In the recent hit Nayattu, we saw how the police force was brutally reduced to mere puppets in the hands of powerful lawmakers. Though not that extreme, Salute by Roshan Andrews enlightens us about how the supreme authority pressurizes the force in Khaki to be their scapegoats. The much-celebrated director-writer duo Roshan Andrews and Bobby-Sanjay who’s been on a serious downfall for a hiatus make their point loud and clear this time with an absorbing police story breaking the barriers of a mystery drama.
Salute doesn’t feature the qualities of a whodunit. The process is extensive, intense, and extremely well-defined to etch out a crime fiction where drama overtakes the majority of thrills. Who? Why? How – the questions remain the same but the path feels strange. Salute is built around the guilt experienced by the protagonist that forces him to quest the elaborate setup path to save an innocent soul and to get rid of his regret. The initial police procedurals give you a sense of fear without any visual tricks and the eerie follow-up summarises the pressure and helplessness of both the force and the hero. Salute unfolds at a snail’s pace primarily set around Arvind Karunakaran, a police officer who’s caught between the dilemma of right and wrong. The desperation, the struggle, obstacles he faces from his own department to prove his reputation doesn’t take any deviations or quicker routes. Salute connects each dotes with caution without spoiling its mood or tone. The film reminded me of a few foreign crime thrillers in terms of their execution. Unlike other investigative dramas, Salute doesn’t hurry the investigation or make the hero stand out. He is vulnerable and lost and the conclusions he reaches aren’t accompanied by sudden adrenaline-pumping cinematic elements. The final moments leave a mixed feeling yet brilliantly conceived which could raise healthy debates among cinephiles in further days.
Dulquer Salmaan cakewalk through a rather dull character elaboration where the emotions could’ve been pulled with more pressure. The transition Aravind goes through both as an aggressive, upright policeman and a doting brother don’t leave any impression thus the star struggles to evoke the desired intensity it demands. Manoj. K. Jayan owns a supreme command over others in terms of acting and leaves a lasting impression. If casting goes wrong everything is wrong, sadly Roshan Andrews couldn’t churn the best out of his artists. The monotonous performance feels pretentious so is the staging of the drama. Salute left me perplexed with its substandard technical qualities where everything felt hurried with vaguely erupted set pieces and artificial talkie episodes. The family bondings which was supposed to showcase the affectionate side of the brothers ends up a disaster, lucky the master writers didn’t dive too deep into it. Music by Jakes Bejoy leaves enough surprises yet I felt like it could’ve been utilized to its best.
Salute tests your patience and this murder mystery fails to hold the grip in its starting hour. But as each minute passes Bobby Sanjay leaves clues and dotes to keep us glued to our chairs. This slow-burning outing tricks you a bit and requires your wholehearted attention and patience. Watch if you can sit through the whole set of slow procedures and overlong drama.
Review by© Rahul Babu