Lal Salaam movie review: Aishwarya Rajinikanth is back with a bang - Hindustan Times
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Lal Salaam movie review: Aishwarya Rajinikanth back with a bang

Feb 09, 2024 05:59 PM IST

Lal Salaam movie review: Rajinikanth essays beautifully the dual role of a father and a community leader.

Lal Salaam movie review: Rajinikanth's film was one of the most anticipated films of 2024 for several reasons. Firstly, it sees director Aishwarya Rajinikanth back in action after eight years, and more importantly, she directs her father Superstar Rajinikanth as well. Lal Salaam, also starring Vishnu Vishal and Vikranth, is a story that revolves around cricket and religion and how people in a village politicise a popular sport. (Also Read – Aishwarya Rajinikanth interview: ‘Working with Appa in Lal Salaam was a masterclass’)

Lal Salaam movie review: Rajinikanth plays Moideen bhai, a Muslim leader, in Lal Salaam
Lal Salaam movie review: Rajinikanth plays Moideen bhai, a Muslim leader, in Lal Salaam

Thiru (Vishnu Vishal) and Moideen bhai’s (Rajinikanth) son Shamsuddin (Vikranth) have been rivals since they were kids and this spills over to the cricket field as well in their village. The Three Star team, started by Moideen bhai, was a winning team with both Thiru and Shamsu playing, but those jealous of Thiru’s success and with ulterior motives push him out of the team. Thiru creates the rival MCC team and the two teams end up representing different religions (Hindus and Muslims) in the village. Thus, the matches end up being called India vs Pakistan in the village, which was living in peaceful harmony earlier.

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Now, Moideen bhai lives in Mumbai with his family and it is his dream to see Shamsu, an excellent cricket player, play for India one day. But one match in the village becomes a turning point in Thiru and Shamsu’s life and changes everything. What happens to the two men? Does Shamsu play for India finally? Does Moideen bhai put an end to the boys’ rivalry and the village’s Hindu-Muslim conflict?

The first half of Lal Salaam revolves around the village, its people and the relationship between Hindus and Muslims there. It also sets up the rivalry between Thiru and Shamsu. It’s in the second half that the pace really picks up and we see Rajinikanth unleash his power-packed performance.

It is interesting to see Rajinikanth play Moideen bhai, a Muslim leader, on screen. Some of the dialogues given to him clearly exhibit his personal beliefs and are quite meaningful in today’s times. They are goosebumps-inducing moments, in fact.

In one scene, for instance, Moideen bhai says, “India is for Indians and I am an Indian Muslim. I was born here and I will die here. This is my home. We should not talk about caste or religion but humanity, and humanity is above all. Jai Hind.” Humanity above all is an aspect the Superstar has spoken about in real life as well.

That apart, Rajinikanth essays beautifully the dual role of a father, who has aspirations for his son, and a community leader, who believes that all people are one irrespective of religion or caste. He is measured in his actions and even the fight scenes are not over-the-top. Rajinikanth is the backbone of Lal Salaam.

Vishnu Vishal and Vikranth have essayed their roles well and are very natural as cricketers since they play cricket in real life as well. Their roles also have a graph and they have delivered. AR Rahman’s music is a value add for the film, combining both local elements and Sufi elements to showcase the two different religions.

Director Aishwarya Rajinikanth has made a film that is relevant in today’s political and social climate. She has come back to cinema with a bang and this movie will definitely be talked about. The story could have been written better by Vishnu Rangasamy – some plot points are not clearly explained and some scenes could have been edited out as they bring down the mood of the film.

Aishwarya Rajinikanth’s Lal Salaam is a social drama with a message. And the audience will love Rajinikanth as Moideen bhai and hopefully, they’ll take back home and to heart what he says on screen. Humanity above all.

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