180 Review – Boring and Amateurish

By Naveen

After tackling a surprisingly easy Friday evening Chicago traffic, we settled down into the comfortable seats of Big Cinemas (Niles, IL) with the hope of watching at least a mildly entertaining Tamil movie in the rather oddly named “180” – No Rules.

When the show began, the censor board certificate revealed the official name – Nootrenbadhu which means 180 in Tamil. Followers of Tamil cinema probably know that “Nootrenbadhu” will save them entertainment tax which “180” will not.

Cast: Siddharth, Priya Anand, Nithya Menon, Mouli and others
Music: Sharreth
Direction: Jayendra (Debut)
Producers: Sathyam Cinemas and Aghal Films

Story Synopsis

Ajay aka AJ, is a medical doctor in San Francisco. He is happily married to Renuka (Priya Anand).

A drastic revelation makes him abandon his wife and flee to India where he lives under a new identity.

Mano, as he calls himself in India, does not have an actual job or purpose in life. Despite having a lot of money on hand Mano spends his time sharing the workload of child laborers – delivering newspapers, selling peanuts, ironing cloths etc.

Mano frequently runs into Vidya (Nithya Menon) who is a photographer for a Tamil daily. They become friends and circumstances lead Vidya to fall in love with Mano. Once Mano learns about her love he tries to leave town.

Vidya has a road accident as she tries to follow the bus in which Mano is leaving town. She needs an operation that can be performed only by a few specialists. Mano decides to take Vidya to San Francisco to get her the best medical help.

Upon his return to the U.S., Mano has to resume his original identity of Ajay.

Why does Ajay abandon his wife? Is he able to save Vidya? Does he return to his wife or does he stay with Vidya? If you care to know more, you may choose to watch the movie.


Unlike with most Tamil movies, 180 has a fair story. But it sounds more compelling as written above than the way it plays out in the movie.

Screenplay and amateurish direction kill the possibility of an engrossing drama. Instead, what we get is candy floss romance in the first half and a tearjerker in the second half with the occasional spotty humor.

Jayendra has adopted a back and forth narrative switching between flashbacks and the present to create an element of curiosity and then reveals parts of it in the flashback. What the movie lacks is the ability to keep the audience glued to the proceedings and empathize with the characters.

While the first half of 180 meanders aimlessly showing Mano doing odd jobs, the second half is boring and slow. The lead up to the climax suggests great ambivalence on the part of its makers on how to end the movie.

The film ends in Rio, which is another way of saying it went nowhere!

Characterizations and Performances

After watching Russell Crowe’s brilliant portrayal of John Nash in “The Beautiful Mind” last night for the 10th time, it’s difficult to describe anyone’s performance in 180 as even tolerable.

I parked brilliance aside and kept mediocrity as the benchmark when reviewing this movie and despite that I could not spot a memorable or even a credible performance.

Siddharth was so-so in parts.

Completely out of place in scenes that required expressions or emotions, he lacked the personality or body language remotely reflecting a doctor. Merely donning a coat and holding X-Rays against light does not hold water.

Both the leading ladies do not show an iota of acting talent. Neither of them (of whoever dubbed for them) were able to speak Tamil properly.

Nithya Menon as a photographer does not blend into that role. Again, holding a camera and clicking photos with a smile is not photography. Nithya looks pretty plump in some angles and her costumes are traditional.

Priya Anand, we are told, is an ambitious career woman but nothing even remotely related to her career is shown until we hear about her landing a big promotion. She passes off as a pretty dusky sexy maiden. 😉

Priya’s costumes lend an element of sophistication and elegance to her appearance. I will watch out for her future films. 😉

Mouli, a talented stage artiste, is wasted in an inconsequential role.

Logic and Commonsense – Two words that Tamil Indian film makers hate

While 180 marks Jayendra’s debut as a director, it is no excuse for shoddy logic or complete disrespect for the audience’s intelligence.

There are far too many ill-conceived scenes in 180 that irritate:

1. When Ajay/Mano comes to Chennai he asks a newspaper delivery boy in his pre-teens to help him find a rental accommodation. That boy finds him a place!

2. Vidya takes a few photos of child laborers and publishes one of them in her daily and it results in a 10 Lac. (1 mil.) Rupees donation to “News Paper Boys Foundation” and all the kids get free education. Is the lot of the have-nots that simple in India?

