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Cine Tara Rating: ♥ ♥

Cast: Prakash Raj, Sneha, Tejas, Samyuktha, Urvashi, Brahmaji, MS Narayana
Director: Prakash Raj
Producer: K S Ramarao
Music: Mastro ‘Ilaiyaraja’
Cinematography: Preetha
Dialogues: Vallabha
Editor: Kishore Te
Lyrics: Chandrabose
Release date: 6 June, 2014

‘Salt N’ Pepper’ is a Malayalam new-gen film(Directed by Aasiq Abu) that was a marked departure from a regular Malayalam movies in 2011. Unconventional story,near to natural performances and heart touching narrative close to European story telling made this film an instant hit. When the film was bought by Prakash Raj for his ambitious trilingual directorial venture, curiosities were up. At last the film is out and it is time for us to see how this love story is cooked.

After a point in time and age in human life, our relationships are often taste based. Friends we chose, romantic inclinations we seek are often based on mutual taste. This film is about two mature individuals. Kalidas is an archeologist played by Prakash Raj who is not interested in marriage. Another is Gauri a dubbing artist played by Sneha, pushing her 30s as a spinster, because of a horoscopical mishap called Kujadosham. They engage in an accidental telephonic goof-up and become friends on phone. Unlike conventional youth, their conversations start from food and ends at food. Kalidas has taste for food and Gauri loves cooking.

A young maternal cousin Naveen played by Tejus is living with Kalidas. A younger cousin Meghana played by Samyuktha lives with Gauri. Because of an another human error, these both meet and fall in love. Unfortunately this young romantic love proves to be counter productive to the above said ‘taste based’ (literally too) love. How did it happen and eventually, did these two couple lived happily ever after is the film all about.

Because it is a remake, comparing it to the original cannot be escaped from. Even if you keep the comparisons aside Prakash Raj’s acting looks forced in the process of falling in love. Young couple played by new actors Tejas and Samyukha sure look good on screen but could not pull off the complex part of the film (climax) with their acting. They are amateurish and look lost in some of the crucial scenes. Sneha comes up with one of her best performances. Best thing about the film surely is Sneha. Seasoned actress Urvashi as Malayali chechi suited the role perfect. Aishwarya as Prakash Raj’s colleague plays her part. MS Narayana and Bramhaji couldn’t not add much to the film except for few pale laughs.

Brilliant cinematography by a woman cinematographer Preetha and soothing music by Mastro Ilayaraja saves the film to large extend.

Film though evolves from a noble and notable original, improvisations made by Prakash Raj as a screen writer fail to impress. Especially the hurried and contrived climax is a big let down. Further, sub-plot such as the Adivasi medicine-man fail to add up to the film. Prakash Raj’s direction is surely note worthy. However, his attention to detail and mastery in craft are made to fail because of his own casting decisions and bad writing, especially in the second half of the film. Where the emotion has to take over and expressions of love need simmering, Prakash Raj takes refuge in verbose of fire and leaves Ulavacharu Biryani half cooked.

Over all, its a film worth watching only for its novel concept and Sneha’s beautiful rendition of Gauri.

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