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Creating the World of Solo: Nuances, Symmetry & Manipulative Storytelling

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Any art form provides us with a lot of liberty associated with it. These forms are not bound by any set of restrictions or rules. This liberty when used to it’s perfection in any kind of art form fetches us with an heavenly experience. Sadly,The cinematic liberty associated with films aren’t exposed to its depth in most films. But when this liberty is kindled by adding a pinch of it to the film and is able to get inside our brains seated in theatres, The film transforms into a cinematic experience! Solo (2017) is one of those in which every frame is an occurrence of exceptional experience delivered to us.

The Film shines in spite of coming under an infamous Genre

This film is one of the rarest genres that has taken shape in Indian films. We do not have much films that have exploited in this genre -Anthology. Solo, even though being an anthology differentiates itself by making the lead actor of all the stories remain the same. But it’s only the lead actor that is the same for these stories who comes in various different avatars!  I believe this decision by the team was also handy in delivering an altogether different experience for the viewers. For those who hadn’t watched the promotional videos of Solo, the different avatars of the main lead was itself an anticipating factor in the theatres! Each of them were anticipating on what kind of character would Dulquer Salman portray in the following story. For the ones that knew the various looks, the film made them celebrate when it appeared on the screen!

4 Different Words, 4 Authentic Experiences

Like most anthology films, Solo also has its central theme around which the 4 different stories travel. It’s the 4 elements of earth around which the story is weaved out. As the 4 elements of earth are in every way related to lord shiva by the hindu mythology, the characters of these films have various forms of shiva taking the central stage. Now, this is where the writer’s expertise is evident on how he has metaphorically suited this theme to his very contemporary 4 sets of stories!

People always tell that ‘creating a world in your film’ is the best way to let people connect with it. When we have films that are still not being able to create a world in a span of 2 hours and 30 minutes, There is Solo that creates it’s world 4 times for it’s 4 different stories! This literally is an achievement by the makers of this film! Each story runs for about 40 minutes where in the story has to establish its characters and their surroundings right from the beginning in each of these stories.This entirely for most of its part is great writing, but a large amount of fantastic lighting, coloring and some great work by the technical team also is a major contributing factor for this experience.

Coloring- major contributor!

Giving a suitable color tone to your films is not a big deal now a days as most of the films are doing it. But, solo has 4 different color tones for it’s 4 stories. A bluish tinge tone to the first story which deals with water, A grayish-light blue tone for wind, An orangish-red tone for fire and a greenish-brown tone for the land. There are high possibilities of over doing these colors in at least certain frames. But, there wasn’t a single frame where you could point out that it was forcefully fitted onto the frame. Yet, we could feel the color tone being evident for each story! A simple example would be when Shekar (water) blindfolds himself and proposes to Dhansika, the buckets on which the artists played drums on the frame were all of sky blue color!

The Nuances and Symmetry!

Nuances in the style of writing and layers stacked inside the stories are major contributors for this enhanced output of Solo. Other than the central core theme, these 4 stories are symmetrical in many other ways too! The pregnancy factor in all the stories is common. The span of 4 years (narrative pattern) is common for all the 4 stories. The best friend connect between the first and last story is an ironical example! The loss of loved ones in the first two stories and an affair in the last two are also some commonalities. We could go on with many interpretations as such is the effect of the film on us!

There is a larger symmetry than these, of the main leads in these 4 stories. In the first story, the hero readies himself for a struggle. In the second story, the hero wins the struggle. In the third one, the hero somehow loses it.  And in the last one, he leaves things for the good. These  are some of the nuances of this film that contribute for it’s depth detailing!

(Spoiler alert…)

The above discussed symmetry gives birth to a manipulative way of storytelling that amuses us when we realise it! Since the first lead was portrayed as an innocent one where we expect him to conquer the struggle, the ending lets us know that he hasn’t conquered yet, but is ready for it! Due to this, we cannot really predict what Trilok in the next story had in store for us. It became quite difficult for us to predict the validity of that character as even the first lead did not do what we expected him to! Now, since we got used to the manipulative nature of the stories,  Most of us would’ve known that Siva was going to fall in the end as he was always quite winning from the beginning of his story! This is when the writer tends to bring us to the thought that Rudra was also going to win in the end, but he leaves things for good to us (Rudra neither loses nor wins)!

The Liberty of Fusion!

The genre of anthology provides us with the liberty of fusion of various genres. We don’t have many anthologies that had a fusion of different genres. Solo again is a an immense collection of various genres packaged into one whole film! This helps in many people that are against anthologies also opt it as it offers you with everything that a single film with a single story is going to offer you. It has drama, songs, emotions, heroism, comedy and what not? Also solo has the same narrative pattern for it’s stories yet ends with a twist at the end of each tale! I feel the narrative pattern being chosen to be similar for all the stories is the reason why this film looked like one complete film unlike any other anthology that have different narrative patterns for each story. The fusion of the genres is taken a step ahead by letting the music take the fusion form too!

With the ticket prices going up high, for films to be watched in theatres, it necessarily got to give an experience for the audience that they could take back home! Unfortunately, Many couldn’t take back home the kind of experience that Solo has in store for us.

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