Director Joshiy has made some eminently likeable movies in the military background in the past. Therefore expectation of an encore was there surrounding 'Salaam Kashmir', despite the release of the movie getting delayed many times over. But shoddy scripting and suprisingly half hearted direction has resulted in 'Salaam Kashmir' becoming a disappointing offering.
The attempt to concoct a family tale in a military premise fails to come to life. Sreekumar(Jayaram) lives along with his wife Suja(Mia) and daughter Sreekutty leading an apparently ordinary life. But we get a hunch he has some mysterious antecedents. He is not employed and takes care of household chores, while his wife struggles to makes ends meet with a job in a bank. The couple had married going against the wishes of parents and Suja belongs to a well to do Kanjirappilly family. The arrival of Tommy Eapen Devassy (Suresh Gopi) a flirtatious and headstrong army officer changes the course of the life of the couple. The naive doubts of Sreekumar regarding his wife having an affair with Tommy results in a discord in their marital life.The family setting is sprinkled with some good moments here and there and Suresh Gopi's efforts to cook up some humour enlivens the proceeding a wee bit.
Suja loses her job in the bank due to some unexpected developments and life becomes miserable for the couple. At the behest of Roy(Lalu Alex), Sreekumar gets a job as a security officer in a bar. But Tommy comes to know the antecedents of Sreekumar. The laidback man was once a promising military officer who developed a peculiar software to hack enemy programmes. But he became an eyesore for the militants and had to escape with dear life with his family. Whether Sreekumar takes up the unfinished task slaying his inner demons and how his life turns a corner after the criss crossing of his destiny with that of Tommy forms the rest of the narrative.
'Salaam Kashmir' had a powerful star cast going for it. The presence of Suresh Gopi and Jayaram crowd pullers in their own right should have been its spine. But the plot lacked the spine and sketchy characterizations let it down. Suresh Gopi plays the rather hedonist military officer in his customary style. His imposing frame and spectacular screen presence is the sole saving grace as Jayaram's character offers him bare minimum to perform. Mia is passable as a woman who goes through myriad crests and troughs in life. Rest of the cast including Vijayaraghavan as Mia's father, Lalu Alex,Krishnakumar etc. just make up the numbers.
Manoj Pillai's camera is the best thing about the movie. The beauty of Kashmir is captured with elan and in that sense movie turns a visual spectacle on rare occasions. Sethu's basic plot is hollow and scripting is jaded. The characters are shallow and even the best performers would have struggled in such an uninspiring set up. Joshiy's felicity in pulling out of rabbits from the hat is well known. He has made watchable movies even from wafer thin plots. But here the veteran looks unconvincing and 'Salam Kashmir' should go down among his disappointing efforts. The wait for this movie has been pretty long, but ultimately the end product left a lot to be desired.