Salaar Movie Review: Salaar: Part 1 – Ceasefire (transl. Commander: Part 1 – Ceasefire) is a 2023 Indian Telugu-language epic action film written and directed by Prashanth Neel, and produced by Vijay Kiragandur. The film features an ensemble cast including Prabhas, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Shruti Haasan, Jagapathi Babu, Bobby Simha, Sriya Reddy, John Vijay, Tinnu Anand, Easwari Rao, Ramachandra Raju, Brahmaji, Devaraj, Mime Gopi, Saurav Lokesh, Vajrang Shetty, and Pramod Panju. Set in the fictional dystopian city-state of Khansaar, where monarchy still exists, the story follows the friendship between Deva (Prabhas), the exiled prince of Khansaar, and Varadha (Prithviraj), the current prince. When a coup d’état is planned by Varadha’s father’s ministers and relatives, Varadha enlists Deva’s help to become Khansaar’s undisputed ruler.

The initial storyline was inspired by Prashanth Neel’s debut film Ugramm (2014) and serves as the first installment of a two-part series. Officially announced in December 2020 under the title Salaar, it was later confirmed in July 2023 as Salaar: Part 1 – Ceasefire. Principal photography began in January 2021 and took place sporadically over nearly three years, concluding in late 2023. Filming locations included Telangana, Italy, and Budapest. Production faced several challenges, including the pandemic, reshoots, and VFX delays, which resulted in multiple postponements of the release date. The film’s music was composed by Ravi Basrur, with cinematography by Bhuvan Gowda and editing by Ujwal Kulkarni.

Salaar was theatrically released on 22 December 2023 in standard and IMAX formats, receiving generally positive reviews from critics. Praises were directed at Neel’s direction, story, world-building, characterization, cast performances, action sequences, music, background scores, cinematography, technical aspects, and the realistic depiction of modern-day monarchy.

The film was a commercial success, earning ₹715 crore on a ₹270 crore budget. It became the highest-grossing Telugu film of 2023, the highest-grossing South Indian film of 2023, the third highest-grossing Telugu film of all time, the fourth highest-grossing Indian film of 2023, and the second highest-grossing A-rated Indian film of all time after the Hindi film Animal.

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In 1985, Deva and Vardharaja “Vardha” Mannar are inseparable friends in Khansaar, a powerful city-state ruled by a monarchy. Vardha’s father, Raja Mannar, commands the destruction of the Shouryaanga tribe, leading to a mob attacking Deva and his mother. Vardha intervenes and secures their safety by offering an important territory. Before leaving Khansaar, Deva vows to return when Vardha needs him.

In 2017, business tycoon Krishnakanth’s daughter, Aadhya, travels to Varanasi from New York for her mother’s last rites, alerting Krishnakanth’s old rivals who plot to abduct her. Krishnakanth enlists Bilal, who protects Aadhya and takes her to Deva’s place in Tinsukia, Assam. Aadhya pretends to be an English teacher at a school where Deva’s mother is the headmaster. When Aadhya is tracked to Tinsukia, Deva’s mother orders him to protect her. Despite her plans to escape with Deva, Aadhya and Bilal are taken away by Rinda, marked with Khansaar’s emblem.

Deva’s mother signals him to rescue them. Deva stops the convoy, catching the attention of Vardha and his step-sister Radha Rama Mannar, who orchestrated Aadhya’s abduction to avenge an old grievance against Krishnakanth. Radha aims to pit Deva against Vardha, as opposing Khansaar’s seal is punishable by death—a rule Deva established seven years earlier. Bilal recounts Khansaar’s history to Aadhya.

In 1127, the tribes of Mannars, Shouryaangas, and Ghaniyaars consolidate their influence over Khansaar. After India’s independence in 1947, Shiva Mannar, the Mannar tribe’s chieftain, refuses to join India, signing a pact for Khansaar’s autonomy and continuing monarchical rule. Khansaar is divided into 101 provinces with governors (Kapus) and noblemen (Doras), under the Karta (king).

In 1985, Raja Mannar usurps the throne by killing Dhaara, the Shouryaanga tribe chieftain, and massacring the tribe. He appoints close allies and family as Doras, including his brother-in-law Om, his second son Rudra, and son-in-law Bhaarava. His daughter Radha Rama becomes the regent. In 2010, Bhaarava convinces Raja Mannar to reconcile with Vardha, who was banished for giving away territory. Raja Mannar instructs Ranga, one of the Doras, to relinquish his position for Vardha, sparking resentment and opposition from Rudra and Radha Rama.

Raja Mannar delegates his duties to Radha Rama and leaves Khansaar. Radha proposes a ceasefire, opposed by many, leading to a vote. Doras bring mercenary armies to seize power. Vardha calls Deva, who returns to Khansaar and endures humiliation from the Doras. Deva eventually kills Vishnu, son of Dora Narang, for abusing girls. Narang, instigated by Bhaarava, targets Vardha, but Deva kills Narang in a trial, shocking everyone.

Vardha, Deva, and their allies are imprisoned. On voting day, Raja Mannar returns and votes for the ceasefire, but Vardha breaks the tie, ending the ceasefire. Chaos ensues as factions vie for the throne. Vardha and Deva defeat Ranga’s men and kill Ranga. Raja Mannar reveals to Radha Rama that Bhaarava is from the Shouryaanga tribe, seeking revenge for the 1985 massacre. Rudra allies with Om for power.

Bhaarava’s ally, Thiru, reveals Deva’s true identity as Devaratha Raisaar, Dhaara’s son and rightful heir to Khansaar’s throne. Vardha acknowledges Deva as his Salaar, and Deva’s loyalists recognize him as a Shouryaanga tribesman.

Main Casts

Prabhas Deva  “Salaar” Prithviraj Sukumaran Vardha
Shruti Haasan Aadhya Easwari Rao Deva’s mother
Sriya Reddy Radha Rama Mannar Jagapathi Babu Raja Mannar


In August 2020, Prabhas approached Prashanth Neel to direct his next film after being impressed by Neel’s debut, Ugramm (2014). The production was slated to begin in 2022, as both were tied up with prior commitments—Prabhas with Radhe Shyam and Adipurush, and Neel with KGF: Chapter 2. By November, it was reported that Neel was planning to start his next directorial venture with either N. T. Rama Rao Jr. or Prabhas. On December 2, Hombale Films announced that Neel would be collaborating with Prabhas on a Telugu-language film titled Salaar, marking Neel’s first Telugu project.

A muhuratam pooja ceremony was held on January 15, 2021, in Hyderabad, with the film’s cast and crew in attendance. Ravi Basrur was brought on to compose the score, continuing his collaboration with Neel for the fourth consecutive film. Bhuvan Gowda and Ujwal Kulkarni were recruited for cinematography and editing, respectively. Initially planned as a single-part movie, the production house announced on July 8, 2023, that Salaar would be released in two parts, with the first part subtitled Ceasefire.

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