Solomante Theneechakal review: Lal Jose-Joju George pull off a feel-good thriller

The film is by no means a ‘grand return’ for Lal Jose. But it is still a gripping crime thriller that pulls off several twists and turns, aided by convincing performances from its lead actors.
Joju, Darshana and Vincy in Solomante Theneechanakal
Joju, Darshana and Vincy in Solomante Theneechanakal
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They say there is a kala hridayam (artist’s heart) inside every khaki uniform. Suja and Glyna, both civil police officers and the best of friends, would not disagree. After standing under the sun and overseeing traffic all day, Suja (Darshana Sudarshan) comes back to the women’s police quarters to make Instagram reels with Glyna (Vincy Aloshious), her housemate who is deployed at the local police station. They sing and dance to their heart’s content, shooting videos for their Instagram page (rather unoriginally called insta_sisters), revelling in the joy and comfort of each other’s friendship. It is into this happy, calm dynamic between the two friends that enter two men — Circle Inspector Binu Alex (Addis Antony Akkara) and Sharath Balakrishnan (Shambhu Menon) — irrevocably changing the course of the women officers’ lives.

These four primary characters in Solomante Theneechakal, apart from Joju George who appears halfway through the film, are all played by relative newcomers — specifically the winners and runners-up of the reality TV talent show Nayika Nayakan, which aired on Mazhavil Manorama in the year 2018. At the time, director Lal Jose, who was among the judges on the show, had declared that he would feature its winners as the lead characters in his next film. He has done just that through Solomante Theneechakal four years later, and all the four actors do an excellent job of bringing their characters to life. Among them, Vincy — who has already appeared in a handful of popular movies and proved her mettle as an actor — once again stands out as the spunky and spirited Glyna.

There is an old school charm about the romance that ensues between Suja and Sharath, who is a high-end car driver with a few secrets. The classic misunderstanding-turned-love affair is a tried and tested trope with little new to offer, but it works decently nonetheless. CI Binu, meanwhile, is set up to be a villain right from the get go, with ominous music playing in the background as he passes by the women officers’ quarters on his motorcycle, a leery look on his face. Addis pulls off this villainy well, despite the hiccups in his dialogue delivery now and then.

But it is not until the entry of Joju’s eponymous CI Solomon that Solomante Theneechakal picks up pace. A homicide that comes out of the blue immediately causes a shift in the genre and tone of the film. From here on, Joju shines, as expected, in the role of a smart cop that no one had any doubt he would shine in. But as an actor, the script does little to challenge him.

The film’s name is a direct reference to the tale of King Solomon, who faces a seemingly impossible challenge of identifying the real flower bouquet among two stunningly identical ones. That is, until he hears a slight buzz and sees a lit­tle bee land incon­spic­u­ous­ly on the real one. Joju’s Solomon even takes the time to explain this story in the film, referring to this as the method he had employed to zero in on the actual culprit — a portion that comes across as a stretch, incorporated simply to validate the film’s name.

Vidyasagar’s songs, while always a pleasure to listen to, unfortunately seem forced and stick out like a sore thumb in a film that tries hard to fit into new age sensibilities. Fortunately, no attempts are made to whitewash the Kerala Police, with the script making sure to establish that there are enough both good and bad apples within the force.

Solomante Theneechakal is by no means a ‘grand return’ for Lal Jose, but it is still a gripping crime thriller that effectively pulls off several twists and turns. However, if one watches the film with any edge-of-the-seat expectations, keeping Lal Jose’s last crime thriller outing Classmates (2006) in mind, it is more than likely to fall short.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film's producers or any other members of its cast and crew.

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