Prabhas’ Salaar Part 1: Ceasefire is a masterclass on delayed gratification - Hindustan Times
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Prabhas’ Salaar is a masterclass on delayed gratification: Delving deep into Prashanth Neel's film

ByNeeshita Nyayapati
Dec 23, 2023 06:11 AM IST

Salaar is the film Prabhas needed post Baahubali. And it looks like even he knows it, given his performance. Read for a spoiler-free breakdown of the film.

There’s only one way to describe Salaar Part 1: Ceasefire to someone who hasn’t watched it. It’s the lovechild of director Prashanth Neel’s previous work, Ugramm and KGF, carefully curated to suit Prabhas’ style. But to classify it as just that would be an understatement. Salaar is an almost 3-hour-long saga that delves into the politics, relationships and betrayals of the fictional world of Khansaar. That’s not to say it’s blasé, because its style is its USP. Everytime Prabhas walks in slow motion, you know someone’s about to meet their maker…But I digress. (Also Read: Salaar review: Prabhas makes a stellar comeback, film snatches Animal's 'most violent movie of the year' crown)

Prabhas in a fight scene from Salaar
Prabhas in a fight scene from Salaar

Prabhas plays Deva in Salaar
Prabhas plays Deva in Salaar

Prashanth delays gratification

Prashanth practises the art of delayed gratification to not just make Salaar an engaging ride, but to ensure you come back for more in the sequel, the title for which is revealed in the end. This is not a speaking part for Prabhas, he just doesn’t talk much in the film. Everyone else does the talking for him, mostly to remind the audience how feared he is. Which is why, when he does talk, he’s given dialogues that are designed to make you think or whistle.

He practises the same when it comes to violence. You expect Prabhas to hit the ground running from the get-go, especially when the film offers him the scope to. I mean, isn’t that what commercial cinema is all about? Instead, Prashanth practises restraint. He doesn’t let his hero’s fists fly whenever and wherever you expect them to. So, when they do - I mean really do - you get why the mere thought of him letting loose makes everyone around him shake with fear.

The world building

Since Baahubali, Prabhas has been picking films that rely on you suspending disbelief. They bank on you giving in to the world the director is selling you. In Saaho, you needed to invest in the city of Waaji enough to care about what happened to his character. In Radhe Shyam, you need to care about a man who can predict the future. Then there was Adipurush…the less said the better.

The good news is the city looks great. But…Prashanth does enough for you to care about the world of Khansaar, but not enough for you to know which characters or events are important yet. He rushes through the introduction of the three clans in the region, the horrific story of how the man currently ruling the land came into power. The world of Khansaar is important, because the sequel depends on you caring about a harrowing event that took place there. But at the end of Part 1, you can’t help but feel that more time could’ve been spent in setting up this world properly and less on scenes that feel unnecessary.

Prabhas and Prithviraj Sukumaran play childhood friends in Salaar
Prabhas and Prithviraj Sukumaran play childhood friends in Salaar

The cycle of violence

While the makers have often spoken about how Salaar will be a violent film and there’s quite a few body parts flying around, it’s unexpected for Prashanth to also bring in the cycle of violence in this film. It’s not a topic that’s discussed with long and weary monologues or shown in scenes that are on the nose. But when a character says in the film, “We are all violent men,” it feels like no one in Khansaar can escape the cycle no matter how much they try to.

They are destined to carry on the violence from their ancestors, it’s the very foundation the lawless and faithless city stands on. This point is made all the more clear with the way the climax plays out. This very violence testing Prabhas’ Deva and Prithviraj Sukumaran’s Varadha’s loyalty and friendship is something that’s teased but not shown yet. And it’s not just the men. Even Deva’s mother, played by Easwari Rao, Shruti Haasan’s Aadhya and Sriya Reddy, who’s terrific as Radha Rama Mannar aren’t spared. Which makes you wonder just how bloody the sequel would be.

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