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'18 Pages' Movie Review
Cast: Nikhil Siddhartha, Anupama Parameswaran, Sarayu, Ajay, Posani Krishnamurali and others
Music: Gopi Sundar
Dialogues: Srikanth Vissa
Screenplay - Direction: Palnati Surya Pratap
After a massive blockbuster like 'Karthikeya 2', Nikhil and Anupama Parameswaran are coming together once again with '18 Pages'. Palnati Surya Pratap who scored a hit with 'Kumari 21F' is directing this flick while star director Sukumar penned this story. The team managed to generate a lot of curiosity through the promos and let us see how the movie turned out.
Siddhu(Nikhil) is a software employee. After going into depression due to a girl betraying him, he finds an old diary of Nandini (Anupama). He starts reading it and her unique personality which is unlike any other girl impresses him big time. In the process of knowing her through the diary, he falls in love with her. But the diary stops midway and rest of the book is empty. Siddhu decides to find out what happened after that and goes to her house after finding her address. He learns a shocking fact about Nandini. What is it? Did Siddhu meet Nandini? What happened after that? The answers to these questions form the rest of the story.
Not just his movies but the stories Sukumar writes are also very different. 'Kumari 21F' is a big example of that. Surya Pratap dealt the script given by Sukumar in a wonderful manner and scored a hit. People expected a lot when they heard that Sukumar's story is being directed by Surya Pratap once again. With impressive lead actors like Nikhil and Anupama at the helm and Geetha Arts backing the movie, people predicted the movie to be a sure shot hit. The way the movie started and how the story got unfolded gave us a feeling that the team has reached the expectations. But the forced inclusion of a crime angle in a beautiful love story played the spoilsport. The feel good nature of the film completely disappears due to the crime element and the movie doesn't get that feeling back till the end. This made '18 Pages' remain an average movie.
People get nostalgic when they see love stories with a backdrop of a diary. The entire world is revolving around smartphones these days. People get surprised when they hear about diaries, post boxes and loving each other without looking at them. They feel that it is quite outdated but Sukumar penned a compelling love story based on these elements. The proceedings sometimes remind you of 'Priyamaina Neeku' and Surya Pratap's screenplay runs in an engaging fashion. We connect with the characters and hero getting inspired by what the heroine writes in her diary and setting is life straight is an interesting point. Parallelly showcasing the girl's life two years back and the boy's life now is quite good. Despite the emotional factor missing, the movie definitely doesn't bore the audience. One predicts that the second half with me more intense and emotional.
The crime angle that doesn't fit into the story arrives and disturbs the viewers. The mood of the film shifts completely and the crime angle lacks any strength. The movie completely goes off track and it is quite tough to get back the lost feel and mood in '18 Pages'. After the crime angle gets done, the makers showed the movie from the heroine's angle. She starts getting attracted to the hero and those scenes are very regular. If the second half had intensity and emotion, the climax would have touched people's hearts but the disturbance in the second half completely spoils the mood. Sukumar says it is a great love story in the end but the audience do not feel the same way. Despite having the potential to become a great love story, the makers failed to utilize it. '18 Pages' is like a tasty dish that was spoiled by the extra masalas. You can watch this film if you are okay with it but do not expect anything huge from the movie.
Nikhil and Anupama looked different from 'Karthikeya 2'. Their characters and acting are also in contrast with 'Karthikeya 2'. It is a walk in the park for Nikhil as he did such roles many times before. His energy helped the movie a lot. The youth gets connected to his role a lot. Anupama got a memorable role in this movie. She looked wonderful in the traditional girl role and looked amazing despite minimal makeup. Sarayu did a good job and the punches work out well. Ajay, Dinesh, Posani and others are decent in their roles.
Music is very crucial for love stories. Gopi Sundar who gave super hit albums like 'Ninnu Kori', 'Majili', 'Geetha Govindham' and others did complete justice to '18 Pages' as well. Despite not having chartbusters, his songs breathed life into the proceedings. His background score is also very pleasing to hear. Vasant's cinematography is colorful. It helped the movie a lot. The production values are top notch as usual while Sukumar's story is interesting though it was not up to his standards. Surya Pratap's screenplay is not that great. The love story is handled quite well but the crime element disappoints. Both Sukumar and Surya Pratap falter in this aspect. Surya Pratap managed to showcase the good aspects of the script in a very good manner but he failed to elevate the not-so-great parts of the script.
Verdict: '18 Pages' – Partly Pleasing… Partly Disappointing