Salaga movie review: Duniya Vijay makes a confident directorial debut with massy gangster flick
 
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Critics Review
Salaga movie review: Duniya Vijay makes a confident directorial debut with massy gangster flick

Dreaded criminal Salaga is on a killing spree, but why? Can ACP Samrat stop him?

3.5
Prathibha Joy
Oct 14, 2021
cover image
Duniya Vijay in Salaga

Story: Salaga is a gangster, at whose beck and call killings happen even when he is in jail on other charges. Once released, Salaga sets out to take on a bunch of career criminals, his only hurdle on this course being ACP Samrat, who wants to end all the violence.

Review: Duniya Vijay’s directorial debut, Salaga, is out in theatres today, without much competition at the box office, what with shows of Sudeep’s Kotigobba 3 being cancelled across the state. Vijay, as it turns out, has chosen a simple tale of revenge to turn director. But what stands out is his deft handling of the narrative, which makes this gangster flick a good one-time watch.

In just a tad over two hours, the actor establishes why his character, Salaga, is such a dreaded name in the gangster world, the circumstances that made him the way he is, and even finds time for a bit of romance. In terms of a story, there’s nothing much to write about. But what’s refreshing here is that although this is a Vijay film and his directorial, the narrative is never ever only about him, with most other characters getting their moments of glory. Dhananjaya, as the hot-headed but sensible ACP Samrat, gets perhaps just as much screen time as Vijay does and is a treat to watch in this avatar.

Sanjana Anand as Salaga’s love interest gets a song and a couple of scenes to profess her undying love for him, but that’s about it. The actress is otherwise wasted, given that the focus of the film is on everyone’s prowess at wielding machetes and spilling blood.

As an actor, Vijay has a commanding presence on screen and is most believable as Salaga. He has punchlines but they are not OTT, which is where dialogue writer Maasti deserves a round of applause. The conversations have the right amount of wit, drama and power depending on the situations. The music, credited to Charan Raj and Naveen Sajju, is top-notch and just right for the proceedings on screen. The title track is the most noteworthy, in fact.

While talking about Salaga, Vijay always maintained that he was presenting audiences a dekko at a part of Bengaluru that most of us may not privy too. That’s not entirely true, because this is the underbelly that other gangster flicks have also explored. To be fair to the actor-director, though, he’s used KR Market and its surrounding areas to great effect.

Verdict: Salaga has a fair share of violence, but it is not overtly gory, barring maybe one sequence. The A rating does feel like a bit of stretch, considering the kind of content that is being widely consumed on OTT platforms. Should you watch it over the festive weekend? If you are looking at being intellectually stimulated or entertained with song and dance, etc., this is not the film for it. What Salaga does is present a message, amid a whole lot of killing. If not for this, then you should watch it for Vijay – his directorial debut is quite good.

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