Salaar is not cinema, it is a hurtling train of trailers strung together

This is the skewed universe of director Prashanth Neel — dark, sinister, threatening, inflammable and combustible — take it or leave it, writes Subhash K Jha

Prabhas has not looked in better shape since Bahubali
Prabhas has not looked in better shape since Bahubali

Subhash K Jha

Shruti Haasan — yes, she is also in Prabhas’ homage to violent heroism — is being told the story of the friendship between Prabhas and Prithiviraj. Ms Haasan, whose American accent keeps dropping in keeping with the  mercurial mood of the presentation, looks confused as the narrator progresses with the complex dynastic dynamics. We, too, share her  perplexity.

What is Salaar trying to say about family ties and political allegiances in a  society that seems to be run purely by brute force? Salaar, like director Prashanth Neel (KGF), can get dizzying to watch. Although Yash and Prabhas are two different characters (the one loves to kill, the other does so only when pushed against the wall), the violence is pungent and  relentless.

The vast cast has a blast, screaming, ranting, and swearing (though not  very hard: Prabhas doesn’t like bad language). There is a mother figure somewhere in the orgy of mayhem who, and I kid you not, looks no older than her screen son Deva (Prabhas), and the very skilled Prithviraj Sukuraman playing Vardha, who are upscaled versions of Karan and Arjun.

This is the skewed universe of Prashanth Neel — dark, sinister, threatening, inflammable and combustible — take it or leave it. Going by the roaring approval of the audience, I suppose they are more inclined to take this tumultuous trip into Prashanth Neel’s kink-dom than to leave it. 

The film gambols with uninterrupted confidence, from one climactic cataclysm to another, until we reach the formal climax where hordes of  underage girls in flaming red sarees are rescued from a lecherous sex fiend by God’s chosen one.

This being the year of action films (Pathaan, Gadar 2, Jawan, Animal), Salaar lays out a gallery of potent, brilliantly choreographed stunt sequences where Prabhas dazzles as a consummate action hero. He has not looked in better shape since Bahubali.

So far in most of his films, Prabhas has struck me as being way too kind-faced to be taken seriously as a man of action. In Salaar, he looks like he means business. Some of the action recalls KGF, but in a good way.

Prabhas fans are going to enjoy Salaar. As for the non-converts, there is  not much to take home in the plot about a lone ranger ganging up with his best friend (Prithivraj, who too is in excellent shape) to save an empire.

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