June 23, 2024

Salaam Venky Review {2.0/5} & Review Rating

SALAAM VENKY is the story of a man’s right to die. Venkatesh Krishnan aka Venky (Vishal Jethwa) is 24 and is suffering from DMD (Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy), a degenerative disease in which the muscles stop working one by one as one ages. In the present day, Venky can no longer walk and is wheelchair-bound. Her mother Sujata (Kajol) is a single parent and has single-handedly taken care of Venky. He was at home when suddenly, his condition got serious. He’s rushed to the hospital where Dr Shekhar (Rajeev Khandelwal), who has been treating him for years, realizes that Venky’s end is near. Even Venky is aware of it and he asks her mother to fulfil his last wish. He wants to go for euthanasia and then donate his organs to those in need. In case he dies naturally, some of his organs will not be worth donating. He doesn’t want such a situation to arise. Sujata, obviously, disapproves of his plan because as a mother, she can’t agree to this idea. But soon, Sujata finds merit in Venky’s suggestion. She agrees and decides to go to Court, seeking mercy killing for her child. But in India, euthanasia is illegal and it can result in a long, courtroom battle. What happens next forms the rest of the film.

Salaam Venky

SALAAM VENKY is based on the book ‘The Last Hurrah’ by Shrikant Murthy. Sammeer Arora’s adapted story (additional screenplay by Kausar Munir) raises an important issue. Sammeer Arora’s screenplay, however, is plain boring in the first half. The writing gets better in the second half but still fails to impress due to certain loose ends. Kausar Munir’s dialogues are better and uplift certain scenes.

Revathy’s direction is average. She handles some scenes with élan like Venky’s breakdown, Sujata revealing that she is the only mother who wakes up her child in the middle of the night etc. The romantic track is cute. A few courtroom moments are also arresting.

On the flipside, the story doesn’t move in the first half. Venky joking about his death becomes repetitive. The intermission is unexciting and it won’t be surprising if moviegoers start walking out at this point from the cinema halls. It’s only in the second half that there’s some movement and some exciting characters are introduced. Even then, the problems continue. Sujata’s backstory is unconvincing. Viewers never come to know what Sujata does for a living and how she is able to bear the hospital expenses. Lastly, the character of Aamir Khan will leave viewers puzzled as the director failed to give an explanation about him.

Salaam Venky Official Trailer | Kajol, Vishal Jethwa, Aamir Khan | Directed by Revathy

The performances also save the film to some extent. Kajol underplays her part and it works in her favour. This was a challenging part but she played the part with perfection. Vishal Jethwa, too, had to portray a difficult role and is terrific. The way he has displayed the progression of the disease is absolutely natural. Rajeev Khandelwal is dependable. Rahul Bose (Parvez), Priya Mani (Nanda Kumar) and Aahana Kumra (Sanjana) leave a huge mark. Prakash Raj (Anupam Bhatnagar) makes his presence felt in the role of a conscientious but practical judge. Aneet Padda (Nandini) is cute and does well. The same goes for Riddhi Kumar (Sharda; Venky’s sister). Ananth Mahadevan (Guruji) is wasted. Maala Parvathi (Sister Clara) is decent while Kamal Sadanah (Prasad) has limited screen time. Aamir Khan is lovely but his character is bizarre.

Mithoon’s music is not of chartbuster variety and moreover, there are too many songs in the film. ‘Dhan Te Nan Zindagi’ is uplifting but is forced in the film. ‘Anda Bata Pratha’, ‘Jo Tum Saath Ho’ and ‘Yu Tere Hue Hum’ are forgettable. Mithoon’s background score is well-tuned.

Ravi Varman’s cinematography is lovely and the use of light and silhouette adds to the impact. Sandeep Sharad Ravade’s production design is theatrical. Radhika Mehra’s costumes are realistic. Manan Sagar’s editing is not upto the mark as the film should have been shorter.

On the whole, though SALAAM VENKY has some touching moments and bravura performances, the film fails to impress due to a very boring first half and an insipid script. The lack of awareness and excitement around the film will heavily affect its prospects at the box office.

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