118 is first crime thriller film from versatile Kalyan Ram and also marks directorial debut in Telugu for popular cinematographer KV Guhan. Talented heroines Nivetha Thomas and Shalini Pandey are part of the project produced by Mahesh S Koneru. Mystifying title and intriguing promos have hiked expectations. Will 118 live up to the expectations? Let's follow in the review.
An investigative journalist Goutham (Kalyan Ram) is mystified about a haunting dream where he witnesses fee goons attacking anonymous lady (Nivetha Thomas). Taking the dream seriously, Goutham runs behind clues. In the investigation, he discovers that the girl in dream is Aadhya who is missing from last few weeks. In parallel, the goons batch is on a mission to eradicate all the clues connected to mysterious misdeed and they even attack Goutham. Who is Aadhya? What are the facts Goutham find in his investigation with help of lucid dreaming technique? What is the story’s central connection to 118 number?
Genetic drug testing concept is not something new to Telugu film industry and viewers but lucid dreaming is the idea we are unaccustomed to. Director KV Guhan smartly blended these two interesting concepts to offer a new thrilling experience. Well aware of risks involved in thriller scripts; he locked a perfect runtime. The investigation process where numerous threads are introduced gave a thrilling experience incessantly supported by engaging narrative without any extra commercialities.
KV Guhan is one of the finest cinematographers and scored first class marks for his all-round work as a cinematographer, story, screenplay writer and director. Writing is neat, confined with no deviations and he goes a step further with gripping execution. Screenplay is filled with adequate thrilling moments. Visual treatment of the film is a feast for eyes. Shekar Chandra’s background score feeds right emotions. Chandamame song is romantic and pleasant. Tammiraju's editing looks neat with no real hindrances and second half is handled more maturely. Production values of East Coast Production of Mahesh Koneru are fine.
Onto Performances, 118 has two powerhouse performers in Kalyan Ram and Nivetha Thomas who carried the film on shoulders. Their efforts drive us through various emotions. Kalyan Ram looked handsome, his chemistry with Shalini Pandey is good in Chandamame song. Shalini looked gorgeous though got less space. Show stealer is Nivetha Thomas around whom whole story pivots. Prabhas Srinu was funny at times and Nasser as a psychologist was useful. Other artists played their parts.
3. Lucid Dreaming Concept
4. Lead Actors Performances
1. Few Dull Moments
2. Strictly For Multiplex Audience
3. Regular Flash back
Starting from title to poster design to teaser to trailer, each promotional content of 118 hiked expectations. KV Guhan as promised has come up with an engaging thriller which will keep us hooked with twists, turns from start to end. He should be lauded for incorporating lucid dreaming technique to crack murder mystery. The film is not just about murder mystery but also dealt with another interesting concept.
Movie begins on bang with Goutham waking up with a haunting dream. His investigation skills are shown with following episodes where he catches huge sum of a politician transported in ambulance. Recurrence of dream alerts Goutham to think seriously about mysterious woman. And things turn serious after Goutham discovering a car in quarry which is found in dream. Then, the investigation process with help of some leads is a decent ride. A twist towards interval makes us to wait curiously for second half.
Latter part too begins on interest note with Kalyan Ram chasing the mysterious woman with help of GPS tracking. Kalyan Ram intensifies his investigation until he meets Aadhya’s friend who narrates flashback and real motive behind the murder. The element in flashback may not be new but Nivetha's presence made it interesting with her performance. Finally, Kalyan Ram catches culprits with help of same lucid dreaming technique and this will surely amaze you.
All in all, 118 is an engaging thriller with enough twists turns. Right from the word go to the last part, we hardly find any bumps in narration. KV Guhan well utilized all the artists and technicians. However, the film may not appeal to masses owing to class narration with no big elements. However, it has high chances to shine in urban centers. CJ goes with 3.0 rating and we need to wait for box office verdict.