Solo Brathuke So Better movie review: Sai Dharam Tej's film sacrifices its soul to strip the characters of charisma
Solo Brathuke So Better chugs along to make its point about the need for a companion, but the journey is bland
Solo Brathuke So Better follows the journey of Virat (Tej), a Vizag-based youngster, who believes that relationships and marriage will wreak havoc in a person’s life. He believes in this principle so much that he even ends up writing a book with 108 shlokas, which is a major hit in his college.
But Virat is no incel. He just does not like the idea of love, and he does not even respect the institution of marriage, be it in his own family or even Gods. But then, life teaches him that the laws of nature are much more stronger than his shlokas. The rest of the story is all about what happens to Virat when he undergoes a change of heart, and wants to get married.
Written and directed by Subbu, one of the recurring themes in the story is that of loneliness, and how everyone needs a companion at some point in their lives. There is even a hilarious gag involving Telugu filmmaker R Narayana Murthy, who advises youngsters to not follow in his footsteps when it comes to living a solo life. But the most impressive part is how well Subbu delves into loneliness and companionship through the eyes of Subbu’s uncle (Rao Ramesh), who is the best written character in the story. Although Telugu filmmakers have a strange obsession with equating wives with mothers, the emotional context of this reference in Solo Brathuke So Better hits the right spot. Without sermonising too much, Ramesh’s character turns into a fulcrum which balances the entire film. However, this is the one of the very few things that go in favour of the film.
The problems with Solo Brathuke So Better are aplenty, and it begins with the tone that Subbu sets for the story in the first act. We know very little about Virat’s backstory, and thus, his devotion towards his principles does not quite gel into progression of his character arc. At some point, the conversations take a comic turn with references to getting married after 30, grey hair, kids addressing adults as 'uncle.' While it certainly evokes a few laughs, it just does not add up as far as the storytelling is concerned. The only reprieve from all this mediocrity comes in the form Govind Gowda (Vennela Kishore), whose many attempts to get married turn futile. Kishore comes to the rescue, to an extent, and his scenes feel like much-needed halts in a journey which feels increasingly futile.
Then, there is Virat himself, whose character turns so dormant, especially in the second half of the story, that after a point, you do not even understand what is holding him back from pouring his heart out. He is clearly crushed about his newfound persona and Amrutha’s (Nabha Natesh) expectations from him. But there is no urgency in his actions, and even if there is, it does not transform from paper to screen. Amrutha’s characterisation itself lacks depth. She idolises Virat till the end, and beyond that, director Subbu does not quite let Amrutha steer the direction of the story. This might as well be true for the film itself, and not just Amrutha.
In a way, Solo Brathuke So Better feels like a simple equation, where the lead character goes through a transformation with the help of a catalyst. But in the process, the film sacrifices its soul and strips its characters of charisma or an interesting personality. It makes you wonder if Virat has learnt what being in love feels like because in the end, all his focus is on getting married without truly understanding why and what makes Amrutha so special.
At a runtime of just over two hours, Solo Brathuke So Better chugs along to make its point about the need for a companion, but the journey is so bland that you might as well read a book instead.
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