Salute Malayalam Movie
In the Rosshan Andrrews film, Salute, Dulquer Salmaan plays a sub-inspector who reopens a twin-murder case that he could not solve the first time. SI Aravind Karunakaran is driven by a staunch commitment to knowing the truth and justice. He has all the qualities to be a good cop, but a corrupt system stands in his way.
Political pressure makes the cops in the movie use amoral means to nab a person they are convinced is guilty. But Aravind is so certain about the innocence of the man that he eventually feels guilty of framing an innocent man. When things do not go according to how he wants, Arvind takes a long leave of absence.
The movie begins with Arvind as a cop on leave investigating an old case. We later realize that it is his guilt and a mysterious series of events that make him return to service and pursue the unsolved crime case.
Salute is not your cookie-cutter thriller with cliches, red herrings and phony suspense. It is more of a police procedural with a somewhat predictable result. It is not a standard whodunit in that there is more emphasis on truth and justice than the identity of the killer. The killer may be any person, but the focus here is on the moral predicament of the cop.
Salute is not a perfect film. Director Rosshan Andrrews seems to have written the film for the big screen. It explains an obligatory action scene that comes in the middle of the film to make the audience clap for the hero. In other words, it is there to please Dulquer Salmaan fans.
The way of investigation here does not rely on scientific methods. It means that Salute is an old-school chase movie. It relies a bit too much on coincidences. At a point, you will start to feel that Arvind is chasing Dulquer's own imposter character in Kurup.
The women characters have little to do here. Saniya Iyappan and Lakshmy Gopalaswamy only fill up the screen. On the other hand, Hindi film actor Diana Penty makes her debut in Malayalam cinema with the obligatory role of the lead actor's love interest. Even if you remove Diana's character from the movie, it would not be less interesting. It is not to say that the actress does a bad job.
I also have a slight issue with a specific aspect of the climax. Working from a Bobby-Sanjay script, Rosshan Andrrews maintains a gripping feel throughout and extracts a riveting performance from Dulquer Salmaan. The director handles the investigative part of the movie well throughout. It is just that I expected the protagonist to make a specific decision at the end, but he goes against the norm. It is no big issue as the whole movie never depends on that one piece of information.
Salute feels familiar yet somewhat unconventional in that it explores the morality of the protagonist. What benefits the film greatly is Dulquer Salmaan's performance. Manoj K. Jayan, Binu Pappu and Alencier Ley Lopez are also very good in their respective roles. But the film depends greatly on Dulquer, and he delivers the goods.
The actor could explore the moral complexity of his character more deeply here but is always riveting on screen. Dulquer can let the audience know what his character is thinking without relying too much on dialogues. Dulquer brings out the anger, the frustration and the guilt of his character at the appropriate moments. There is one moment where Aravind looks at an object and then at a character and gives him a wry smile. At that moment, I thought to myself, 'I know what is on his mind'. It is a riveting performance that holds this film together.