Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Nootrenbadhu 180

2011 by Jayendra

There are two multiplex's in Kochi now. The ticket charges are more than double from the regular city cinemas. And when a movie release only in the multiplex, not in the regular cinemas, normally we would expect an out of the ordinary movie, as in India now many low budget, off beat, movies are released only in multiplex's. For me, with my work hours, Sundays are the only possibilities for cinema visits. The advantage with multiplex is that they have late night shows at 2245 and 2255 hrs. If I can manage to leave work some time earlier, then I can watch movies even on regular week days. But it is difficult to leave early and after all the effort, also the longer biking to reach these cinemas, which are all on the highway, spending more money, if the 'off beat' movie turns out disappointing, it is really a bad end to my day. Normally, I would never say I lost my money after watching even a really bad movie. I would rather regret the time lost. But this night, driving back home through the peaceful and empty road, I was wondering about my decision. I could have waited for a week more to see if this movie was going to release in the regular centres, than to hurry and waste this much money.

Ajay, a doctor from US, seems to be on a sabbatical in India, not worried about the past or future, but living the present. Unlike the similar ABCD's or IBCD's, he mingles with the unfortunate on the streets and even work with them and help them. Vidya, a local photo journalist, is drawn to him and Ajai flees when she propose to him.

The beginning of the movie and almos the whole of first half is actually very good. In fact, after 10 or 15 minutes, I felt sad that the theatre was half empty. The way it was picturised was brilliant. In fact, there is a song, which is brilliantly shot. If anyone watch this song in TV, I doubt if they could wait anymore to watch the movie. A wonderful sense of imagination by the director, ably assisted by the cinematographer and editor. And the moments Ajai goes through with his house owners and Vidya all look quite genuine and nice with some simple fun. But as and when Ajai's past, in the US, is flashed in pieces, we know it is just yet another one man two woman triangular tiki - taka. And finally thats what it turns out to be. The only difference is neither does the two woman meet, nor does the man pick. The reason for Ajai's problems is the same old reason which we have seen in hundreds of romantic comedies all over India and Hollywood. And towards the second half, that is exactly what the movie is. And Ajai, doesnt really seem to be doing anything at all about his problems. His characterisation is quite strange. But the whole difference is Ajai's decision at the end, which is really different for this kind of a story. Also the director hasn't gone over board with the emotions, which is a good plus.

Whatever, there are some wonderful performances here. Sidharth plays a role which he has mastered out now through so many Telugu movies. It is the gorgeous Nithya Menon, as Divya, who actually steals the lime light with her natural performance. Her expressions and reactions are mostly quite subtle. A brilliant under play. I cannot think about another actress who can under play so well. Add to that her charm, a kind that can be seen with the like of Scarlet Johanssson. I have never liked and been attracted so much by any actress, ever since I watched Shobana in Kanamarayathu, as an adolescent boy. I hope she continues like this. Priya Anand, as Renuka, I am afraid, cannot really act. She was good in some scenes, but she is just a typical Indian heroine. Veterans, Mouli and Geetha, as the house owners, did an excellent job, inspite of their small roles.

If technical aspects and lovely frames alone would make a beautiful movie, 180 is much above average. In fact, on this side it can match the best from around the world. However, as a movie, but for its different climax, it turns out pretty ordinary.