3. Vidya’s parents voice no objection to Ajay taking her to the U.S. for treatment after a life threatening accident. In fact, they don’t even accompany her.

4. The hospital in Chennai says that all their doctors are in a conference and cannot attend to a medical emergency. Ajay decides to take Vidya to San Francisco instead of inquiring at the 100 other hospitals in Chennai.

5. When one of the important characters in the movie is suspected to be dead, everyone including the Police accept it without much of an investigation. They don’t even bother to check immigration records and things like that even though the dead body is not found.

6. Tens of kids are allowed to come and bang on the ICU door in a hospital which has just one old guard for security.

If I had to nitpick:

7. Ajay is shown to be living in a ultra posh high rise condo in the heart of San Francisco but he drives a Kia, hardly the  preferred car of the well-heeled.

8. Chennai and especially T. Nagar is shown as de-congested. While I wish this was true, we all know it is too good to be true.

9. Vidya stays with a room-mate. When she has an accident her parents show up in quick time.


From a movie like 180, one expects youthful and peppy music.

Alas, Sharreth delivers only weird Kerala drum beats remixed with western musical instruments resulting in cacophony.

The two songs that stay in the mind are “AJ” –  for the irritated howls it created among the audience and “Rules Kidayathu” for the camera work.

What is good?

The director’s credentials as an ad film maker is established with some beautifully captured still / slow moving photography. The camera work is very pleasing and so are the colors in most of the frames.

Costumes for Priya Anand were well chosen and make her look sexy.


The movie is pretty boring but it did not provoke an extremely negative reaction in us the way Avan Ivan did.

If you absolutely have to watch a movie this weekend, prepare yourself for slim pickings in 180.

18 Responses to "180 Review – Boring and Amateurish"

  1. rajesh jagetia   June 25, 2011 at 6:28 am

    Off topic, aren’t you going to review Double Dhamaal.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Watched the Double Dhamaal trailer during Ready…we didn’t like it.

    • rajesh jagetia   June 27, 2011 at 2:00 am

      Again, this film opened to good response in India.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      Well, all kinds of sh*t get a good response in India.

      Even Rape is getting a good response in India lately. See, Uttar Pradesh: 14 rapes in two weeks 🙁

      BTW, a lot of reviews for Double Dhamaal are critical. Read for instance Double Dhamaal is a crashing bore

      • rajesh jagetia   June 27, 2011 at 6:34 am

        Yes, I know, not this but most of the reviews are negative. Film is really a piece of crap but got a very good start at box office may be because it is a sequel of a moderately liked film.

  2. rama dasa   June 25, 2011 at 10:03 am

    mabe this will cheer you up??


    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Who’s That Knockin’ At My Door?

    Sure looks like Dolly Parton. 😉

  3. Dr.Logu   June 25, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Has SI retired and handed over the crown 2 Naveen?

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Sweetie, SI is not keeping good health!

    • boopalanj   June 25, 2011 at 1:33 pm

      The ‘outsourcing’ fever has caught SI !!! 😉

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      As we told Dr.Logu earlier, we’ve not been keeping good health lately constraining us in some ways!

      • boopalanj   June 25, 2011 at 1:53 pm

        Oh yes, That ‘fever’ thing was meant to relate with your unhealthy state, and the ‘outsourcing’ thing was meant to relate to Logu’s question.

        Get well soon! We’d like to see SI back with a bang!!

      • முனிAndy   June 26, 2011 at 1:00 pm

        Get well soon!

        SearchIndia.com Responds:

        Does Citius, Altius, Fortius have an antonym? 😉

        • MAK   June 26, 2011 at 3:39 pm

          Did you guys learn Latin??

          SearchIndia.com Responds:

          Lectori salutem,

          Deo gratia, quo usque tandem abutere patentia nostra?

          No, we only learned about Latina chicks! 😉

          Just kidding. Truth be said, Mulier est hominis confusio.

          Seriously, why do we occasionally use Latin?

          Simple, omnia dicta fortiora si dicta Latina.

          In other words, Latin has a sex appeal that vanilla English lacks. Also, Latin expressions drive home a point with greater éclat (btw, that’s French).

          Now, purely for educational purposes and for no other reason, we offer this sine qua non list of useful Latin expressions. Listen y’all, we’ll be holding a surprise test on Wednesday to see your mastery of these priceless gems.

