Bejoy Nambiar’s Solo (2017) Movie Review
Star Cast: Dulquer Salmaan, Shruti Hariharan, Dhansika, Neha Sharma, Arthi Venkatesh, Sai Tamhankar, Qaushiq Mukherjee, Suhashini Maniratnam and Deepti Sati.
Directed by Bejoy Nambiar
Edited by A Sreekar Prasad
Cinematography by Sejal Shah, Madhu Neelakandan and Girish Gangadharan
Censor Certificate: A & Runtime 154 Minutes.
Why do we watch movies?
What is the purpose that is served?
Let’s find out an answer to these questions by the end of the of this review…
“Anekaneka roopaya Sivaya Vishnu roopaya namami Shekara“
The movie Solo is not about just one story but four stories of four different people. They all are played by Dulquer Salmaan. It is a new attempt of bringing in four stories that don’t have any connection except for being synonyms of life, love, and movie making as we know. How and why? Let’s start the discussion with Shekhar‘s story.
When you read the story of Gandhari and Drutharastra, did you ever feel like how the romance would have blossomed in real life in the present situation between those characters? Well, Shekhar is a free-flowing spirit and his story is equated with water by the makers, very cleverly. His love for a visually challenged person is never questioned by us as those questions are answered in a stylish, non-linear and racy manner.
Why non-linear and racy?
Director Bejoy Nambiar, wanted one to feel a new age romance feel-good film but like water in the river. He tried to make it the free flow of thoughts and gave the structure a novelistic undertone. You can see that the writer in him, holds back one chapter and narrates another in this beautiful love story. Here the lady is the one who proposes and at first, he is the douchebag with questions. Later, she starts having questions due to her complexes as a young woman and Shekhar had to literally make an announcement of love with resounding music, loud and clear, grabbing her attention. If you observe his character, he has a lot of hair, a trait that we notice with Chandrasekhar, an avatar of Shiva. Shekhar also means a peak and his story is the peak of the romance. He has a deficiency, she has a deficiency but they have love. Both have anxiety, both are ridiculed by society, both families don’t approve of their union, both tried to give each other a word, bound by the law of love but both try to fail at the same time. But Shekhar prevails to find love even in her absence. He becomes more settled and assuring, hence his story that starts with an accident in the unpredictable storm, ends with a calm breeze of an ocean. A tale of romance, that needs a movie of its own.
“Triloka gnanaya rudranetraya santhaya gunanidhaye bhajehum bhajehum nyaya roopaya Sivaya Vayu lingaya“
Coming to the second one, Bejoy Nambiar now wants to explore, thriller genre. Justice served late but served cold has more effect. He uses every tool at his disposal to craft a cold yet hard-hitting revenge and also gives a small message within the story. The story is equated to wind, as the whiff of air is able to change the world of Trilok and he happens to be that tornado that dismantles the perpetrators lives from the roots. Like a tornado, he doesn’t announce ten days before, but it is brewing over the days before it strikes hard. He had to go through the pain of knowing that his love would have been saved, and hear to these people’s discuss how they have chosen to wash off their hands of a crime. He has nothing to prove, they are clever in covering their tracks. But can you really escape from three-eyed Shiva, who can see everything, know everything and has a hold of the three lokas – Bhoolaka, Pathala and Devaloka. He will dig your conscience and deliver you the ultimate blow.
It is a detective novel kinda thriller where the story is presented to you to question who is right? Is the person who confessed his crime or the person who chose to go ahead to deliver the punishment with no mercy? You see, in the story, one man committed the crime and the other let him get away with it. It is a more punishable offense to turn a blind eye to punishable crime and even if you just help the person who really committed the crime, then you become the biggest crime-ster than him. So, Trilok serves a more cold-hearted punishment with no morality or conscience so that he can serve the justice. Kudos to Nambiar for handling a wafer-thin plot of air with a watertight screenplay.
“Somaya Agniroopaya krodhasanthaya neelakantaya yugandara.. Sivaya namosthuthe Shankara .. pahi pahi karunakara, Shiva“
A good noir film is a sweet serving of pain and suffering. What makes a noir gangster film more relatable? It’s the core emotions that rule the story and bring you into it. There is revenge, there is love, compassion, and fire. A fire that is killing a person inch by inch, by burning down his morals and ability of judgment. We all are guilty of missing something. We all are guilty of being passionate about what we want ignoring what we have. And when that goes to an extreme and have a way to vent it out with guns, then you become Shiva, yourself.
You kill people innocent or guilty, you torture them for your survival and you end up dying in the hands of love deceited and defeated by it. Shiva wants love but doesn’t care for the person who is ready bend her back in an abusive way for him. He wants it from his mother and he longs a happy normal family. But he is a volcano of fire and that comes in his eyes. His story is said in a more settled manner giving an ode to the noir genre. We love the consequences of living at the gunpoint and how it can affect the people you love and you as well. A clever rendition of facts but an age-old one. As we know where it is going, it is how that keeps us intrigued and this is one of the best works of Bejoy and Dulquer.
“Rudram bhaje vinuthnam. Sharanam bhaje Anantham. Akhandam bhaje asamastam. Lalitham bhaje achethanam“
Rudra, the most controversial world of all. His story is a black comedy played by nature itself. It is dark and insensitive, with laugh out loud revelations but he is the savior of earth and he needs to save the truth to save dignity. It will be an incest to love bhoodevi for Shiva, so he lets Vishnu be the husband, the lover who looks after her while he is a silent guardian whose presence can only cause mayhem every day. He may not be able to resist the temptation to give into animalistic instinct and start a family with own sibling until he doesn’t find out about it but when he does, Rudra is an honest man and person with honor to ask for forgiveness.
How great is a man who can forgive a person who tried to dismantle his happiness? Who is better than such a person to love your life? To guard your secret and give all the love that she deserves. It is a comedy that looks serious and we have to be mindful of how it is played as well. The revelation comes in the darkest possible situation. With the traits of an edgy comedy that gets to real, the love story becomes a joke but it is not. Mother Earth tries to hide all the real secrets and this one too ends up being a secret that she has to save.
On the whole, Bejoy Nambiar wanted to make four short films with Shivam being the soul. He equated all the stories with elements of nature, keeping Shiva as the constant. We hear that Shiva is everywhere and in every person. He tried to find out how he is in these four people and tributes to different filmmakers like Mani Ratnam, Akira, Stanley Kubrick, Balachander, Alfred Hitchcock. All these makers have shown guts to explore different themes and tell abstract stories on screen. He makes a film that is bold on paper and executes well but it does have its own flaws. He submits too much of himself to crafting that misses few beats here and there but he successfully creates a celebration of art, as we know. Dulquer Salmaan deserves a big pat on his back for doing such a big experiment and sinking his teeth in each character. It is amazing how he finds the courage to not be main-stream within the main-stream.