Bejoy Nambiar is a director who has impressively utilized the visual language of movie making. His first Malayalam movie Solo, starring Dulquer Salmaan is an anthology that is based on four of the five Pancha Bhootas Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Bejoy is trying to showcase various aspects of being alone through various stories that have the above mentioned Pancha Bhootas as a driving theme. Due to the tightness in packaging the story to a limited one, the stories we see here doesn’t have depth to move you and you feel like they should have added more layers.
The film itself has stories that look like the synopsis of a bigger story. So let me just address the story minimally here to just familiarize the thought. In the case of Shekhar, what we see is the solo journey of a man with limitations. In the story of Shiva, we see the less talked dark past of a gangster. When it comes to Thrilok it was plane revenge and in the case of Rudra, it was his struggle to move on from a relationship.
The emotional state of all the characters justifies the title of the film. But when I finished watching the film, I thought Solo should have been a franchise rather than an anthology. The story of Shiva and Rudra had the potential to be a better character driven dramas. The story of Shekhar needed a better foundation and the Thrilok story wasn’t really novel. One of the main issues I felt in this movie was with the way dialogues have been spoken. Except for a few people like Dulquer Salmaan, Govind and Soubin Shahir, every other actor in the movie utters their lines with artificiality. The most annoying among them was Sruthi Hariharan’s ultra clichéd outburst of printed dialogues. Even Dhansika’s character speaks in an odd way. When you have a surface level approach towards the theme, these kinds of dialogues causes serious problems in making the movie an enjoyable one.
On screen Dulquer Salmaan continues his graceful run. The actor is becoming more and more efficient with each film and looking at the kind of variety he has to portray in the film, one can’t really blame him for selecting Solo. From the stammering Shekhar to smart and outspoken Rudra, Dulquer manages to work on the body language and depiction of those characters, giving them a separate space. The supporting cast of the film has hardly any space to really perform. While Dhansika got a character that utilized her innocent face largely, it was Neha Sharma’s Akshara that got the best of lines and scenes among the female leads. Arthi Venkatesh has nothing really to do while Shruthi Hariharan disappointed me big time. The elaborate supporting cast has names like Dino Morea, Nassar, Suhasini, Anson Paul, Ann Augustine, Soubin, Govind, Sidharth Menon etc. in minimal important roles.
Emphasizing more on the criticism I said about the dialogues in the film, I kind of felt Bejoy has less grip over the language in terms presenting it in the natural best. The artificiality and silliness of certain conversation causes problems. While the visuals of Girish Gangadharan, Madhu Neelakandan and Sejal Shah chopped and blended neatly by Sreekar Prasad gave the movie an aesthetic look, the briefness takes out the emotional core. The writing should have gone for a more realistic take rather than this much of melodrama. You tend to find a scope for a better presentation in all the four stories. The album of the film has wonderful songs which unfortunately weren’t used that effectively in the film. The background scores were really good.
Solo as an Anthology feels like an average attempt that required a little more lengthy and layered presentation of stories. It won’t be a huge let down if you know about the kind of niche films Bejoy Nambiar has already done.
Solo as an Anthology feels like an average attempt that required a little more lengthy and layered presentation of stories.