KUALA LUMPUR: The Tamil sports action film “Lal Salaam,“ which premiered worldwide on Feb 9, seamlessly blends cricket, faith, and unity, with an extended cameo role by Indian superstar Rajinikanth further enhancing its appeal.

Directed by Rajinikanth’s daughter, Aishwarya Rajinikanth, the film delves into the intricate dynamics of communal unity intertwined with the fervour of cricket, particularly in a small town nestled in west Tamil Nadu.

The film skillfully integrates its central theme, bolstered by the adept performances of its ensemble cast, featuring Rajinikanth as an aging father with aspirations to witness his son's cricketing prowess representing India on the global stage.

Bernama, which was invited to watch the movie’s premiere gala on Feb 9 organised by MSK Cinemas Sdn Bhd, found its plot unfolding in a nuanced, non-linear fashion, offering glimpses into the lives of townsfolk grappling with communal tensions perpetuated by political agendas.

While the screenplay masterfully builds suspense, it occasionally struggles to immerse audiences fully, owing to its intricate nature and the need for further character development.

A standout element of the film is the exploration of the rivalry between Thirunavukkarasu (Vishnu Vishal) and Samsudheen (Vikranth), childhood adversaries whose animosity spills onto the cricket field, fracturing the village along religious fault lines.

The first half of “Lal Salaam” serves as a foundation, acquainting viewers with the village’s inhabitants and their intricacies, with the narrative gaining momentum later, propelled by Rajinikanth’s captivating portrayal.

Rajinikanth's depiction of Moideen bhai, a Muslim leader advocating for his son's aspirations while championing communal harmony, is particularly commendable. His impassioned dialogue delivery resonates deeply, echoing sentiments of unity and patriotism that strike a chord with contemporary audiences.

Vishnu Vishal and Vikranth shine in their roles, bringing authenticity to the characters of cricketers caught in a larger socio-political conflict. The film's musical score, crafted by the legendary AR Rahman, further enriches the narrative depth.

Director Aishwarya makes a compelling return to filmmaking after an eight-year hiatus with “Lal Salaam,“ presenting a timely and relevant narrative in today’s socio-political landscape. While certain plot points may benefit from further elucidation and some scenes could be tightened through editing, the overarching message of communal unity shines resplendently.

In essence, “Lal Salaam” promises to be a poignant social drama, echoing its powerful message of “Humanity above all”—a sentiment that lingers long after the curtains close.

Meanwhile, Saradha Sivalingam, the Managing Director of MSK Cinemas Sdn Bhd, the distributor for “Lal Salaam” in Malaysia, stated that the movie was released across 73 cinemas in Malaysia and has garnered more than RM2 million within four days. -Bernama

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