Solo movie review: Dulquer Salmaan’s movie is a great concept gone awry

Dulquer Salmaan starrer Solo is visually breathtaking and has great music to boot. However, this Bejoy Nambiar film is high on concept and its execution leaves a lot to be desired.
Solo stars Dulquer Salmaan, Sruthi Hariharan, Sai Tamhankar, Neha Sharma, Arthi Venkatesh and Sai Dhansikaa in the lead roles.
Solo stars Dulquer Salmaan, Sruthi Hariharan, Sai Tamhankar, Neha Sharma, Arthi Venkatesh and Sai Dhansikaa in the lead roles.
Updated on Jun 17, 2019 10:51 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Chennai | ByKarthik Kumar

Film: Solo
Director: Bejoy Nambiar
Cast: Dulquer Salmaan, Sruthi Hariharan, Sai Tamhankar, Neha Sharma, Arthi Venkatesh, Sai Dhansikaa
Rating: 2/5

Like most Bejoy Nambiar films, Solo is visually breathtaking and it’s complemented by easily the best soundtrack from south this year. The songs don’t stick out like a sore thumb and are used at perfect junctures to aid the narrative flow. The album favourite Sita Kalyanam, for instance, is used in a wedding and the placement of the song goes hand-in-hand with the mood of the scene. Roshomon, a celebratory number, is used in an army camp. Aygiri Nandini, the song about Navdurga, is used in a shootout in Mumbai. Bejoy does full justice to the visuals and the music with his scene conception and execution.

Another good thing about Solo is Dulquer, who is a treat to watch in all the four avatars. The characters are named after Shiva, and all the four stories are connected by elements such as water, wind, fire and earth. The references to the elements in each portion are smartly done and it is proof to Nambiar’s ability to rise above a mediocre filmmaker.

In the first story, water is the recurring theme and we understand it the first time the camera glances upon Sai Dhansikaa. She’s seen dancing, in slow motion, in water. There are dialogues about how she enjoys the water at a beach. In the second story, we get to understand it is wind, but not quite convincingly. In the opening shot, we get a close-up of Arthi’s shirt ruffled by wind.

In the third episode, every frame is evident that we are seeing world of fire. Dulquer plays Shiva, a gangster with almost no dialogues. He sets out to avenge the death of his father. He’s broken on the inside but his face is frozen, eyes burning with rage. It’s easily the best written portion of the film and it left me wondering why this wasn’t made into a standalone film.

The film’s silliest portion has to be the world of Rudra. The element dealt with here is earth and in the scene where we’re introduced to Dulquer, we see him running in slow motion in an army camp. He’s running through land explosions. Later, when he learns about his girlfriend (played by Neha Sharma), the shock is earth-shattering, literally, and that’s the best inference of the element connect.

Solo, undoubtedly, is an ambitious attempt but it’s a great concept gone awry. Two of its best stories could be knitted together and made into a standalone film. The result might have been even more interesting and exciting.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021