Saturday, 10 February 2018

Solli Vidava: Fifty Shades of Saffron

War field love stories have always been awful disasters in Tamil cinema with poor reception among the audience and box office as well. With a range of such movies even from ace directors who have struggled to do justice to the plot, like Kaatruveliyidai, Uyire and Wagah, here joins Solli Vidava from actor-director Arjun, featuring Aishwarya Arjun and debutant Chandan in the lead.

When two good looking and soft hearted journos set out to make live coverage of Kargil war in 1999, and they have a lot of free time to kill apart from their daily schedule of reporting about the war, what else can they do? Well, Solli Vidava answers that, they simply fall in love. But, there are obstacles waiting in their journey of love, well, as we have seen in every other romance drama. And, did they unite or get parted is what Solli Vidava is all about, loaded with tonnes of patriotic dialogues and 50 shades of 'Saffron'.

Though, this is not the first directorial venture of Arjun, this is the first time, the actor-turned director has made a film in which he is not the protagonist. Though he has given successful films in the past, Solli Vidava, for Arjun has brought the amateur side of the filmmaker inside him. Set in 1999, the time period of the movie could not be felt or experienced at any part of it, beginning from the costumes to the luxury SUVs of automobile manufacturing companies that did not even exist at that time.

There are also confusions in the war part, as both Indian and Pakistani army men have on same kinda camouflage and it becomes very hard to differentiate, though that doesn't even affect the movie anyway. One more thing that was so quizzing about the war part is, every single soldier in Indian Army is Hindu according to Solli Vidava theory. Why is that so? And, they have a separate tent in their base that has portraits of all Hindu gods, where the soldiers offer worship before leaving for war.

On the other side of war, the romance portion, which also is the only convincing portion of the movie, though little dramatised, has tried to fulfill the money we pay for the tickets, but for a certain extent.

The movie, actually has Aishwarya in most of the scenes than Chandan, and almost looks like a solo talent show of the actress. She has a lot of close up shots to emote and test the dynamics of her facial muscles. Apart from that, she dances, sings, mimics, worships Hindu gods(the North Indian ones to be specific), speaks lengthy dialogues in single-long-shots and does whatever an actress can do in the direction of her father.

While, Chandan's part in the movie is to tease her, admire her most of the time, and also speak patriotic lines like 'soldiers in the border'. Not again. Naan Kadavul Rajendran, Vishwanath, Suhasini, Sathish and Yogi Babu are fillers here and there in the story-line, as the director has turned generous towards the audience to not to feel after seeing the faces of the lead pair alone for a long time.

Songs by Jassie Gift, that should have been path breakers, unluckily appear to be speed breakers of the movie, as they hardly try to entertain. However, the usage of 'Uyire Uyire' towards the end in parts, reminds us the sound mixing of Satru Munbu in Neethaane En Ponvasantham. With a number of close up takes, greenmat scenes and drone shots, Venugopal's camera has a very less work to do here.

With emotionless emotional scenes, this one more disproportionate mix of love and war of Tamil cinema, has eventually ended up in chaos. But, like any other Arjun film, it has guns, grenades, Bharat Mataki Jais and of course lots and lots of patriotic lines(Indian version, not Tamilian), and so, it could rarely entertain you for sure, if you aren't one of those listed anti-Indians. Jai Hind!

- Santhosh Mathevan,
Chennai, Feb 10, 2018.

This viewer's note is completely based on the perceptions of Santhosh Mathevan alone. This does not reflect the views of two or more people or a community. Queries and criticism shall be addressed to the writer only.

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