The philosophy of living for the moment has been repeated oft by the mystics and the great spiritual leaders of the world – more so in India. 180 is based on the same premise, that living for now is the root to all happiness and that breaking attachments is the highest form of expressing love. With proven actors like Siddharth, Nithya Menen and Priya Anand in the lead, and amazingly planned promotion 180 has been able to garner enough attention. Will it work?
What’s it about :
After a quick lesson about life from a kid in Kasi, Mano (Siddharth) goes to Hyderabad. Here he quietly makes friends with his neighbors, paper boys, and everyone he can. This catches the attention of Vidya (Nithya Menen), a journalist. She follows him, only to fall completely for his ‘live fully for the day’ attitude. However, Mano seems to be chased by ghosts of the past as he happens to look back into life often, revealing his past. He is a surgeon in San Fransico, who falls in love and marries his one time patient – Renu (Priya Anand). Life seems to have been happy for both of them, until destiny takes strange turns. In the mean time, when Vidya expresses her love, Mano packs his bags and leaves, shocking her completely. Why does Mano change his name, what had transpired between him and his wife, and what happens when Vidya comes to know about all of it - the answers form the rest of the story.
What is Good :
Siddharth is completely at ease as the easy going man, hiding strong emotions beneath him. He looks amazingly hot when he has to, and emotes exceptionally in certain situations. He is matched frame to frame by Priya Anand, whenever she is given a chance to. It is surprising how she has evolved from Leader, where her expressions weren’t as free as they are here in 180. That she looks beautiful, takes a backseat in comparison to her acting. And when both Priya and Siddharth are together, their chemistry rocks. But the actor who takes the cake away from both of them is Nithya as the bubbly and loving Vidya. She brings smiles, evokes pathos and completely dominates Siddharth in almost every scene. She is that good. Period!
Supporting cast, including few unknown (or Tamil?) actors, a kid, and popular actors like Geetha, Tanikella Bharani, M.S.Narayana, etc. gave their 100% too. It is very rare to see completely dedicated performances in one Telugu film, without the support of comedy acts. That doesn’t mean that there are no comic situations here. Watch out for that scene in which Nithya comes searching for Siddharth, or the one that involves Priya Anand speaking with another character on phone. Humor is very subtle, and that’s why probably it works.
Unlike most other films based on the same theme, 180, is more of a character study, where the struggles and the realizations of one single character come to the fore, more than script itself or the generally followed structure. While rich visuals and amazing score keep you asking for more, the story, which isn’t all that new for Telugu audiences, will probably disappoint them.
What is bad:
Right from the start of the movie, it becomes clears with what 180 deals with – death! Yet, the first half, thanks to lots of songs, Nithya- Siddharth track, Siddharth- Priya track, and interesting merging of both these stories, works really well, even though it is a touch slow. However, with its central theme being quite similar to Chakram or Anand or Kal Ho Na Ho, the ‘mystery’ element doesn’t really come across as mysterious. Poor dialogue from Anuradha, spoils the fun of it, and the way climax was dealt, more so when the way has been paved for an emotional ending, leaves a lot to be desired. As a result the conceptually wonderful ending, becomes dull, and seems ‘too all of a sudden’.
Technical Departments :
Apart from the actor performances, 180 is lifted by amazing camera work from Balasubramaniam. Entire film is completely pleasing to the eyes. And when you have foreign locales at your service, the visuals become even more dramatic. Art director and costumer bask in the glory of the cinematographer, as they add springly colors to the screen. Sharreth’s background score is intriguing and his brilliantly composed songs become even more entertaining with the way were shot. The song, in which the frames speed is increased to 500 to 2000 frames per second is terrific to watch on the big screen. The intentions of the director Jayendra, are quite honest. His expertise is well evident in the first half, however, he is done in with a screenplay that seemed to drag unnecessarily in the second half. He alone can be blamed for the way the climax falls flat – may be it needed even better explanation, or some level of spoon feeding to the audience. However, he brings all his advertising and media experience to make the best use of his crew and his actors, and that is worthy of applause.
In a world, where the negative aspects of the past drive people to work ‘madly’ for a bright future, it is shocking how the beauty of the present is missed. Nothing makes this point more evident than the super slow motion song in 180 – where only the ability to slow down, and stretch time to the maximum possible, reveals the beauty of the ‘now’. 180 is for those who love the present, but don’t mind facing destiny with audacity and fervor. Unfortunately, there aren’t many such people in the world. To put it shortly, 180 is a film that works at its own pace, and has everything that should make it a beautiful movie; but beauty lies in its beholder.
123Telugu.com Rating : 3/5
Legend: 5 - Flawless
4 - Must Watch
3 - One Time Watch
2 - Wait for the DVD
1 - Stay Away