In this exclusive interview with Only Kollywood, director Bejoy Nambiar, who is making a comeback to Tamil film industry after David, talks about his upcoming release Solo, Dulquer’s preparation and the shooting process for four different characters, and working with a senior editor like Sreekar Prasad in a film which brims with a young and vibrant team.
“Solo is a completely collective effort”
“We were able to complete the shoot in 50 days in two languages only because of my brilliant team. Solo is a completely collective effort. I’m glad that I had people who envisioned the film like me, knew that this is what the project demanded and helped me execute it. Actually, in my head, I had kept a buffer of 10-15 days extra to wrap up the project since I was working with three different cinematographers and a new set of actors for each story.”
The decision to let audiences know about the core plot of four different elements in Solo was the big call Bejoy had to take to promote the film. Solo is an anthology of four different stories on wind, fire, water, and earth. Dulquer plays the roles of Shiva, Rudra, Trilok, and Shekhar in the film.
“Solo has a layered screenplay. To be very honest, this is the kind of age where you’ll have to inform the audience before they come and watch the film. That’s why I had to reveal the whole concept about the four elements. Otherwise, I would just want the audience to come and experience the film for what it is. But, it becomes difficult to market the film too since ours is an anthology. So, I had to give the basic premise to viewers. That’s the big call I had to take; to let the audiences know about the four elements and four characters of Dulquer.”
“Dulquer suggested that the story will resonate in Tamil too and it got me thinking”
“We decided to make this as a bilingual on day one itself when we discussed the script. Dulquer suggested that the story will resonate in Tamil too and it got me thinking. So, we kept exploring this option in further discussions and decided that it should be bilingual. The bilingual gave us the opportunity to scale it up and do it the way we wanted to do it. ”
The shooting process of four different stories
“We both were very clear. We decided that we’ll do one story and Dulquer can go and work on another story and come back. So, he has the time also to prepare and work on his look too. We shot the first story and took a long break. Then we were choked and had to finish all three stories together. We had a brief break between the second and third story, but we filmed the third and fourth one back to back,” explained Bejoy.
While Solo has an established star like Dulquer playing the central protagonist, Bejoy has roped in a few actresses who are completely new to the southern film industry, apart from a few known faces.
“Dhansika is a supremely talented girl”
“We were very clear in approaching the film by story-wise. And we decided the cast story-wise. With a well-known actor like Dulquer already roped in, I wanted to try working with other actors with whom I’ve been wanting to work with. Arthi Venkatesan was someone who tested with us for a Hindi film. I was keen to collaborate with her. Dulquer knew Sruthi, and he suggested that we should test her. And I was blown away by her test. In fact, I want to put the test out once the film releases. We were trying for a lot of options before we finalised Sruthi. And when I saw her test, I knew that she was the perfect fit for the role. Neha Sharma also did a fantastic test. She was quite gung-ho about her role, and I was not worried about the language part,” said Bejoy.
Bejoy showered praise on Dhanshika’s performance as a blind dancer in the film. She is paired opposite the Shekhar character of Dulquer, a stutter.
“Dhanshika has been presented in a very different way than her usual movies. She is a supremely talented girl. She plays a blind dancer in the film, and we were taken aback by her performance. She was completely immersed in the role ten days before the shoot and kept rehearsing at home to make sure it’s authentic,” said Bejoy.
In a film which is replete with youngsters, the sole senior-most technical person working on the project is ace editor Sreekar Prasad.
“Mani sir and I keep talking about how well Sreekar sir grooms his assistants”
“My scripts are very edit-heavy scripts. And I also shoot very economically. I don’t keep on shooting. We have just enough about what we need. For some montage song, we shoot a lot. For scenes and all, I never just randomly shoot and never overcover too. I can safely say from the last couple of films that I’ve worked with Sreekar sir that there were very few occasions where the scenes were taken out. Even in ‘Solo,’ there’s just one small scene we have cut out. Sreekar sir has got ten times the energy of his assistants, who are all bright and young. You should see the way he interacts with his associate editors. He gives them so much liberty and independence and chats with them like dearest buddies. Mani sir and I keep talking about how well Sreekar sir grooms his assistants. He makes the whole environment healthy and liberating for the team working under him,” Bejoy said about his working experience with the multiple national award-winning editor Sreekar Prasad.
Solo is set for a worldwide release in Tamil and Malayalam on October 5th.