'18 Pages', presented by Allu Aravind, was released in theatres today. Here is our review of the film.
Siddhu (Nikhil Siddhartha) and Nandini (Anupama Parameswaran) live in two different timelines. They are separated by two years. Their worlds meet when Siddhu stumbles upon a diary that Nandini wrote. The diary entries influence his personality so much that he becomes transformed and finds renewed hope in life after a heart-breaking incident. But he soon discovers that Nandini may actually be facing mortal danger.
Nikhil Siddhartha rides on the burden of high expectations (thanks to 'Kartikeya 2' becoming a blockbuster a few months ago). His sincere and lovable performance is in consonance with the tone of the proceedings. Anupama is different from how she was portrayed in 'Rowdy Boys' and 'Rakshasudu'. Casting her proves to be a perfect choice; she looks pure-hearted.
Sarayu Roy, the YouTuber, is here to stay. Her onscreen persona will find many takers among the audience. At least in the hall where this reviewer watched the movie, her repartees were received with laughter by the audience.
Dinesh Tej as Dr. Sandeep is good, while Ajay and Shatru are seen in negative roles. Posani Krishna Murali and Raghu Babu have extended cameos.
Mollywood composer Gopi Sundar's music enriches every 'page' of the movie. His BGM is way better compared to some of his recent outings like 'Anubhavinchu Raja' and 'Tuck Jagadish'. A Vasanth of the recent 'Meet Cute' and 'Like Share & Subscribe' fame delivers an average output. The subject demanded Naveen Nooli's editing to be sharp. And he delivers that. The slow-paced second half may not be his fault; stretches of lackluster writing have to be blamed for that.
The film's story is penned by star director Sukumar, while 'Kumari 21F' fame Palnati Surya Pratap handles the direction and screenplay departments. "We must have no reason for loving someone. It should be an unanswerable question," says Nandini in a key moment. If you walk into the theatre expecting a feel-good story, you will be disappointed. '18 Pages' takes the form of an easy-going thriller in the second half.
The first half sets up the lead characters. Sidhu is an App developer whose life is hyper-digitalized. Nandini is the polar opposite; she hates smartphones. Her innocence and charming nature inspire Sidhu to become a Nature-loving, kind-natured person. As he falls in love with a person he has never met, he also becomes a crackpot.
The film is constantly engaging as long as it sticks to the love and comedy stretches. But once Sidhu digs into Nandini's past to know her whereabouts, '18 Pages' becomes too simplistic. Its second hour is under-cooked. The film also becomes too saccharine, as the director belabors to show Nandini as a Rainbow of kindness and warmth and poetry and all!
Despite its flaws that come out crawling in the last 45 minutes or so, '18 Pages' is still worth a watch.
This film is fairly enjoyable and presents two likable lead characters. The dialogues are also interesting. But the second half is where the narration takes a beating.