What happens when a super talented director makes a movie with an amazing actor? Together they create a piece of art. And that’s exactly what Solo is all about. A beautiful piece of cinema. However, Solo is not everyone’s cup of tea. And that probably explains the very mixed reviews of the movie. Read on to find more.
An anthology, Solo tells the stories of Shekhar, Trilok, Siva and Rudra. Each story has its own settings, characteristics and even technicians. In our earlier interview, Nambiar had said that two of the stories were based on love and two on revenge.
Let us give you a story by story breakup.
The World of Shekhar tells the love story between the stammering Shekhar and blind dancer Radhika. I particularly enjoyed how Radhika’s character had been portrayed and the non-linear way of storytelling. The meddling family members and the supportive friends were convincing in equal measures. Huge salute to Dulquer Salmaan for pulling off the stammering Shekhar with such conviction. I found the last scene where he is trying to say Radhika absolutely brilliant.
The World of Trilok was phenomenal and a total crowd-pleaser. Although the revenge format has been done to death, it still strikes a chord. The meticulousness with which Trilok tracks down the culprits makes for a great watch. The character’s eccentricity also comes through quite naturally. However, I do wish I had known more about Ayesha rather than just seeing her tunic. I think the time limit that Nambiar was forced to meet took away from the narrative here.
I found the World of Siva the most intense one of the lot. And what really thrilled me about the segment was how it questioned the viewer’s perception of right and wrong. You’d think the hero has every right to avenge his father’s death but as the story progresses, you start wondering who was right and who was wrong. What I felt was a huge drawback in this story was the dialogue delivery of the killer. So much of the story hinged on that one dialogue that it was absolutely imperative to have it flawlessly delivered. Failure to do so resulted in a lot of the viewers being completely confused about the motive of the murder.
The World of Rudra was my favorite of the lot (actually it was hard to pick a favorite). Although I felt the love story was grossly exaggerated, I was blown away by the climax of this segment. It was an original, non conforming and brilliantly executed climaxed. I don’t think there has been such an unpredictable climax in Malayalam cinemas in recent times. As I watched the audience around me laugh until they had tears in their eyes, I couldn’t believe how ridiculously funny such a serious situation had become. Hats off to Nambiar for trying to foray into the completely unexplored terrain of black humor.
Speaking about the positives, what impresses about the movie is the sheer beauty of it. It is almost like watching a poem on screen. The makers have used the themes of earth, wind, water and fire in each of the stories and all the elements have been seamlessly woven into the storytelling. The colors, the contours and the tones of each story support the central theme of the particular story. All the stories are short and crisp. There is a lot of importance given to the female characters, which I found quite impressive. Whether it is Sai Dhansika who is portrayed as conquering her disability or Suhasini who delivers the all-important news to Rudra, the women break conventions and are bold, strong characters.
Having said that, it is a film that blends art house sensibilities into its narrative. There is a lot of read-between-lines in the movie. For me, it added an element of curiosity. But not necessarily so for the average viewer. Also, I do wish Nambiar had taken the luxury of time to establish some of the characters. I would have loved to see more of Trilok and Ayesha. I would have loved to know more Siva and Rukku’s lives. I think it would have been great to have more perspectives on the characters.
Verdict: I think Solo is a movie Bejoy Nambiar can be proud of. He has established his mettle as an exceptional director who is willing to take risks. In this time of diminishing attention spans and want for shorter content, anthologies and shorter film formats seem to be the way forward for Indian cinema. And Nambiar can claim fame for setting a precedent in the commercial film field. Dulquer Salmaan as an actor has put on probably his career-best performance and he deserves a standing ovation for it. He had been provided with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and he has grabbed it with both hands. All in all, the movie is a treat to watch and one I would recommend everyone who loves cinemas to go and watch