S Shyam Prasad
Salaga is a commendable debut as director by Duniya Vijay, who is credited as Vijaya Kumar in this film. He surprisingly lets go of the usual, over-the-top buildups for the hero that we normally see in star films.
What starts as a character-driven narrative unfolds into a believable storyline post interval. He gives the plot its due without glorifying any one character, which in any case would have been himself. I wonder why other directors don’t do this.
Dhananjay who was abused as a sidekick in a couple of films really gets his due here. It is in no way a second fiddle role. Vijay, also the story writer, has sketched profiles of every character, even if most of them in this film are from the underbelly. Vijay has cut himself out of some scenes to make the film better. It clicks. He wins as a director. Salaga is an almost perfect commercial potboiler if you are okay with blood and gore.
A revenge drama is framed into a rowdysim template and gets the full treatment of blood and gore. Maasti matches the director’s penchant for violence and rawness with his dialogues. The narrative is quick and does not give opportunities for diversions. Even the songs therefore have montages for visuals and in most cases perfectly blend into the ongoing story. They are good by themselves too.
For all the dramatic high the story gathers after the flashback, it rather has a tame ending. It however keeps the option open for a sequel. Except for a couple of times in the early part where the scenes abruptly meet, the narration has a free flow. The cinematographer is one more hero behind the screen.
Vijay may not have visualised Salaga in any other way. What he has visualised and brought to life is undeniably good for those who expected him to make a certain kind of film.
Duration: 128 minutes
Cast: Duniya Vijay, Dhananjaya, Achyuth Kumar, Bhaskar, Cockroach Sudhi
Director: Vijaya Kumar