During a crucial scene in the film, Duniya Vijay’s Salaga says, “World yavude coloural edru, ee underworld maatra kemp colouralle eruthe” (Even though the world is filled with different colours, only red is the colour of the underworld), and that pretty much explains the essence of the character, and the film Salaga is an incisive, brutal, and merciless gangster.
Both his character arc and the portrayal of the local underworld is almost seamless in this revenge drama. The action sequences are creative and crisp, the performances of character actors are on point and the film is technically brilliant. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say we haven’t seen a Kannada film like this in recent times.
A gang war initiated by Salaga, (Duniya Vijay) when he is in prison. But the real war begins when he is out of jail and the violence reaches a whole new level. Salaga’s mafia life is cut short when he encounters the strict police officer Samrat (Dhananjay).
Salaga touches upon the reasons why a person becomes a gangster and even the noble ones are cornered by society to embrace the darkness. And this is depicted using the transformation of the titular character. The intense tale also has a nice love angle involving Sanjana (Sanjana Anand) and family sentiments.
Salaga is a turning point for Duniya Vijay. The years of experience have helped him narrow on the right subject that suits his personality and popularity. The actor, who rose to popularity with Suri’s Duniya, has begun his second innings with this film.
Vijay who has co-written the script divides the film into two parts — the rise of a don and his back story. It would have been better if both the narratives were presented to us in parallel. Nevertheless, Salaga is a win for a debut director.
Dialogues by Maasthi are one of the main pillars of this gangster drama., and the best dialogue is delivered by Sudhi. The actor who is famously called Cockroach Tagaru will be called Savitri, post-Salaga. Vijay as the lead does not eat away the entire screen space, instead gives space for others.
He delivers a levelled performance and sticks to minimal dialogues. Dhananjay’s role is in complete contrast to his previous role in Tagaru, and he leaves no stone unturned for the role. The supporting cast Yash Shetty, Bhaskar BV, Achyuth Kumar, Sanjana Anand, Sridhara, and Sampath also grab attention.
Background score and songs by Charan Raj adds a lot of value to the film and elevates the emotions. A couple of the numbers are chartbusters already. However, he popular promotional track Tininga Mininga Tishaaa is not out to watch on the silver screen. Cinematographer Shiva Sena presents realistic visuals of the underworld and his eye for detail is impressive.
On the whole, Salaga brings the best out of Duniya Vijay, the director. With ample support from producer KP Sreekanth, the gangster film is sure to satisfy its target audience.