Review: LOL Salaam

‘LOL Salaam’ is now streaming on ZEE5. Here is our review of the latest Telugu web series to hit OTT.
Story:

Reddy, Varma, John, Naidu and Khan are roommates who go on a picnic. They prefer an unlikely place, a jungle, to have fun. Least do they know that the forest is made dangerous by the presence of Naxals. When Reddy inadvertently steps on a landmine, all hell breaks loose. He has to be saved overnight. What his friends do next and face more headaches in the process, is what the rest of the series is about. 

Performances:

Kivish Kautilya as Reddy shows some promise. But the director fails to tap into his talent after a point. Srinivas Reddy, Bharadwaj, Pavan Kumar, Darahas Mathur, and Rohit Krishna Varma are made to lose themselves in the chaotic screenplay.

‘Amrutham’ fame Harshavardhan plays a politician who wants to set a forest on fire. He is a miscast at best. 

In a series dominated by male characters, Padmini Settam, Gayathri and Praveena hardly create any impact. 

Technical Departments:

The low-budget series is found wanting on the technical front. Ajay Arasada’s BGM doesn’t cut to chase. It’s generic, too. Cinematographer Rakesh S Narayanan attempts to elevate the night frames to an extent, but the overall result is superficial. 

Analysis:
For a web series that is about a life-threatening situation, ‘LOL Salaam’ is too much mocking LOL and has too little salaam-worthy content. Director Naani Bandreddi takes his subject matter too lightly. And that’s where one of its many problems lies.

In Hindi OTT, we see directors like Anurag Kashyap taking the subject matter at hand way too seriously at times. That’s somehow rarely the case when it comes to Telugu OTT. Last month, ‘Room No. 54’ on ZEE5 suffered from this syndrome. And now, it’s the turn of ‘LOL Salaam’, once again on the same platform. 

The issue with a light-veined premise and a half-serious, half-funny plot like this one is that the series becomes too dreary if the comic tonic dries up. And the hilarity becomes stale in ‘LOL Salaam’ right after the first 50 minutes (which is approximatley two episodes). The one-note characters fail to strike the right chord. The series is an unapologetic reckless ride even where it should have felt like a roller coaster ride.
The middle portions are too much to take. The script packs one too many co-incidences and lucky happenings over the course of a night. 

All the while, the person staring at death shows his frustration in the shape of cuss words and, at times, he even attempts to make us laugh with a lot of effort. The characters guarding him don’t come across as individuals giving him a shoulder to cry on. Rather, they join the race of looking every bit dumb. 

Verdict:
‘LOL Salaam’ lacks emotional heft. A comedy like this would still have been watchable had the hilarity been weighty enough. But it’s all dry and one-note. 

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