18 Pages: Familiar Terrain, But Worth A Visual Read

Sarayu Roy shines bright as Nikhil’s friend.

18 Pages (Telugu)

  • Cast: Nikhil Siddhartha, Anupama Parameswaran, Sarayu Roy, Ajay, Dinesh Tej, Brahmaji, Posani Krishna Murali, and Raj Tirandasu
  • Director: Palnati Surya Pratap
  • Producers: Bunny Vas, Sukumar Writings and GA2 Pictures
  • Music: Gopi Sundar
  • Runtime: 2 hours 17 minutes

Stories of lead pair falling for each other without even meeting isn’t new. Ajith-starrer Prema Lekha is an example.

Therefore, as a writer, one needs to bring something new to the table within these familiarities.

Sukumar is someone who is known for a distinctive style of storytelling, both what he produced and what he directed. In 18 Pages too, as a writer, Sukumar integrates certain important social topics like how social media is affecting human bonding.

It is not an easy task for both the writer and director to present a love story where the hero and heroine don’t have a combination scene for the most part.

In spite of that, 18 Pages keeps you invested even when the film goes off the rail in the second half.

The story

The film begins with the introduction of an app developer, Siddhu (Nikhil Siddartha). Siddhu is in a solid relationship and he wants to take it to the next level. He decides to surprise his girlfriend but he gets a shock in return.

The incident pushes him into depression. Siddhu starts getting into the habit of drinking and losing his temper. In this situation, he comes across a diary written by Nandini (Anupama Parameswaran) who is vastly different from Siddhu, in terms of using technology.

In fact, Nandini doesn’t even have a phone. She is someone who believes in living the moment by expressing her happiness in the form of a diary.

Siddhu learns many interesting things about Nandini and not surprisingly, falls for her. His personality also undergoes a sea change.

From a technology addict, he starts giving more importance to human interactions. The diary ends on the 18th page, leaving Siddhu eager to meet Nandini.

He is egged on by his friend played by Saruyu. However, he faces the biggest shock of his life after going to Nandini’s village. Her grandmother tells Siddhu that she died in a car accident a couple of years ago.

The rest of the story is about what exactly happened to Nandini and whether she is really dead. If not dead, is Siddhu able to meet her is one question that keeps us invested in the film till the end.

Siddhu’s search for Nandini is also reminiscent of the Sharwanand and Allari Naresh-starrer Gamyam.

The assets

18 Pages wastes no time in setting up the personality of its leading man. Director Palnati Surya Pratap makes you feel Siddhu’s heartbreak. And as an audience, you want him to find his love.

The film becomes even more interesting with the arrival of the diary. The romantic chemistry between the lead pair is pretty much visible, even though it is only at the end of the movie that they meet.

After Karthikeya 2, Nikhil is once again in good form. He portrays the transition of Siddhu convincingly.

The scenes between Nikhil and Saruyu are another major asset of 18 Pages. Their camaraderie and the bond of friendship come across strongly.

Indeed, Sarayu shines the brightest in the supporting cast without any questions. Her scenes with Nikhil can be watched on repeat mode.

The simplicity of Nandini is a little overdone but Anupama Parameswaran manages to make it work with her acting. It is to Anupama’s credit that the audiences are still invested in what happened to her.

Music by Gopi Sundar is another big driving point. Most of the songs have a melodious feel which takes the story forward.

The first half has the perfect mixture of light and dramatic portions. The interval bang raises the expectations for an equally engaging second half.

However, it is in the second half that the flick starts slipping. The suspense involving Anupama’s character needed to be better etched.

The drawbacks

The flashback portions are fine but need to be stronger. The villains headed by Bramhaji and Ajay aren’t menacing enough. They come as regular villains with zero personality.

The proceedings slow down considerably in the last thirty minutes. As an audience, you want the ending to come quickly.

In spite of the loose second half, 18 Pages is still worth a watch, particularly for the actors’ performances.

Verdict

To sum it up, 18 Pages isn’t a seamless combination of romance and thrills. But then, it makes for a good watch.

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