Sunday, June 1, 2014

Bangalore Days - Rocks like the city !


Watched the much awaited Malayalam multi-starrer movie Bangalore Days yesterday. And loved every bit of it. Here is another movie where the story and characters are the real driving force. Writer-Director  Anjali Menon sure does know how to create convincing characters. And boy, can she write ! There are few writers out there who can create and juggle so many characters  and still tie up all the loose ends together in a neat knot. If you are a Mallu, aged less than…maybe   40 years….then run to your nearest theatre and watch it !! Hurry !


Bangalore Days tells the story of three cousins, very much close to each other, even if their families don’t gell well, who travel to the big city for different reasons, and end up discovering each other and themselves all over again. It is a story of love, and hope, and everything in between. Don’t go by the movie name, the story & the characters are so good, that they could have very well named the movie Kochi Days, or Trivandrum Days…and it would still have worked. But there is something about this big grand city that attracts youngsters (and older ones too, apparently) , and the truly metropolitan environment means you meet people you hardly run into anywhere else. There is something for everyone here, I am sure each cinema goer will be able to relate to at least one of the many people depicted on screen.

'Bangalore Days' 2014 Malayalam Film - Poster.jpg

The story is narrated by Kuttan (Nivin Pauly), who is a stereotype young Malayalee software engineer. Many stereotypes will be broken in this movie..even Kuttan’s. Kuttan has just landed a plush software engineer’s job out of Kerala, but is a homesick country man at hear. He runs home first chance he gets, and is clearly in love with his home and the green country side. He introduces us to his two cousins, who have different personalities, but the three of them are one happy bunch. Divya (Nazriya, in her most mature role so far) has just completed her graduation, and has MBA plans, but that goes out of the window when her family decides to get her married to a successful MBA manager,because her horoscope says so. She will have to relocate to Bangalore city, setting the stage for the story and the movie-name. The third wheel of this brat pack is Arjun (Dulquar), who is a born rule breaker, and loves his cousins, and loves to hate everyone else. He is a school drop-out , which means  he is tagged un-successful in life, but is most carefree, and manages to live on his own as a bike mechanic & racer. After Divya’s marriage, the cousins find reasons and move to Bangalore just so they can hang out together. Halfway through the movie, at the interval, their lives have changed; all three of them face problems in their lives. And then , in the second act, they all find their way back, magically.

Bangalore Days Poster

Lets start with Kuttan. He is excited to move to the big city, but is not ready for the long office hours waiting for him. He also has a culture crash of sorts, his naadan (countryside) ideologies in harsh contrast with the new city life. He wants to marry a typical village belle, but meets and falls for the most unlikely candidate; Meenakshi an air-hostess he bumps into (Isha Talwar) on his first plane journey. He changes himself, for her, and starts dreaming of love..but his dreams come crashing when she runs back to an ex-boyfriend. Back home, his always ill father, has run away, lured by spirituality and faith, and he now has to take care of his mother, whom he reluctantly brings to Bangalore. Turns out, his father did not run away for God, but was actually running away from Kuttan’s mother. Its all not bad for him, as he finally understands the contrasting nature of his people, and renews his life with new hopes, after packing his mom to US to his elder sister.

Arjun is facing an identity crisis of his own, he is hot tempered and rude, and shuts everyone out, the only people he opens up to are his cousins. Backstory reveals that his parents are divorced, and that he ran away from school. He finds solace in the voice of an RJ in the city, who inspire him positively. When he finally meets her (Parvati) he sees someone who has lost more than himself, but has learnt to forget, and take life head-on. She is disabled from the waste below. He is reluctant to make the first move, as she is clearly setting out for a better life, with a university course abroad. She too hesitates, scared to fall for him who clearly has second thoughts. Eventually, he musters the courage to ask her to stay back, with the support of his family and biker friends.

Bangalore Days Poster New

But the track I liked best was Divya’ and Das’s , their married life, the turmoil and the way they overcame them. Divya , the extrovert, bubbly and highly optimistic little girl is excited to be married, and to move to Bangalore. She settles at once to her new life, enjoying the luxurious lifestyle , with her cousins for company. But her husband Das (Fahad Fazil) is a polar opposite, a corporate henchman, forever typing on his laptop, or travelling abroad for his work. He lives a strictly controlled life, and despises changes. He also has a past he is reluctant to talk about, and this is turned into a surprise twist in the their story towards the end. It turns out, Das used to be a champion motocross bike racer named Shiva, and was madly in love with Natasha (Nithya Menen, no dialogues for her). Natasha dies in a bike accident while Das was driving, and he has never come to forgive himself for his mistake, believing he killed her. Natasha’s parents hold him responsible, and he still mourns for her, turning one of his rooms into a sanctum-sanctorum for their memories. All this is revealed when Arjun joins Shiva’s earlier biking team. This twist was a pleasant surprise , not only did it add colour to Das’s dull life, but the backstory explained why he is they way he is. Divya decides not to run away, but to help Das come to terms with his past, even going as far to meet Natasha’s parents and speaking for him. Das finally lets go, and embraces his new life. This part reminded me of the character  Aditya Shroff from Rock On, who too has a bitter past, and has turned from Rock singer to a serious boring investment banker. Even there, it is his wife Sakshi, who helps him come back to love and life.

Bangalore Days-Fahadh,Dulquer and Nivin

Apart from these main tracks, there are also many other characters in the movie, like Kuttan’s and Divya’s parents, extended relatives, and Divy’a neighbours from her flat, a bunch of colourful and relatable folk.

What stood out :

  1. Background music. The visuals are eye-catching for sure, but the BGM adds a second layer of perspective, lots of guitar, violin and pianos, specially the bike scenes…oooh. Kudos to Gopi Sundar, from Kuttan’s hilarious theme-BGM to Arjun’s electric guitar theme, to he sure knows how to immerse the audience.  The songs rock too ! (searching for torrent)
  2. Visuals..a cool and dry Bangalore, without the traffic and pollution. I dream of the Bangalore depicted in the city, where you can ride your four-wheeler care freely, but alas..that world exists only in movies.
  3. My favourite scene: Divya helping Das cope. The BGM and visuals in these scenes were dream like.
  4. The final race. The last 10 minutes shows Arjun competing in the motocross race, it was both poetic and exhilarating, the music, the editing..everything top notch. Picture perfect.
  5. Disability. Sarah plays a paraplegic , and has difficulty moving around the city in her motorised wheelchair. There is a scene where Arjun jumps on the road to stop a bus for her. Disabled people face such transport problems everyday in our country, yet there is very much being done for them.
  6. Natasha dies in a bike accident. I am all for safe driving. Road accidents kill  hundreds of people in our country every day. I hope this scene convinces people to ride safer on roads.


Anjali Menon has hit gold third time in  a row (or fourth, if you count Kerala Cafe). Three times lucky ? Naah, it three times hard work and persistence. Thank you for a lovely movie, Anjali.

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