Do you ever watch a movie and get so involved in the narration that the characters and emotions stick with you even after the movie ends? This is one of those movies.

This was the first Malayalam movie that I had ever seen and it left me with a respectable impression of the industry. In fact, I liked this movie so much, I saw it a second time recently, which did wonders because I understood more of the smaller details of the film the second time around (subtitles can only do so much).


Katha, Screenplay, Darsakathvam

I don’t believe in spoiling the plot of a film before watching it. If you haven’t seen the movie yet and would like to know the plot, you can read more about it here.

Though the story focuses on three cousins and their families and relationships, it is delivered deftly, making it easy to digest the events that occur while still showing clear character development. Each individual thread of the story is enough to create a whole separate, but by tying all the stories together and focusing briefly on each, Anjali Menon somehow manages to make the combined whole more realistic. Props to her because I would not have been able to tell that this was only her second film while watching. While maintaining a light-hearted mood throughout most of the film, Menon is able to still receive emotional investment from the audience through simple, honest moments that the audience can easily connect to.

The film primarily deals with the idea that love can be unexpected and powerful, connecting two people in ways that seem unlikely, but also addresses other themes, such as finding purpose in one’s life and self-forgiveness. In addition to all of these ideals, there is subtle social commentary about the westernization of Indian culture and the slow decay of traditional roots that occur as a side-effect of urbanization. The film touches on all of these, highlighting the idea that people must change with time and still maintains a flow that makes the film go by quickly despite its long run-time.

Performances

Dulquer Salmaan

Dulquer plays the very individualistic and free cousin who is trying to find and prove himself, and he do so with charm. His expressions are underplayed but powerful for such an outgoing character and his relationship with Parvathy’s character in the film adds a whole new dimension to his own. While I watched Bangalore Days after watching Nazriya Nazim’s cute role in Raja Rani, I found myself searching for more of Dulquer’s movies and, from what I’ve seen so far, he has really good taste in film selection (OK Bangaram, Ustad Hotel).

Nazriya Nazim

Nazriya played the role of Divya, the ambitious, yet adapting newly-wed cousin, very naturally and her expressions and actions are very clear throughout the film. She suited the role really well.

Nivin Pauly

Nivin’s transformation from his traditional, village look to that of a more urban resident is wonderful; though I initially wasn’t a fan of him despite the fact that he was narrating the story, I found myself rooting for a happy ending for the poor guy after all the changes he faces throughout the movie.

Fahadh Faasil

Fahadh plays a very important character in this film since his characterization causes a lot of changes in how the events play out. Because of this importance, I felt like Fahadh did not deliver what his character demanded; his expressions and actions don’t justify the transformation his character goes through. This is one area where better casting, acting or even more specific directing could have elevated the film further.

Parvathy

Parvathy plays a disabled, yet upbeat and successful character, one that is hard to pull off without evoking unnecessary sympathy from the audience while still showing her own internal struggles, and I feel like she did it very realistically. She adapted so well to the character in this film that I didn’t even realize that she was the same actor who plays Pani in Mariyaan until I was half way into the movie. I wish the director could have spent more time depicting her own internal transformation throughout the film, but I realize that would have risked increasing the run-time of the whole movie.

Nithya Menon

I respect Nithya Menon a lot as an actress for her ease, film choices and desire to experiment. It was refreshing to see her in a more glamorous, impulsive role in this film, but I was left hoping to see more of her because of the briefness of her role. Nonetheless, her character is the most integral part of the movie’s major conflict and she justifies it completely.

Others

Isha Talwar has a brief role in the film and she is adequate. Pratap Pothen and Vinaya Prasad are satisfying as the parents of Natasha (Nithya Menon). Kalpana is very entertaining as a “suffocating” mother and provides some comic relief. All of the other character artists do justice to their roles.

Production Values

Music

Gopi Sunder’s soundtrack furthers the effectiveness of the movie and blends well with the overall mood of the film. The lively Mangalyam song introduces the close bond between the three cousins and has become a personal favorite of mine.

Cinematography

You can tell from the trailer and song embedded above that the visuals in this movie are impressive. From the natural and scenic Kerala locales to the busy humdrum of urban Bangalore, Sameer Thari takes on a visual journey that complements the emotional journey that the characters go through.


Final Verdict 

Even while watching Bangalore Days for the second time, I didn’t feel bored at all and, while some of that is attributed to the fact that watching a film with subtitles for the first time can cause one to miss a lot of details, it is also due to the simple fact that this is one of the best Indian movies I’ve ever seen. Beautifully developed characters with an even more beautiful Kerala backdrop, music that keeps you humming for days after and emotions that leave you with a strange feeling of satisfaction; the rare satisfaction you get when you have just watched a truly good film.

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Tags

malayalam movie, movie review, bangalore days, parvathy, dulquer salmaan, nazriya nazim, fahadh faasil, nithya menen, gopi sunder, sameer thari, anjali menon

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