(Note: This is a review of the Malayalam version of Solo. The film has been simultaneously made in Tamil.) Dulquer Salmaan is as hot as I imagine the planet Mercury must be. Now imagine someone bringing Mercury down to earth, cloning it to generate four blazing balls of fire and packing them into a single film. That is what writer-director Bejoy Nambiar has done in his new release Solo , an anthology of short stories written jointly by Nambiar and Dhanya Suresh, with DQ — as he is popularly known — playing the protagonist in each. Too hot to handle? Jokes (meaning, that hormonally charged first paragraph) aside, actually not. Nambiar handles the central artiste in his cast as any director should treat a gifted performer: with respect but not reverence. Too many filmmakers ruin potentially good projects by behaving like fanboys rather than helmsmen. In Nambiar’s hands though, Solo is not star-struck, not designed simply to show off a young superstar’s beauty and talent, not painfully conscious of his presence or overwhelmed by it. Salmaan does not overshadow all else here. He is what he is and ought to be: an actor playing a part… well, four parts. […]

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