Cinema

Salaam Venky: A Poignant Tale

I have neither heard nor read about the film ‘Salaam Venky’. In fact, I accidentally watched the trailer of this 2022 movie as one among the innumerable messages passed on through the phone. The two-minute seventeen seconds mix of action, emotion and dialogues made me search and watch the movie.

Yes. Many times, truth is stranger than fiction. This movie is based on the book ‘The Last Hurrah’ by Shrikant Murthy centered on the life of an unfortunate real-life tale of a brave mother Sujata whose young son Venky aka Venkatesh who was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. This ailment is a slow killer starting with the leg muscles dysfunction leading ultimately to the worst conditions and the maximum age such kids can live is 26 years.

Yesteryear actor director Revathy made this subject into a poignantly moving tale of a strong but suffering mother and an exceptionally intelligent son. The son wants to end his life early so that his organs can be harvested for those who have lost them. Further, he doesn’t want to go to that extent of the worst finale and persuades his mother and doctor to go for euthanasia so that he can have a dignified death.

Since Euthanasia is legally not permitted in India, the mother goes to the court for permission to perform euthanasia and so he can die peacefully and with his organs going for the needy.  But, the case drags on and the law doesn’t permit it. Nevertheless, Venky dies before the court could give its negative verdict.

India, the most philosophical and conservative land, looks at Euthanasia as murder. I hope many would have heard about the nurse who had been physically abused and went into comatose and was made to live for more than two decades in one of Mumbai’s famous hospitals just for her natural death.

‘Salaam Venky’ is, indeed, a sad film. One cannot but feel sorry and feel a lump in the throat and eyes turning moist in many scenes which were well conceived and performed by the lead players especially by Kajol as Sujatha the mother and Vishal Jethwa as Venky. Not only them, but all the supporting actors also known and little known had done their roles with great restraint and conviction. The whole emotional drama is very much underplayed. 

Though a few reviews I read were favorable, I am sure this movie couldn’t have touched a chord in the minds of the public who are at present more attracted, entertained and engaged with crime thrillers replete with violence, gore and murders.

‘Salaam Revathy’ and her team for making a socially relevant and sensible film with a message. 

Online in Zee5. 

12-Feb-2023

More by :  G Swaminathan

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