There’s a lot of plot in Salaar Part 1. Technically, the two halves of the film have enough “substance” to exist as two separate standalone movies. Then, it would’ve been easier to process. But Prashanth Neel wanted his target audience, as well as casual viewers, to experience a three-hour-long sensory overload. Hence, here we are. So, the first half of the film is all about Deva saving a girl called Aadhya from the goons of Radha Rama Mannar. During the pre-interval spot, it’s revealed that Deva and Vardha, who once used to be besties, are each other’s sworn enemies. The second half of the film is about the genesis of Khansaar in 1127, its three clans (Mannar, Ghaniar, and Shouryaanga), its erasure from India’s history after 1947, and the ascension of Raja Mannar to the throne by killing every living member of the Shouryaanga tribe. Raja’s decision to prepare his son, Vardha, as the next king of Khansaar had disastrous consequences. Radha Rama tried to calm things down with a ceasefire. But Deva’s entry into Khansaar led to a full-blown civil war, with Vardha aiming for the throne of Khansaar and Deva accepting his role as the son of the slain Shouryaanga hero, Dhaara.
Why did Krishnakanth side with Deva?
The first question that popped into my head while watching the second half of the film was, “Why was Krishnakanth relying on Deva for his daughter’s safety even though he was a member of Raja Mannar’s advisory committee?” Throughout the flashback sequence set in 2010, we saw that Krishnakanth never really sided with Deva or Vardha. In fact, he was a character who remained in the background, occasionally helping Radha Rama with the statistics of the votes for the ceasefire. We never saw his wife or his daughter. But, for some reason, the inciting incident for Salaar was the abduction of his daughter, Aadhya. I think that, at some point during the civil war in Khansaar, Krishnakanth wanted to get out of there to take care of his wife and daughter. The walls of Khansaar didn’t allow anyone to go in or go out if they didn’t have proper authorization.
Since Krisnakanth knew all about the inner workings of the empire, Raja Mannar probably didn’t allow him to leave. That’s why he must have turned to Deva for safe passage, thereby putting Krishnakanth in Deva’s debt for the rest of his life. Or it can be the other way around. Maybe, during the civil war, Deva needed to get out of Khansaar, and Krishnakanth was the one who had a change of heart, and he helped him out, thereby putting Deva in Krishnakanth’s debt. Either way, it’s obvious that Deva and Krishnakanth formed some kind of bond that made Krishnakath trust Deva with Aadhya’s life. It remains to be seen how Aadhya and Deva’s relationship is going to evolve. She came to India to scatter her mother’s ashes (I hope Aadhya’s mother died of natural causes and wasn’t killed by someone from Khansaar), and she didn’t plan to come across Deva. However, due to a twist in fate, their paths have crossed. I just don’t want them to be lovers because Prabhas and Shruti Haasan have no chemistry whatsoever, and Prashanth Neel doesn’t know how to romance.
Why did Radha Rama Mannar want to kill Deva?
There is a vast difference between the Radha Rama Mannar that we saw in 2017 and the one we saw in 2010. When Raja Mannar gave the reins of Khansaar to Radha, she was pretty level-headed. I mean, she was the one who had called the ceasefire and was constantly advising Vardha to avoid getting killed by those who were against the ceasefire. But, by the end of Salaar, she learned about her husband’s true identity. That must have taken a toll on her. It’s safe to say that between 2010 and 2017, either Deva or Vardha killed Raja Mannar so that Vardha could sit on the throne, and that obviously affected Radha on an emotional level. On top of that, there was the civil war between all the factions formed by the ministers of Khansaar.
Given how we didn’t see most of the old ministers in Vardha’s court, I am guessing that Vardha and Deva killed all of them, and Radha had to watch all that bloodshed. Maybe that traumatized her and caused her to leave Khansaar for good. However, she didn’t extinguish her anger against Deva and pounced on the opportunity to pit Vardha against Deva. That can cause viewers to think that she’ll be on Deva’s side in Salaar 2. I don’t think that is going to be the case. I think she will go after Deva because she has seen her father kill the people of Shouryaanga. Given that Deva is a member of the Shouryaanga clan, she’d like to complete her father’s task. If Vardha was instrumental in the death of Raja Mannar, then she would want him dead, too. But, given how she doesn’t have the means to kill Vardha or Deva, her best hope is to get them to fight each other and die in the process, thereby clearing the path for her ascension to the throne. What are the chances of that happening? Almost zero.
