Salaam Venky Movie Review: Kajol manages to rise above the melodrama fueled background music

What do you do when a movie shows all of its merchandise before you can properly settle into your seat? Literally within a minute of opening it.”Hello FinkyIn explanatory mode, it tells how its 24-year-old, incredibly brave, main character spent many years of his life fighting against DMD (Duchenne muscular dystrophy), a degenerative disease with no cure. And how his incredibly brave mother (Kajol) fought by his side every inch of the way. Just in case we don’t get the point, Venkatesh aka Venky (Vishal Jethwa) will be seen lying on his bed, sweet-talking to his mother, coming up in a crisis, and being rushed to the hospital, where his supportive doctor (Rajeev Kandelwal) declares him out of danger, But he will never be able to go home again.

Nothing I told you can be considered a spoiler, because the movie is based on the real-life story of a young man with the same name whose demand to end his life took a legal detour, and how he didn’t. See euthanasia-induced death not as an end, but as a new beginning for a number of desperate organ recipients.

In 2004’s Phir Milenge, about a man who struggles with the challenges of his AIDS diagnosis, director Revathy gives us a stirring story of hope against all odds. On this subject, the subject of which is a straightforward tug at the heartstrings, she avoids all understatement. Each sequence is created to fill you with pity, and leave you with tears.

Watch Salaam Venky movie trailer:

It’s hard to feel sorry for the young man who uses humor to extricate himself from the horror of impending death, but the first half is nothing but a montage of scenes that look like fillers. Film-obsessed Venky exchanges sweet treats with a childhood sweetheart who also happens to be visually impaired. Venky takes care of his favorite nurse, and teaches her to play chess. Venky was hopeful with his long lost sister, who has now been restored to the family. But most of all, Venky is the son whom his ‘mother’ has nurtured with the blood of her heart. It’s supposed to be poignant, but it’s just annoying, because it’s done with such clarity.

The real movie kicks off after the interval, as an assistant lawyer (Rahul Bose), a daring TV reporter (Ahana Kumra), a feisty prosecutor (Priyamani), and a conscientious judge (Prakash Raj) join the panel. There are a few moments where you moved me, apart from yourself: How can you remain discreet in the face of a fading young life? Kamal Sadhana, who co-starred in his first film with Kajol (Bakhudi, 1992) appears after a long time, as does Khandelwal. The other characters are in the service of Jethwa, who does everything by book. Kajol was the only one to rise above the script, giving us a pure portrait of the mother and her pain. For convenience, she has a star companion (Aamir Khan, in an extended cameo), who comes and goes, and the rest is just background music fueled by melodrama.

Salaam Venky Film Crew: Kajol, Vishal Jethwa, Rahul Bose, Rajiv Khandelwal, Ahana Kumra, Prakash Raj, Kamal Sadhanh
Salaam Venky director: Revathi
Salaam Venky movie rating: 2 stars


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