It is still a Tuesday but the Pathaan wave ain’t stopping, with the film on the cusp of being the fastest to 300 crore club. The film marks Shahrukh Khan’s debut in the elite club. And while the film is destined to break many more records, I decided to keep our little show moving by watching the new Telugu film 18 Pages which is streaming on Netflix. As most of the times, I knew nothing much about the film but there was something about the title that made me want to give it a go. It did promise to be a sweet little romantic ride. So then does 18 Pages manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
18 Pages follows the story of a heartbroken guy who stumbles upon a diary of a girl whom he hasn’t met. Soon his feelings turn into an undying love for her. Will fate bring them together? The story here has a sweet little vibe to it besides being a breezy romantic saga. The screenplay standing at a shade above 2 hours(discounting the very long end credits) does make for a brisk watch without the drama being dragged at any given point.
The drama opens with the introduction of the protagonist who is always busy on his phone, oblivious of the world around him. He is in a relationship which soon turns sour, leaving him heartbroken and frustrated. But accidently, he stumbles upon a diary which does change his life for the better. The drama here has a very youthful vibe to it. I also did like how the writers were able to incorporate technology in the drama that did add a nice little facet to the proceedings. The drama is light and frothy although slightly far-fetched if you come to think of it.
The proceedings are extremely fast paced which does act as a double edged sword. While the drama is entertaining and it doesn’t drag anywhere, the audience is always kept on its toes whereas there was a potential to allow the viewers to soak in the drama and invest in the characters. The latter still holds true but partly so. The mad rush here could have been avoided in return for some solidity. But credit where due – the love story is really heartfelt and does ring in a fresh vibe to the drama. The subplots are interesting and do have their heart in the right place.
The drama also tries to mix genres. There is a massive twist at the halfway mark that adds to the mystery of the drama. In between, there is also a brief use of commercial tropes which could have been left out as well. I did feel that from the point of view of its concept, had the film stuck on to its core emotions and just focused on the love story then this film would have had an even bigger impact. But there are so many delicate moments which are nicely executed as well. The events leading up to the final act do get the drama back on track after a brief diversion. And that final scene was beautiful that does leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling with a smile on your face. So overall, the screenplay is well written with several heartwarming and heartfelt moments.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are well penned and make for an impactful viewing. The music is melodious and gels well with the vibe of the drama. The BGM is beautiful and enhances the drama really well. The cinematography captures some beautiful frames as well. The editing is choppy and a bit of an issue, quickly cutting to the next scene before some of the emotions of the ongoing scene reach you. Director Palnati Surya Pratap does a commendable job here by keeping the core emotions of the drama intact. He consistently does keep the audience invested right throughout the drama by introducing some event or the other in the screenplay.
The performances are pretty good here. Dinesh Tej as Sandeep is sincere and earnest. Sarayu Roy as Baghi has her moments to shine. Anupama Parmeswaran as Nandini is so charming in her role. She has a bit of sweetness to her character that really makes her affable in an incredible job done. Nikhil Siddhartha as Siddhu is outstanding to watch, carrying his good form ahead from Karthikeya 2. He has an exuberant vibe to his character that makes the viewers root for him here. Once again, a brilliant job done. All other actors have also done a good job.
18 Pages is a breezy little romantic drama that makes for a good watch. Available on Netflix.