Where did Raja Mannar leave Khansaar so suddenly?
The whole debacle in Salaar: Part 1 happened because Raja Mannar randomly decided to leave Khansaar. He didn’t specify why he was leaving. He made an out-of-pocket request to Ranga in order to make Vardha the next ruler of Khansaar. He told Radha to take care of things. And then he just left! I don’t think he was stupid enough to not anticipate the consequences of his decision. Did he really think that after stirring the pot so wildly, absolutely nothing was going to happen, and his ministers would just accept Vardha as the next leader? Also, what was so important that he had to leave Khansaar and only return when the situation was on the brink of utter chaos? Initially, I thought that Raja Mannar was going to act as the connective tissue between Salaar and the KGF movies (especially since the film had a “thank you” note for Rocking Star Yash). However, Neel has explicitly stated that there are no connections between the two franchises. Hence, that theory has gone out of the window. What about Raja Mannar’s third child? Someone who will challenge Vardha for the throne? That sounds plausible and urgent enough to make Raja leave Khansaar so suddenly, doesn’t it? Other than that, I can’t think of anything else. If you have any theories, please share them with the rest of us. That said, I hope Salaar 2 clears the air regarding Raja Mannar’s weird leave of absence.
How Did the Shouryaanga Regroup Under Bhaarava’s Leadership?
During the final minutes of Salaar: Part 1, it was revealed that Raja Mannar had failed to eradicate the Shouryaanga clan. Yes, he did kill Dhaara, i.e., Deva’s father. And yes, he and his ministers killed a lot of the people of Shouryaanga. But some of them managed to hide in the sewers until the ethnocide came to an end. And then, under the leadership of Bhaarava, they trained to become some of the fiercest warriors in the world, and all of them were fueled by the sole purpose of burning Raja Mannar and his throne. In addition to that, Bhaarava managed to marry Raja Mannar’s daughter, Radha, thereby gaining access to Khansaar’s inner workings. I do think that it was stupid and premature of that dying Shouryaanga dude to reveal Bhaarava’s plans. I guess he knew that Bhaarava was so prepared to take care of Raja that warning the enemy wouldn’t cause any change in the plans of the Shouryaangas. With all that said, all the surviving Shouryaangas must have gone through a radical transformation to become so capable in terms of physical and psychological warfare. I mean, Bhaarava managed to woo Radha without raising any eyebrows. How?! I am guessing that all this will be explored in Salaar: Part 2. The movie is titled Shouryaanga Parvam. So, they’ll definitely have the spotlight.
Why did Deva and Vardha become enemies?
At the end of Salaar: Part 1, it was revealed that Vardha wanted to rule over Khansaar, but Deva was also worthy of ruling over Khansaar because he was the son of the slain Shouryaanga leader, Dhaara (who was killed by Vardha’s father, Raja Mannar). It’s possible that throughout their childhood and when Vardha and Deva joined hands during the cancellation of the ceasefire, they weren’t aware of the fact that Raja Mannar was Dhaara’s killer. The movie makes it seem like Deva wasn’t aware that he was the son of Dhaara. But I don’t think that was the case. He was old enough to remember his father. So, he was always aware of his connection to Khansaar. But I don’t think he knew that he was besties with the son of his father’s killer. I am guessing that someone must have revealed that to Deva during the civil war, thereby causing a rift between him and Vardha. That “someone” could’ve been Bhaarava because he wanted Deva to rejoin his clan and kill Raja Mannar.
I am ruling out the possibility of Deva wanting to rule over Khansaar just because he was meant to, historically speaking. That’s because Deva never expressed any such desire. Vardha did, but not Deva. It’s also possible that Deva and Vardha aren’t enemies. It is actually a ruse to fool their enemies while maintaining their status as “fearsome men.” The Shouryaanga won’t allow a Mannar to live after what Raja did to their clan, and Deva won’t let anyone hurt Vardha, even if it meant going against his tribe. So, maybe, in Salaar: Part 2, we’ll see Deva and Vardha reaching some kind of compromise, thereby allowing both of them to stay alive until the next war. Most importantly, though, I would like to see Prashanth Neel explore the friendship between Deva and Vardha. I want him to go beyond hollow exposition and snippets of Deva and Vardha’s childhood and really dig into their relationship in Salaar: Part 2. Or else all this buildup is going to end up sounding like a whole lot of noise.