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18 Pages, Contrived But Cute Take on Acts Of Kindness



18 Pages

18 Pages

Directed  by  Palanti  Surya Pratap 

Rating: **

Meet  Nandini in  Palnati Surya Pratap’s Telugu  film 18 Pages, now  streaming on Netflix. She is the epitome of  generosity and kindness. When  a little boy at the traffic signal sells her worthless ballpens, she buys the whole bunch with a  smile.

 The boy is  guilt-stricken. “Akka(Didi)  I  cannot sell you these. They don’t even work,” Nandini just smiles and says, “Take the  money  you need it for your mother’s medicine,”  …or  was it sister’s  school fee , or father’s debt…Take your pick.

Later the  boy rescues Nandini from  kidnappers. This is a  bit too much to  digest.

The  above exchange provides  an ample  peek into  the sheer syrupiness of   the product.  18 Pages, refers to a  diary that  the  hero finds on the road  and takes home for timepass. Soon he becomes incurably enamoured  of the  diarist, the  above woman with  the bogus ballpens  who doles out goodness as if  it were going out of fashion.

 And sadly, it is. This is  why this over-sweetened dish of  dogood-ing hits home. It awaken in  us the rapidly fading fervor  for kindness. Nandini in 18  Pages  is too good to be  true. At the same  time  she is  what we  all want to be, or at least  aim at being.She is so submerged  in   the overflowing   milk of human kindness you feel  she  may slip and fall in the  puddle.

        Providentially, Nandini  stands tall  as a figure  of  compassion in a world where  humanism is  quickly dying.Writer Sukumar leans into the limpid pool of  Nandini’s  munificence  without tripping over her self righteousness.

 The  young actress Anupama Parmeshwaran  who plays Nandini is just the right  fit for the angelic  part. She brings to her role the  unadorned charm  of Sai Pallavi and the uprightness of  Revathi in roles  that require her to be morally upright.Parmeshwaran is the source of light the reason to beam, in 18 Pages.

Her  presence is especially admirable considering her co-star Nikhil  Siddhartha  is rather dismayingly denuded of  any charm or screen presence.In essence, each time Parmeswharan  is  on the screen she lights up the frames.

The female lead  apart, the  plot is dotted with ditzy characters and  manipulated twists and turns  which are designed  to keep the lovers apart until the final hurrah. Watching the  seesaw between saccharine sentimentality and  overt melodrama  could be  cumbersome for those who like their rom-com light to the touch   . Having said that,  the cloying goodygoody-ness  of  18 Pages is  a lot less  annoying than in  Jeevan Jijo’s recent  Malayalam film Ullasam Shane Nigam discovers life  and love  by  reading someone’s personal  journal.

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