It has sweet people, sweet songs and a sweet sacrifice, that gives it a youthful flavour. The film has been shot in some exotic locations with all its lead characters wearing designer wear and having expensive lifestyle, mostly in the second half.
Jayendra and his writer Subha seems to be influenced by Mani Ratnam style of gossamer romantic films of the 80’s. However the story here is hard to swallow. Despite the director’s best efforts though, the film drags along because of a rickety screenplay that leaves you with too many questions unanswered.
It is a languorous look at the agony and ecstasy of love. The film opens with hero doing rituals for a lost soul in Kasi and story is told in intermittent flashbacks. Ajay Kumar aka AJ (Siddharth) is a doctor in US who falls in love and marries Renu (Priya Anand) a happy-go-lucky girl. All seems hunky dory till, till fate intervenes and AJ is forced to leave his sweetheart and settle in Chennai for six months with a new name Manu. He stays with a Brahmin couple (Mouli and Geetha).
Manu’s philosophy in life is to live for the day and not to worry about the future. Manu is a do-gooder and messiah of sorts as he starts a mess for his landlady and arranges sponsors for newspaper boys in the neighbourhood! A photo journalist Vidya (Nitya Menen) falls hook-line sinker for Manu after two meetings and soon confesses her love to him. But our hero is in no mood to listen and he decides to leave town. But once again fate intervenes and he is forced to take Vidya with him to US! Now can we expect a twist, as Renu is in the same city?
On the up-side, 180 first half is light and peppy and a major plus point is the pleasant music score of Sharreth. The rhythmic ‘Rules Kidayaadhu’ and the melodious ‘Nee Korinal’ are the pick of the album. The picturisation of Rules using a phantom Flex camera captures the magic of each moment in ultra-slow motion.
It has compelling cinematography by Balasubramaniem, especially the outdoor street scenes in San Francisco, rich look thanks to colourist Kevin Shaw and sound designer Tapas Nayak gives it that extra edge.
The entire film is held together by one-man Siddharth. He has given a matured sharp-edged performance bringing out the joys and hidden fears of the character. Nithya Menen glides through her role effortlessly conveying the jovial nature and anguish of a young woman who dared to love the wrong guy. Priya Anand has the more author backed role and wins our sympathies. The guy who plays hero’s friend in US along with Mouli fit into their roles.
If the director and his writer had paid a little more attention to the hero AJ’s characterisation, it would have worked big time. The film follows the path of love, misunderstandings, heartache and long drawn attempts to define and redefine love.
However 180 is totally different from the assembly line mass masalas that is flooding the screens. The film is worth a look for its superior packaging with a touch of class.
Verdict: Above Average