(kj) A set of mixed feelings descends upon the viewer not only after the final scene with the last glimpse of Siddharts’s mesmerizing smile in Jayendra’s recent release “180”, but also throughout the film. On the one hand the movie appears to be a sort of an eye candy right from the pages of a current glossy magazine. On the other hand it shows us the face of the middle-class Chennai: simple and modernizing however conservative.
Siddhart acts as a young newcomer to the city of Chennai. He calls himself Mano adopting not only the name of child he met on one of the ghats in Varanasi, but also his philosophy. It is this philosophy of plain childish happiness and an ability to enjoy the moment that drives and encourages Mano to commit more and more good deeds and keep the surrounding people happy in his first months in Chennai. However, when a journalist and a good friend Vidya (Nithya Menon) reveals her feelings for him, Mano decides to leave Chennai and to choose a new destination for his journey. Vidya pursues him on his way to the airport and suddenly meets with an accident. Thereupon Mano takes her to the United States and the flashback into his past shows the viewer another Mano, a successful doctor called Ajay Kumar whose happiness and light-heartedness is crashed when he receives the news of his pancreatic cancer and the 180 days that he was left with. His former wife Renu (Priya Anand) believes her husband is dead and tries to return to the usual routine of her daily life.
The two lives of Siddhart are not clearly divided between the “now” and “before”. These are intervened and interchanged throughout both parts of the film. Though one can’t resist a rather sceptical comparison between the two settings of “180”: the posh and lavish locations of the “American dream” and the modest albeit familiar surroundings of the modern day Tamil Nadu. The fresh sound of malayalam composer Sharreth’s inspiring compositions combined with a rather novel camera handling gives the film a very classy touch. The movie will have a lasting appeal on a viewer if he or she is ready to take no notice of some of the escapist “facts” and coincidences. One will surely enjoy the story if one is prepared to open his heart to the wholesomeness and soulfulness of the human nature.