Lal Salaam Review: Boring!

Lal Salaam is not a movie A Ganesh Nadar would recommend.

The title would make my activist friend Uttam Ghosh very happy.

It is the red salute exchanged between people, who still believe in an egalitarian society in an age where the Communist giant China has embraced Capitalism.

In what way the red salute is related to this movie or its story only Rajinikanth can enlighten us.

Rambam is a knife in Tamil that grinds and cuts slowly.

Tamilians mostly use this word to describe ‘boring’ and that is what this movie is, with even Rajinikanth fans walking out before the interval.

The theatre was crowded but not houseful, something you would not expect for a Superstar movie on Day One.

Aishwarya Rajinikanth, the director and screenplay writer, has two things to be famous about.

She is the Superstar’s daughter and secondly, she was married to another superstar, Dhanush.

Lal Salaam is set in Mururabad, Tamil Nadu, which is actually a part of urban India but the director has chosen to portray it as a village.

The villagers are shown as rustics, a far cry from reality.

In the age of the Internet and smart phones, villagers are more sophisticated than as shown as in this movie but I don’t expect Aishwarya Rajinikanth to know that.

The movie is set in a cricket tournament where there’s a Hindu team and a Muslim team and a commentator declares it an India-Pakistan match. Every one enjoys his commentary till Rajinikanth points out that he is inciting communal division.

There are two parallel heroes playing for the two teams.

One is called the three-star team and the other is, hold your breath, the MCC. Wonder what Marylebone Cricket Club, the English club known as the cradle of cricket, would say to that.

We have numerous fights either featuring the two heroes or the Superstar and all of them have one man fighting a mob, where the sole man wins.

The fight master has to be congratulated for occupying our attention for 25 percent of the movie and also making us yawn continuously.

Yesteryear heroine Nirosha plays Rajini’s wife while yesteryear comedian Senthil plays a village priest.

There is a clear political statement which says, ‘They are trying to divide us on communal lines just for a vote, don’t fall for it.’

Wonder who the ED is going to raid first.

So, the cricket fight ends up in a temple and we see an angry goddess first crying, then angry and finally showing us a miracle to end on a happy note.

A R Rahman must have done this movie as a favour to Rajinikanth and not taken any payment. Normally, when he is paid, he produces good music.

Livingston appears in a forgetful role.

Vishnu Vishal and Vikranth do a good job, but their acting skills are lost in the exhibition of their cricketing and fighting skills.

A scene from the Mumbai riots of 1993 also finds a place in the narration.

What is boring is that first, they show you two antagonistic groups and then they spend most of the movie to tell us how they became enemies from friends with a one liner, ‘Six months ago’.

A particular guest role is special, as it features India’s greatest all rounder, Kapil Dev, who coaches Vikranth. He plays himself and is endearing in his simplicity.

Rajinikanth as Moideen bhai holds the movie together and appears every time the pace slackens. But I don’t understand why he is shown praying so much.

Director K S Ravikumar, who directed Rajinikanth in innumerable hit movies, appears in a blink-and-miss role.

Lal Salaam is not a movie I would recommend. Rajinikanth, who I adore, please stick to acting in other directors’ movies and not your children’s.

Lal Salaam Review Rediff Rating: