Salaam Venky REVIEW: Kajol starrer narrates a heart-wrenching mother-son story that will make you reach for a box of tissues

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Film: Salaam Venky

Director: Revathy

Star cast: Kajol, Vishal Jethwa, Rahul Bose, Rajeev Khandelwal, Aahana Kumra, Prakash Raj, Priya Mani, Riddhi Kumar, Aneet Padda, Jai Neeraj, Maala Parvathi, Kamal Sadanah and Aamir Khan

Bollywood Bubble Ratings: 3.5 stars

Salaam Venky REVIEW:

‘Zindagi badi honi chahiye lambi nahi’ – Anand. Remember this iconic dialogue from the Rajesh Khanna starrer? It taught us how to live life to the fullest, leaving all the resentments, regrets and disappointments at bay and living in the moment. Well, Kajol starrer Salaam Venky also has a similar setting but with a different angle and concept. Salaam Venky narrates a beautiful yet heart-wrenching story of a mother and son who is physically ill. It tells us how one should take life with a pinch of salt. It teaches us one should live in the moment and spend the most with loved ones. The movie also educates us about euthanasia which means the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease and Duchenne muscular dystrophy disorder.

Salaam Venky is that emotional movie that can either make you feel depressed or can completely change your perception of seeing life. It all depends upon your lens and how you see it. Since it is also a movie about a mother and son’s bond, it has all the power to make you teary-eyed. So if you’re a softie, I would suggest keeping tissues because you would be needing them. Movies based on the relationship between a mother and their children always touch your heart. Whenever you’re in pain, the first name or person you think is your mother. A mother is not a person but an emotion that defines humans and who gives purpose to our lives. Kajol starrer is also the kind of movie that will move you within.

Considering that Salaam Venky would be high on emotions, I like how Revathy (director) also added doses of humour that will surely make you chuckle if not laugh out loud. Those light moments in the movie only make it quite intriguing and pleasing. In the movie, we see a hard-working mother whose sole motive is to see her son healthy and on his feet. She puts everything at stake be it her life or her marriage, Sujata is hell-bent to keep her son Venky alive. On the other hand, a 24-year-old boy named Venky is a happy-go-lucky man who only finds positive things and happiness in little things. Knowing he can leave the world any moment, he still jokes about his death like it is no big deal. I like how they balanced the humour and emotional value nicely.

Venky then decides to donate his organ, thinking that someone somewhere must be in need of those organs and if he dies at least someone else will have the chance to survive. Sujata is absolutely against his request about dying on his will, thinking that all her life she has battled to keep him alive. However, Sujata then agrees to his request but after learning that euthanasia is illegal in India and she might have to appeal to the court for the same, she visits a lawyer and seeks help. Sujata who is completely shattered inside strives hard in court to fulfil her son’s last wish which is death.

I like how Revathy captured the struggle and pain of a mother when her son is battling for life. Through her storytelling, the director also raises questions in viewers’ minds regarding euthanasia and if a person should be granted the wish of painless killing or willing to kill themselves. It makes you think if this means abetment to suicide or murder. It makes you think that on one side Sujata should not accept the request and on the other side, it will also make you think that Venky’s decision is for a Nobel cause.

The concept of Salaam Venky not only shows us how to live life but also educates us about euthanasia which is still an important debate to discuss. Honestly, I didn’t even know if there was a law on this, I thought the ‘Iccha mrityu’ concept only existed during the time of Mahabharata or Ramayana; however, I learned that it is a punishable offence in India and is still illegal in the country.

Story:

It is a story of Sujata and her son Venky who navigate through the most challenging situations one can ever face but with a smile. A boy named Venkateshwar who suffers from a rare genetic disease called Duchenne muscular dystrophy – a disease that doesn’t help you build proteins in your body and gets worse over time. However, his mother Sujata ensures to do everything in her power to help him. From his medical checkups to fighting with her partner in order to keep him alive, Sujata pushes her boundaries just to keep her son alive. As his health deteriorates, Venky requests euthanasia so that he can donate his organs to the needy. During the course, Venky teaches the true meaning of living Big. It is based on a true story of a life well lived.

Star performances:

Kajol amazes me in Salaam Venky. She essays the role of Venky’s mother Sujata who is only living her life so that she can give a healthy life to her son. Kajol as a mother is phenomenal, even though she is just acting on the big screen, she convinced me that Venky indeed is her own son. Sujata is broken from the inside but the one thing that keeps her going is her son’s breath. From showing her vulnerability to being there for her kids, you will feel every emotion of Kajol and that’s the power she oozes with her eyes and body language. There’s a scene in the movie where her son is crying and only wants his mother. When Sujata gets to know she rushes to him, to console him. It might be a very small scene but Kajol makes it 10 times more impactful. The concern, the vulnerability, and the helplessness, all can be seen at once on Kajol’s face.

After starring opposite Rani Mukerji in Mardaani 2, Vishal makes his second appearance on the big screen with Salaam Venky where he plays the titular role. I must say that he has definitely grown from his Bollywood debut. He challenges himself and that was eye-grabbing for me. Yes, there have been parts that reminded me of Mardaani such as his laugh but it is avoidable. Moreover, his character has a lot of resemblances from Rajesh Khanna’s Anand. Just like him, Venky also jokes about his death and gives important life lessons to people around him. Since it is based on a true story, I’m considering that the real Venky also took inspiration from Anand which made him behave in that way. Vishal as Venky did a fair job and I’m sure he has the potential to prove his mettle if only he chooses challenging roles. The challenge comes when you have to act with a physical disability, your body language becomes restricted at that point and acting with limited space can be a little challenging. Interesting, I won’t say Vishal did it flawlessly but he pulls off the character with conviction.

It’s so good to see Rajeev Khandelwal again onscreen after a hiatus. He essays the role of Venky’s doctor Shekar. He is seen in a limited role but shines throughout. The banter between a doctor and his patient is just too cute and refreshing. Also, if I get a doctor like Shekar, I would be always in the hospital only. (:p) Nevertheless, Rajeev does a fair job in the movie.

There’s also a cameo of Aamir Khan in the movie. Though everything is quite out and open since Salaam Venky is based on a true story, Aamir’s character is a mystery that I don’t want to ruin for you guys. It’s better to discover that by yourself.

The movie sees a lot of cameos in the movie, making it an interesting watch. Aahana Kumra, Prakash Raj, Priya Mani, Rahul Bose have limited roles but all of them have given their best to the roles which helped the story to go forward.

Direction/screenplay:

Revathy, the director of Salaam Venky, narrates a beautiful story of a mother and son but it also comes with its own share of flaws. Though her direction is not as crisp as I or one would expect, Revathy still manages to put up a good story in front of the audience.

Drawbacks:

There are certain things that are off-putting in the movie. First is definitely the pace of the film. It seems a bit stretched. Salaam Venky is a story based on the book titled: “The Last Hurrah” by Shrikant Murthy. Though I have not read the book, I don’t understand the presence of Aamir’s character in the movie. I felt the character was necessary as it didn’t add any value to it. Thirdly, it is the camera angle, there are times it seems like it is been shot in a flimsy way. From ultra close-up shots to its abrupt change of angle, it didn’t seem smooth at all. The movie picks the pace a bit in the second part where we get to see the court drama.

Conclusion:

Overall in the review, Kajol starrer Salaam Venky is an emotional film that is bound to make you all teary-eyed. You can take away two things from this film – one, a mother’s sacrifice and dedication for their children, and the second, how to live your life to the fullest. I’m going with 3.5 stars as the film narrates the beautiful story of a mother and her sacrifices for her son.

Watch the Salaam Venky Trailer after reading the review:

 

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Also read: Kajol is a caring mother in the new poster of upcoming movie Salaam Venky-See PIC