Director: Bejoy Nambiar
Cast: Dulquer Salmaan, Sruthi Hariharan, Neha Sharma, Arthi Venkatesh, Sai Tamhankar, Nassar, Suhasini
Solo is an anthology of four stories connected by four elements – earth, water, fire and wind. Dulquer plays four characters – Shekhar, Trilok, Shiva and Rudra. Each story presents him in a different avatar and he’s a joy to watch, particularly as the brooding gangster who wants to avenge the death of his father. As Shiva, he barely speaks but performs with the kind of gravitas we haven’t seen from him before and all credit to Nambiar for tapping that unexplored side in Dulquer. The story of Shiva could have made into a full length film; it had the right mix of emotions, action and drama. It’s a story with lot of depth and we get raw performances from Sruthi Hariharan and Rohan, who plays Dulquer’s brother.
In the world of Trilok, Dulquer copes with loss and he finds solace in revenge. This is probably the second best written portion of the film. It’s packed with a pleasant surprise but we don’t get to invest too much in the story as everything happens in a hurry. This is because each story is racing against time and sometimes it takes time for a story to pique our interest. Unfortunately, Trilok’s story, as heartbreaking as it is, doesn’t quite move us. There’s definitely the shock element but it’s not outstanding.
Dulquer as Sekhar is a college student; he’s aimless, speaks with a stutter. This portion is heartwarming and its heroine Radhika reminds us of a Mani Ratnam heroine. She’s blind, but at the same time strong and very independent. Dulquer’s stutter gets a tad annoying after a point. In the emotional scenes, he stutters more and we get the idea that he’s at loss of words. Just make him cry instead.
The weakest portion has to be the world of Rudra, and it’s outright silly by the time it makes its point. Here, Rudra is an army man and he’s more or less a Xerox copy of Karthi from Kaatru Veliyidai.
Solo is visually breathtaking. The references to Shiva’s avatar in each portion are smartly done, especially in Shiva’s world where every frame is filled with red, burning with rage. Musically, too, we don’t get bored of the songs. Some of the song placements are perfect.
On paper, Solo sounds like a very exciting idea and it develops a certain level of curiosity, but on screen it doesn’t come across as convincing as you’d expect, especially when the promos looked so promising. The film shines in parts like most Nambiar’s films but wholesomely leaves you underwhelmed, but with the feeling that it had so much potential.