Ram Venkat Srikar
To such an extent that you cannot take it seriously, even if awful things are happening and we are supposed to care for the characters. The characters are so shallow that most exist either only to cry, feel bad, or make others feel bad.
Keeping the central event of the film concealed for most of the film is an interesting but troubling screenplay choice. The screenplay becomes redundant and exhausting as the story barely progresses till the actual reveal. And neither is the drama in between strong enough.
Moideen Bhai (Rajinikanth) shows his sharp weapon, covered in blood from all the stabbing, and asks him to differentiate between the blood of Hindus and Muslims. The moment turns out to be funnier because the seriousness of this moment lends it a satire-like quality.
You expect Rajini's majestic presence to make a difference. It helps to an extent but cannot salvage the monotony and blandness of the storytelling. The film really could have used some novelty to work as a whole.
The lack of impact is Lal Salaam's biggest enemy. A character we are supposed to care for dies of a heartbreak, quite literally and we feel nothing. And a character loses their hand in what's supposed to be a life-changing personal loss and we barely flinch.
Another Problem with Lal Salaam is that the film prioritises the presence of Moideen Bhai (Rajinikanth), oftentimes intercutting with him even when a moment is not about him, just to remind us of his importance.
152-minute-long extension of what could have been a WhatsApp forward. The social message is important, no doubt about it, but it's also important that the strong message exists in an equally strong film. That's where Lal Salaam misses the mark.