          Do not whine that you’re in terra incognita. Make the above list your vade mecum. It’d be easier if you think of them as Verbum Dei.

          Tempus fugit, so get cracking.

  4. Naveen   June 25, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Off-topic: Sounds like Americans have the same preference as Asians for boys than girls.


    SearchIndia.com Responds:


    Can’t help wondering if this will lead to a big jump in homosexuality in about 15-20 years as the pool of ‘available’ girls dwindles.

    Think of it as the Law of Unintended Consequences.

  5. shadowfax_arbit   June 27, 2011 at 4:39 am

    Amazing thing is none of the responses so far even talk about 180!

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Happens Only on SI. 😉

    Or nobody cares for this 180 nonsense.

    If we’d not reviewed 180, there’d be some whiners complaining how SI missed the Movie of the Millennium. 🙁

  6. prasath.j   June 28, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Saw the movie yesterday.

    Intolerable garbage!

    Btw, saw this post about great Indian actors in rediffmail


    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Interesting link (above).

    But we do not agree with the Readers’ ranking of the Indian stars.

    We’d definitely place Pankaj Kapur, Sanjeev Kumar and Naseeruddin Shah ahead of Amitabh Bachchan and Kamal Haasan.

    Well, nobody ever claimed the unwashed masses have anything in their heads.

    • vjcool   June 29, 2011 at 1:52 am

      like all polls, this reader’s poll is the result of those who polled, than those who know cinema. When all they knew was Kamal, they prefer Kamal to be the best, though I would say Satyaraj or even Raghuvaran a better actor. Ha now I’ve got myself confused.. These masses have seen these two actors also, haven’t they. Maybe they are confused with box office and good movies.. Whatever.. but have to accept Amitabh has better sense to diversify than the Superstar and Ulaga Nayagan.

      Anyways.. have you seen Kadalora kavithaigal and Muthal Mariyathai.. should have been before you left our shores.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      No, haven’t seen Kadalora kavithaigal and Muthal Mariyathai.

  7. vjcool   June 29, 2011 at 2:12 am

    Muthal Mariyathai.for Shivaji in a mature natural role and realistic acting, credit should go to Barathiraja and Kadalora Kavithaigal for Sathyaraj and Bharathiraja.. think you’ll like it and hope its easily available.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Alas, Netflix is temporarily down here. So, we can’t check.

    • vjcool   June 29, 2011 at 3:15 am

      Netflix doesn’t have them, got some hindi remake. maybe the local stores have them.

  8. prasath.j   June 29, 2011 at 3:41 am

    Notorious omissions in the list:
    Nana patekar, Om puri,Mamooty, Mohan lal,Shivaji ganesan.

    Guess, they might have considered an optimum value of “star + actor” and greater national reach as parameters.

    By these parameters, shivaji and even mallu chetta pairs(mammooty and mohan lal) fall behind the rest in the list.
    as far as kamal is concerned,he had a greater national reach by venturing into bollywood by remaking or dubbing his regional productions.Shivaji.Mammooty and lal did not even bother about their national reach and hence they had to pay the price for their omissions.They have not tried any versatile comedy roles to judge their all round performance.Hence,they cant complain.

    Have a look at kamal’s bollywood ventures:

    Ek duje ke liye
    Appu raja
    Chachi 420
    Hey ram
    Mumbai express

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    True, Nana & Om Puri were glaring omissions.

    Well, what can you expect from a people that made trash like Ready and Dabangg big hits in India? 🙁

    His past successes notwithstanding, unless there’s a miracle we can’t see Kamal Haasan ever regaining his luster. As we see it, Kamal’s fundamental problem is that for him to succeed he needs a good script. Rajini, Vijay, Sojay, Simbhu, Kombhu, Suriya, Boriah can get by with shoddy scripts but for Kamal to now make an impact, he needs a powerful script. In a nation, where there’s a dearth of actors, there’s a greater scarcity of good scripts.

  9. apchi   October 31, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Does anyone know why the title is “180 – No Rules” ?

    I have just watch it and im still wondering about this title, does it refers to the 180° rules in filmmaking ?

    Thanks for your clarification !

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Naveen will probably respond. He watched the film

  10. Naveen   October 31, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    “180” refers to the number of days the hero has before he may die due to Pancreatic Cancer.

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