Solo has all the right thoughts put into the paper. Sadly, the thoughts are something that looks good only on paper. It lacks the practicality and the effect to bring on screen with panache and interest. Four different stories of love styled around the four elements of nature. It is also tied with one single theme and that is Lord Shiva. All the leads of the film are also named after him – Shekhar, Trilok, Siva and Rudra – and show facets of his persona. It sounds fascinating, however, it failed to manifest properly on screen. As a result, there a coherent layer to the narrative that doesn’t really add up to the main story and ultimately producing film that is visually stunning but lacks any depth of narrative. There is no doubt that Bejoy Nambiar and his cinematographers created frames after frames that look visceral in the midst of the chaotic screenplay.
The film begins with World of Shekhar, where Dulquer Salmaan is a college student and has a stammer. He is in love with a blind girl (Dhansika). A love story, water is the theme of this segment. Scenes that go back and forth weave the story. After Shekhar, we come to the World of Trilok, where Dulquer is a veterinarian and air is the element. A thriller, it involves the death of a young woman (Arthi Venkatesh) and the drama that unfolds. Next is World of Shiva, where Dulquer wears the garb of an angry young man, who is setting out to take revenge. In the final one World of Rudra, where fire is the theme, the leading man is seen as an army officer and falls in love with Akshara (Neha Sharma).
The first story which is the World of Shekhar is easily the best of the lot in terms of writing. It is a well-rounded story and we see the evolution of the relationship between Shekhar (Dulquer Salmaan) and Radhika (Sai Dhansika). The poignant tale and the complex non-linear narrative certainly adds to the drama. As the stuttering Shekhar, Dulquer gives a great performance but it is Dhansika who catches our eye. Radhika reminds us of a Mani Rathnam heroine — beautiful, creatively inclined (she dances) feminine, but strong. The reference to Shiva is more natural here, so is the stylization around water. (Dulquer has long hair and is a musician. Like the river embraces the shore, we have a heroine who knows the language of touch).
It was a miss to not provide the World of Trilok with a little bit more screen space, but most of the film is quite an interesting film. This picture brought Bejoy Nambiar to his experimental best and playing with the four elements, novel though, was a credible attempt. However, he failed to express more with them and that became the huge drawback. Despite being individual stories, there are several motifs that unintentionally link the four stories — accidents, a pregnant woman/kids, the number four, relationships outside the realm of marriage.
Dulquer Salman fans may love the movie, for he is in every frame.