobby and Sanjay are trying to create a very layered thriller here. They are not trying to develop a perfect hero. In fact, the fact that the police job is not practically great is one of the reasons why Aravind decides to leave the job. The ethical dilemma of the character gives the story a solid base, and it has a different texture from the usual whodunnit story. I somewhere felt that Bobby and Sanjay’s vision was to depict the journey of a police officer during the course of a case that bothered him. But Rosshan Andrrews treated it more like a typical finding-the-killer thriller. This conflict is somewhere restricting the movie from taking off.
In terms of body language and sharp attitude, Dulquer Salmaan is very convincing as Aravind Karunakaran. But his Malayalam diction is a bit of an issue. Rosshan Andrrews seems to have asked all the actors to utter the dialogues precisely the way it was written. Thus even a veteran like Manoj K Jayan also struggles in certain scenes to deliver lines in a less dramatic way. I felt Manoj K Jayan could have underplayed the character. There were times when his expressions felt a bit comical. Diana Penty is paired opposite to Dulquer Salmaan as his girlfriend, and the role doesn’t have much relevance. Vijaykumar Prabhakaran, Binu Pappu, Shaheen Sidhique, Alencier, etc., are the other prominent names here. I have to mention the name of Mr. Sai Kumar as he was perhaps the only performer who was able to deliver the lines without any stiffness.
The treatment of the movie is slightly confused about presenting Aravind Karunakaran. We have him thrashing the opposition party workers when he knows they manhandled his brother. There are also sequences that were perhaps forcefully added to endorse the star image. And at the same time, the script wants to explore the problematic areas of police investigations where they are forced to forge proofs. Even when it is walking away from the traits of a typical police story, there is a reluctance to shift gears. Sreekar Prasad manages to add a sense of intrigue to the narrative even though the pacing is on the slower side.
Salute had the scope to explore some grey areas in a police investigation. Like most of Bobby-Sanjay scripts, there is something unique here to keep you interested. But the two narratives in which we see Aravind Karunakaran being investigated and doing the investigation are not able to get that sync perfectly. And thus, this thriller couldn’t achieve the depth it aspired to have.
The two narratives in which we see Aravind Karunakaran being investigated and doing the investigation are not able to get that sync perfectly.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended