Bejoy Nambiar’s SOLO and The Fate of Standing Out of the Box in Malayalam
Dulquer Salmaan is one of the most talented actors of India. He is just 31 and he amazes me with his movie choices till now starting with: Second Show. Now, SOLO, directed by Bejoy Nambiar is nothing like what we have seen in Malayalam cinema. Before going into anything, let me tell something about ‘SOLO’. Solo is an anthology of four ‘no-nonsense’ stories. Yes, the stories are ‘serious’ in tone. The stories are not about few happy people in a happy city.
Dulquer Salmaan is such a wonderful actor and Solo is one of his bests, or call it ‘his best till now’. There are scenes with Dulquer Salmaan which showcases Bejoy Nambiar’s pure guts. Eg.1. The last scene of ‘Siva’. Eg.2. The song ‘Sita Kalyana’ is mesmerizing and the sequence is simply awesome. If I start talking about my favorite moments I will not be able to stop myself from filling this page from spoilers.
Rajiv Anchal’s Guru starring Mohanlal did well at box office. It was released in 1997.
Malayalam industry is in climbing mode. But how many filmmakers or actors are trying something that are really ‘different’. Here filmmakers keep the ‘feel good’ factor as common. Experimenting within the common factor is the ‘important’ formula for success in Malayalam. What is called as experimental? Trying anything which is not common can be called as ‘experimental’ or say ‘challenging’. The team behind such films risks their career. That is guts. That is bold. (There is a tendency to call ‘body show’ or ‘using obscene language’ as ‘bold’, I am talking about another ‘bold’). Experimental films are easy to define but quite difficult to understand.
I don’t want to mention here about some ‘super-hit’ movies and the logic behind it. But… how many ‘serious’ or ‘dark’ toned or ‘different’ Malayalam movies has done well at box office? I always felt Malayalam audience don’t want to examine film-watching experience closely. Each film is meant to be different. A set of audience love to tease and make fun of ‘different’. And that’s the reason why ‘serious’ movies don’t do well in Kerala. It is very hard to impress audience here with an ‘out-of-the-box’ and ‘serious’ genre movies. I still wonder why Mohanlal’s ‘Sadhayam‘ or Dileep’s ‘Kathavasheshan‘ didn’t do well at box office! They were not actually completely ‘art house’ products! They were engaging enough for the viewers, and also rewarding.
‘Why do a certain section of our lovely audience fear, dislike and mock different?’ asks Dulquer Salmaan in his FB post.
I watched Solo two times in theater. There are more than a dozen of unforgettable moments in the film. I love to discuss about it, but it will be full of spoilers so we will discuss it later. You might have enjoyed SOLO as I did… but if you did’t, I am not surprised – I heard booing and kooing during the climax scene. Liking and disliking a movie is purely subjective. You may dislike some films that others don’t, and that’s fine! Really cool. What is hurting is the way ‘few’ are degrading the film (some without watching it). The negative comments and trolls surrounding Solo are about the climax of the fourth story. If that is the only point you find difficulty in accepting then why degrading the ‘whole film’! More than anything else, why degrading ‘a film’ without watching it.
After all the discussion, no one could fault the conclusion that Bejoy Nambiar is one of the most important film-makers working today. I respect Bejoy‘s David and Shaitan, but to date I think his best work is “Solo” and I think it’s very easy to say we haven’t yet seen the best he has to offer. Bejoy is an independent-minded film-maker.
Haters rise up from nowhere for ‘different attempts’ no matter how good the film is.
‘Films like Solo are any actors dream’ says Dulquer Salmaan. Perfect, I wish to see him do more movies like this. His box office pull is actually helping such ‘out-of-box attempts’ to reach wider audience. We cannot expect the kind of business ‘Parava’ and ‘Kammattipaadam’ did without ‘Dulquer Salmaan’. So is ‘Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum’ without ‘Fahad Fazil’, and ‘Ayaalum Njanum Thammil’ and ‘Celluloid’ without ‘Prithviraj’. It is good for the industry as well as the respective actors to do such movies.
It is really sad to see an actor in a position to say something like this (below). That is why I want to write this. I stand (now a cliched phrase but no other choice) with Dulquer Salmaan and Bejoy Nambiar. I wish, and hope Dulquer Salmaan continue doing such strong, different, bold projects.
If you have not, then you must read the below post
Cinephile. Learning the art of Filmmaking. Film-Director.