Critic’s Rating : 2.5 / 5
18 Pages Movie Review : This love story is a mixed bag
Review: Palnati Surya Pratap’s 18 Pages sees a story by Sukumar and is a sweet, light-hearted tale of love that keeps you hooked for the most part. All one expects from a story like this is for it to keep you engaged, which the film manages to do for a chunk of it.
Siddhu (Nikhil Siddhartha) is an app developer who has just found out something heartbreaking about his girlfriend. He goes on an unintentionally hilarious bender (Time Ivvu Pilla) and finds a diary written by Nandini (Anupama Parameswaran). He goes on a rebound and instead of drowning himself in alcohol or in the arms of another woman, he finds himself drowning in the 18 pages she has written. He believes she’s the golden-hearted solution to his newfound pessimism. But the more he digs to find her, the more a mystery begins to unravel.
18 Pages starts out as a sweet tale of the love of a man who has fallen for words written two years ago and a woman he has never even met. The film works best when it is focused on Siddhu’s longing because the backstory. It might not be perfect but Siddhu and his trusty sidekick Baghi (Sarayu Roy) have presence. They don’t offer anything out of the box, just a lot of silliness and some humour. The way Palnati also subtly shows how Siddhu and Nandini were destined to meet without shoving it down your throat with melodramatic dialogues is sweet. A track involving Siddhu’s family is okay.
Where the film falters is when it comes to Nandini and her backstory – neither is that exciting or unique. The way she’s written, like some old school Tollywood heroine, only has its charm for the nostalgia factor. It feels like Sukumar also found this story in a dusty diary. The whole pay-off of the film depends more on that than on Siddhu and Nandini meeting. The whole ‘let’s talk to each other instead of looking at our phones’ conversation also seems done and dusted. The issue is the film never manages to elevate the material that seems exciting on paper and not so much on-screen.
Gopi Sundar’s music and A Vasanth’s cinematography aid the film well. However, there are some issues with sound when it comes to the dubbing (at the theatre this reviewer watched the film) in some key parts of the film that take away from the whole experience. Some parts of the film are on the nose while others might seem saccharine sweet for your taste. Palnati also succeeds in making you want to sit through the duration of the film, despite its flaws, just to know if these two people ever make it.
Nikhil does a good job as Siddhu, so does Anupama as Nandini. These two lend some deftness to their characters, especially at the end. Sarayu is hilarious and the rest of the cast featuring names like Posani Krishna Murali and Ajay do well with what they’re offered.
18 Pages is the kind of film you’ll want to watch if you’re enamoured by the idea of love. Just keep your expectations in check.