Director: Kiran Yadnyopavit
Producer: Calyx Media and Entertainment
Writer: Kiran Yadnyopavit
Cast: Vivek Chabukswar, Abhishek Bharate, Girish Kulkarni, Kishore Kadam, Atisha Naik, Jyoti Chandekar
Music: Rahul Ranade
Rating: * * * ½
By: Keyur Seta
Story Outline: In a picturesque village in Maharashtra lives Raghunath aka Raghya (Vivek Chabukswar), studying in seventh standard. His father (Girish Kulkarni) works with Mumbai police as a constable; he visits his family in between. Shankar aka Sada (Abhishek Bharate) is Raghya’s classmate and close friend. His father is an officer with the Indian Army.
Sada believes his father’s profession is more prestigious than Raghya’s father while Raghya feels vice-versa. Once, their school teacher (Kishore Kadam) hands over a voluntary task of collecting funds for a noble cause to the students. This exercise becomes the turning point in the friendship of Raghya and Sada.
Review: Kiran Yadnyopavit’s Taryanche Bait was about an obsessive desire of a child and his relation with his father. Although the storyline of his latest offering Salaam is entirely different, it also focuses on a fixated longing of a kid and his relation with someone, this time a friend. The similarities don’t end here as Salaam, just like Taryanche Bait, turns out to be a delightfully moving experience.
The film doesn’t follow a conventional storytelling method. Through the experiences and routine lives of the character, a plot emerges in the background. But this doesn’t test your patience whatsoever. Instead, you are treated to a series of pleasurable moments as the characters go about their business. The beautiful and utterly peaceful locations add to the delight. The effort to pay tribute to army officer and policemen is also laudable.
In the latter part of the second half, however, there comes a point when not only is your patience is tested but you are also left a bit confused by the turn of events. Thankfully, all your doubts are cleared by a soul-stirring climax that pleases you no ends! The simple manner in which Yadnyopavit has presented a pleasing message by just using the visual medium proves he is here to stay for long.
The scenic locations appear more beautiful through cinematographer Abhijit Abde’s lens. From Rahul Ranade’s music, the song ‘Timbacktoo’ is worth mentioning. His background score too goes well with the proceedings. But repeating a particular background tune too many times could have been avoided.
The performances of two kids play a large role in creating an impact. Vivek Chabukswar is excellent as Raghya! It is incredible how he can display such varied emotions at such a young age. Abhishek Bharate, as Sada, isn’t far behind either in a supporting role. Girish Kulkarni leaves a mark in a lovable cameo. Kishore Kadam too deserves a similar praise.
Atisha Naik, as Raghya’s mother, and Jyoti Chandekar, as his grandmother, also chip in with good performances. There are some well-enacted cameos also from Pravin Tarde, Shashank Shende, Savita Prabhune, Suhas Shirsat, Sanjay Khapre and few others.
Overall: Salaam is a gem of a film that deserves a salaam. But it is sad to see such lack of proper hype for such a good effort. Hence, it will struggle at the box office.