The most anticipated Malayalam film of the year, Solo is Bollywood director Bejoy Nambiar's first feature film in Malayalam after the 2005 silent short film 'Reflections' which had Malayalam Superstar Mohanlal in the lead. A bilingual romantic thriller, the Dulquer Salmaan starrer is touted to be an anthology of four stories about four different people (played by Dulquer) with each story revolving around the four mythical elements: the earth (Rudra), the fire (Siva), the water (Shekhar) and the wind (Trilok).
An anthology film is a feature film comprising of many shorter ones as selected by the director. Each short film will be unique and thus will have a separate set of characters. Solo has a long list of performers including Neha Sharma, Suhasini, Nassar, Dino Morea, Sruthi Hariharan, Manoj K Jayan, Prakash Belawadi, Govind Menon, Sai Dhansika, Soubin Shahir, John Vijay, Arthi Venkatesh, Anson Paul, Ann Augustine and Renji Panicker.
The movie is purely a collection of four entirely different short movies and thus can be considered as four different films.
1. Jalam (water) is the first one that tells the love story of Shekhar, a young man with a stuttering disorder and his visually impaired girlfriend, Radhika. The making and the music are excellent, but a little too much of dramatisation created a drag in the movie, which had very little perceptible deep rootedness to water other than most of the scenes being shot having water in its different forms in the background. Dhansika gives a genuine portrayal of Radhika while Soubin Shahir and John Vijay stand out from the rest of the cast as decent performers.
Strong points of Jalam (Shekhar)
Weak points of Jalam (Shekhar)
2. The second film Vaayu (Air/Wind) tells the story of Trilok and Ayesha. It has a strong message: in most of the 'hit and run' cases the victim can be saved if immediately brought to a medical facility. Other than Dulquer, Anson Paul, Ann Augustine, Renji Panicker and Arthi Venkatesh play pivotal roles in the movie. The movie stands out as the best of the lot with good performances and a better grip on the screenplay.
Strong points of Vayu (Trilok)
3. Agni or the fire depicts burning sensation that one has when life turns out not be a fun ride. The third film is the story of Siva and his turbulent family wrapped in the blood-bathed cover of the underworld in Kochi. Manoj K Jayan, Rohan Manoj, Sruthi Hariharan, Peethambaram Menon, Dinesh Panicker, Govind Menon and Prakash Belawadi play important roles in the movie. The visuals were interestingly raw, but the action sequences also did not rise to the expected levels of perfection.
Strong points of Agni (Siva)
Weak points of Agni (Siva)
4. The world of Rudra is shown in the film as the fourth mythical element, the earth. Rudra is an army officer who is deeply in love with Akshara, the daughter of a brigadier. Akshara's parents do not approve Rudra and decide to separate them. Will their love triumph, or will it perish? Only a set of twists and surprises will determine it. Nassar, Suhasini, Neha Sharma and Dino Morea play important roles in the film which has an extremely beautiful visualisation. Roshamon and Sita Kalyanam are two wonderful tracks that raise the expectations to a very high point.
Positives of Bhoomi (Rudra)
Weak points of Bhoomi (Rudra)
Twist (For a set of audiences)
On the whole, the direction by Bejoy Nambiar is good even though it has its highs and lows. Dulquer delivers as Shekhar, Trilok, Siva and Rudra. Experimenting with his acting skills the actor in Dulquer has tried to be different in each film. Even though not drastically different portrayals, he has pulled off every character pretty decently and is the most powerful attraction of the movie.
Cinematography has been handled by Girish Ganhadharan, Madhu Neelakandan and Sejal Shah. The music department comprises of Prasanth Pillai, Govind Menon, Thaikkudam Bridge, Masala Coffee, Gaurav Godkhindi, Ragini Bhagwat, Abhinav Bansal, Agam, Filter Coffee, Sooraj S Kurup and Sez on the Beat. Cinematography and Music are the two tall towers that make Solo a treat.