Chennai, 05 Oct 2017 18:17 IST
Four short stories, each set in a different background and driving home a different point, are strung together like pearls on a silver string to present a reasonably attractive piece of jewellery called Solo.
Bejoy Nambiar loves to tell stories. And, therefore, he does not stop with telling one but goes on to narrate three others. Four short stories, each set in a different background and driving home a different point, are strung together like pearls on a silver string to present a reasonably attractive piece of jewellery called Solo.
The first of the four stories has Dulquer Salmaan playing Shekhar, an impulsive, stammering youngster with a strong mind. When Shekhar looks to help his friend score over another rival and claim the hand of the girl he loves, he is stunned into silence by her reply. The reason: the girl called Radhika (played by Dhansikaa), who, we realize by then, is visually challenged and a graceful dancer, says she is not interested in either of those pining for her love. Instead, she says she likes Shekhar.
After battling feelings of guilt and overcoming them, thanks to the go-ahead he gets from his friend for whom he had actually approached Radhika, Shekhar, too, admits that he loves Radhika and the two start seeing each other. Four years go by and there comes a time when they decide to marry.
As expected, the families of both individuals are opposed to their marriage. It is then that Radhika discloses that she is pregnant. Just when one begins to think that Shekhar's biggest challenge will be to continue loving Radhika with the same intensity and sincerity right till the end, we realize that there are many more serious problems in store for him. Problems that will test Shekhar's love for Radhika and their unborn child.
Story 2 is probably the best of the lot. One fine morning in the deeply peaceful hills, a speeding car knocks down a female cyclist called Ayesha (Arthi Venkatesh), causing her serious injuries. The driver of the car, Justin, and his future father-in-law are shocked.
Justin insists that they take the injured and severely bleeding girl to the nearest hospital to save her while his father-in-law is against the idea as he believes they will get into trouble as they are both drunk. Justin, whose wedding is to take place with Anne in a week's time, decides to take the risk and get the girl to hospital. But halfway to the hospital, the girl dies. Or that is what he thinks.
On his father-in-law's advice, Justin leaves the body on the roadside in the hilly region, lest they get into trouble.
Four years later, Justin's father-in-law passes away. And, soon after, Justin, too, meets with a bad accident. Luckily, he is saved by a passer-by called Dr Trilok (Dulquer), who gets him admitted to a hospital. As Justin recovers, he realizes that Trilok is the husband of the woman he had knocked down four years ago. Initially, he tries to avoid meeting Trilok, but with guilt killing him, he chooses to confide in him. When he does, he finds that the secret he has been guarding is nothing compared to the secrets he is about to be let into.
Story 3 is the tale of Shiva (Dulquer) who is a gangster working for Bhadran (Manoj K Jayan). Shiva, as a child, witnesses the break-up of his parents. That probably hardens him and drives him to be what he is. His dad, an alcoholic, turns abusive and physically batters Shiva's younger brother. With the intention of safeguarding his welfare, Shiva, who now lives with Rukku (Sruthi Hariharan), gets his younger brother to move in with them. One day, news reaches Shiva that his dad has been shot. They find out that the man who has shot him is from Mumbai. Seething with rage, Shiva, who is loyally followed by his brother, makes his way to Mumbai to exact revenge. But then, just as he is about to succeed, something stuns him....
Story 4 has Dulquer playing Lt Rudra Ramachandran, an arrogant, brash, foolhardy, dashing cadet at the military academy who is madly in love with Bhama (Neha Sharma), daughter of Brigadier Sunderrajan (Suresh Menon). Rudra has this habit of walking into Sunderrajan's house and bashing up prospective bridegrooms who come seeking the hand of the haughty Bhama, who too claims she is in love with him. When this becomes a practice, an annoyed Sunderrajan recommends that Rudra be kicked out of the academy, much to the dismay of Lt Colonel Ramachandran (Nasser), who happens to be Rudra's dad.
Rudra's mother (Suhasini) pleads with him often to give up this habit, but to no avail. Finally, things get to a stage where Bhama decides to go to Australia for higher studies. The two agree to get back together after the completion of their respective courses.
Four years pass and Rudra finishes his course at the academy to become a full-fledged officer. However, Bhama is no longer in touch. After his attempts to meet her are repeatedly spurned, Rudra begins to convince himself that there was never even a person called Bhama in his life.
Life is peaceful until one day, he receives a wedding invitation in which he finds his girl's name printed. His colleagues in the army insist he must find out why she opted for another man after promising to marry him. They set out to arrive on the wedding day. Rudra seeks answers but then the answers leave him shaken. What could they be? Solo's fourth story tells it.
Of the four stories, only the second story strikes its mark precisely. It is a gripping tale that has a good screenplay and keeps you interested from start to finish. Dulquer as Trilok is at his best in this role as is Arthi Venkatesh as Ayesha. The manner in which the story is narrated and brought to a conclusion adds immense value to it.
The next best is the story in which Dhansikaa as Radhika comes up with a sparkling performance. Her presence is commanding and measured as opposed to Dulquer who struggles to play the role of Shekhar, a youngster with a stuttering problem. In fact, Dulquer has a huge problem playing this role convincingly and Dhansikaa scores hands down in this story, which has a heart-warming message. The comedy of Sathish, who plays Shekhar's friend, also clicks.
The third story in which Dulquer plays a gangster has a fantastic performance by Sruthi Hariharan as Rukku. Dulquer has little to deliver in terms of dialogues here, but his body language and expressions talk louder and more frequently than his words. Despite good performances, the story is boring after a point and, therefore, disappointing.
However, one is compelled to think that the reaction of the audiences to the fourth story is what might come as a surprise to the filmmakers. For what they thought would be received as a tragedy is unfortunately being received as a comedy. When Dulquer as Rudra learns why Bhama chose to wed another, the filmmaker, one feels, would have wanted the audience to empathize with his character and feel sorry for his loss. Instead, the reason cited comes across as funny.
The film has some scintillating music by Prashant Pillai. On most occasions, the background score is perfect. One of the popular songs of the band Agam called 'Boat Song' has been used by the team. However, the manner in which it has been customized for this picture is bound to leave fans of the band angry.
All three cinematographers, Girish Gangadharan, Madhu Neelakandan and Sejal Shah, have done a fantastic job in this film. Every frame is a masterpiece and deserves all the praise it can get. Of the four stories, two are just about okay and one fails miserably. Therefore, Solo is true to its name as only one of the four stories actually makes the cut.