Solo movie review
Bejoy Nambiar from the Mani Ratnam school is back after 'David' , with yet another Bollywoodish anthology exploring themes of the four elements, death and pain in particular that has its moments but fails to connect to the average Tamil (and Malayalam) audiences for obvious reasons.
The first story is (Water) about the romance between Sekhar(suffering from stutters)played by Dulquer Salman and the blind Radhika (Sai Dhansika). Both the sides oppose the union for reasons revealed later as tragedy strikes. The second (Wind) has Anson Paul playing Justin a young man whose car driven by his father in law (Azhagamperumal) rams into a cyclist Ayesha (Arthi Venkatesh) and after taking her in the car the older man convinces Justin to abandon her to avoid trouble.
Years later, after his father in law’s sudden death, Justin meets with an accident and is rescued by a mysterious man Trilok Chander (Dulquer Salman) who is not what he seems. The third (Fire) has Shiva (Dulquer Salman) a hitman to a gangster (Manoj K Jain) who, along with his younger brother goes to Mumbai to avenge the death of their father only to find something else they both search for their entire lives to tragic results.
The final story based on earth is about Rudhra (Dulquer Salman) a lieutenant full of verve and energy in love with an equally exuberant Akshara (Neha Sharma) with the latter’s brigadier father Suresh Menon objecting and resorting to blackmailing about throwing him out of the army. Akshara suddenly goes off to Australia and cuts off ties with Rudhra who on her wedding day to someone else discovers a deadly secret about his own father.
In a completely alien setting (four to be precise) Dulquer Salman puts us at ease speaking impeccable Tamil and that too excels citing poetry in chaste Tamil in the voice-overs. Among four roles it is as Trilok he scores the most as there is depth to his character and also scope for him to perform. As Shekar his stammer does not work at all (May work in Malayalam) and that hampers the character.
The gangster Shiva has no dialogues at all and only action of the bloody variety and Dulquer nails it perfectly. The fun loving and energetic Rudhra who turns lovelorn later is a cake walk for the ‘Ok Kanmani’ hero. Sai Dhansika as the blind girl, Shruti Hariharan as the lover of Shiva and Arthi Venkatesh as Ayesha have all put in neat performances making their respective characters effective on screen. Neha Sharma as the bubbly Akshara steals the show helped by her characterization designed with a strong Mani Ratnam stamp. Nasser, Suhashini, Azhagamperumal, Suresh Menon, Anne Augustine, Anson Paul and a host of other supporting actors are aptly cast not to forget Sathish as Sekhars friend throwing hit one miss two counters.
The film mostly told in reverse chronological order is a visual treat with each story having its own nuances in sight and sound. Each story is set up in one fashion and later come the twists which take the viewer completely by surprise. As mentioned earlier the episode that hits the bullseye is the world of Trilok which is very engrossing and never lets one blink an eye for the fifteen minutes or so. The most touching moment in the film is when the gangster Shiva’s brother missing his mother all his life finds solace in the arms of a Mumbai assassin’s wife.
On the downside the stories of Shiva and Sekhar that needed more detailing are kept short while Rudhra’s is stretched to the maximum. Scenes are unnecessarily long drawn out and the two and a half hours or so seem like a week inside the cinema hall. That the numbed down audiences break into peals of laughter for the rather seriously conceived climax scene between Dulquer and Suhasini says it all.
Girish Gangadharan’s cinematography is a big plus and so is Sreekar Prasad’s editing that has a different pattern for each episode. Prashanth Pillai music has a distinct Malayalam touch while the other technical aspects of the film are sound. Bejoy Nambiar whose forte is Bollywood has tried to bring its flavor to Tamil via Malayalam and while there is a lot of style and promise of substance most of it is probably lost in translation.
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