Lal Salaam review: An essential mainstream film about communal harmony complemented by Rajinikanth’s swag

At times when propaganda films are widening the divide among people, 'Lal Salaam' comes as a daring and refreshing take.

ByArjun Ramachandran

Published:Feb 09, 2024

Lal Salaam is directed by Aishwarya Rajinikanth

Lal Salaam (Tamil)

09-02-2024, Drama, 2 hours 32 minutes U/A
  • Main Cast: Rajinikanth, Vishnu Vishal, Vikranth, Senthil, Jeevitha, Thambi Ramaiah, Ananthika Sanilkumar, Vivek Prasanna, and Thangadurai
  • Director: Aishwarya Rajinikanth
  • Producer: Lyca Productions
  • Music Director: AR Rahman
  • Cinematography: Vishnu Rangaswamy



I was curious to see what Aishwarya Rajinikanth would deliver in a movie titled Lal Salaam, which translates to “Red Salute” — a phrase used by the communists.

Interestingly, in her comeback film (after eight years), Aishwarya Rajinikanth talks about a burning issue — communal harmony.

Coincidentally, the Tamil film was released a day after communal violence erupted in Uttarakhand following the demolition of an illegal madrasa adjoining a mosque as per a court order.

Lal Salaam deals with communal tension and how Superstar Rajnikanth, as Moideen Bhai, handles the situation. Without much ado, let’s check the synopsis:


Lal Salaam is a sports drama

‘Lal Salaam’ is bankrolled by Lyca Productions. (X) (X)

Muradbad is a village in North Chennai where people of all religions live harmoniously. Moideen Bhai (Rajinikanth) hails from this village but settles in Mumbai as a textile magnate.

He is also a don in Mumbai, but the plot does not glorify this aspect. Moideen Bhai is shown as a person interested in peace and religious harmony.

Meanwhile, Muradbad has two different cricket clubs. Thiru(Vishnu Vishal) and Shamsu (Vikranth) are part of them.

Thiru is responsible for wrongdoing, which is mentioned at the very beginning of the film.

Thiru and Shamsu are childhood friends who become enemies as they grow up.

Shamsu is Moideen’s son, and his enmity with Thiru becomes a headache for Moideen Bhai.

The film has some subplots that give an account of flashback scenes involving the families of Moideen Bhai and Thiru.

Moideen is a godfather of many Muradbad. Though settled in Mumbai, he keeps track of the happenings in his native place.

He wants his son Shamsu to play for Team India. Shamsu too aspires to become a successful cricketer. But a tragic incident poses an obstacle to Shamsu in realising his dream.

The story has many dramatic moments — a tragedy, the issues faced by Thiru, the local chariot festival, and communal harmony.

The local politicians incite violence in the village for votes from a particular community.

The temple chariot festival in Muradbad and the cricket match are the key elements that the director has embedded in the script to strike a chord with the audience.

Also Read: Rajinikanth grabs eyeballs in ‘Lal Salaam’ trailer


Lal Salaam is bankrolled by Lyca Productions

‘Lal Salaam’ is bankrolled by Lyca Productions. (X)

The major highlight of Lal Salaam is its theme, which is based on establishing and maintaining communal harmony in society.

Aishwarya Rajinikanth, who also penned the screenplay, rightfully gives enough space to each character.

There are cliched elements like people being adamant about certain beliefs, especially during the climax. But it is a commendable effort to write a script that equally gives importance to Muslims and Hindus.

At times when propaganda films are being made to widen the divide among people, Lal Salaam is a daring and refreshing take on polarisation and communal peace.

The movie is not devoid of preachings, but it can be excused.

Further, Rajinikanth’s extended cameo role complements the plot. He is there both in the first half and second half.

His screen presence and actions will give goosebumps to the audience, especially his fans.

Lal Salaam is definitely a visual treat for Rajini fans.

Rajinikanth as Moideen Bhai

Rajinikanth appears as Moideen Bhai in Lal Salaam

Rajinikanth appears as Moideen Bhai in ‘Lal Salaam’. (X)

Though there have been speculations about Rajini being a right-wing supporter, given his spiritual interest, Kabali (2016) and Kala (2021) — both directed by PA Ranjith — presented a different aspect of his political ideologies.

In Lal Salam, Moideen Bhai protests against an announcement which compares a cricket match between the two clubs with that of India and Pakistan.

During a peace meeting in Muradbad, he says, “During the partition, Muslims who wanted to settle in Pakistan went there. We wanted to settle here (in India). So, we stayed back. We are Indians. I am an Indian, and I will die here (in India).”

While Rajinikanth is never critical of the ruling party in real life, the characters he plays on the screen are quite different from his political beliefs and ideologies.

Though AR Rahman’s songs are another highlight of the movie, the AI songs do not leave the needed impact.

What doesn’t work?

Lal Salaam has a good theme. But at some points, confusion prevails regarding whether the story is happening in the present or past.

The editing, especially in the initial scenes, could have been more crisper so that the confusion would have been avoided.

The story by Vishnu Rangaswamy needs more explanation in some parts.

Also Read: Rajinikanth clarifies his daughter Aishwarya’s ‘Sanghi’ statement


Rajinikanth as Moideen Bhai is the show stealer of Lal Salaam. His comic moments when he assumes that he is bowling to his son Shamsu is a good sequence.

Vishnu Vishal, as Thiru, has done a good job. He is a pivotal character responsible for many issues in the story. He is both subtle and has his moments.

Vikrant as Shamsu is decent. But some of his emotional moments with his family lack power.


Lal Salaam is a timely movie made on communal harmony. It is a welcome change for audiences who are otherwise getting bombarded with propaganda films.

(Views expressed here are personal.)