The first time I heard about Bangalore Days was the day i landed in bangalore. My sister-in-law told me that the only way to get my 2-year-old niece to not switch to self-destruct mode was to play the catchy number Maangalyam from the movie.
Little did I know that I would not be able to stop myself from going gaga over it. Love at first song it was!. The popularity of the film and its uniqueness spread like wildfire. For the extreme sceptic that I was, it took three non-Malayali friends and two cups of hot chocolate to convince me that the film was worth watching.
The movie changed my perspective about the Malayalam film industry completely. I had successfully stereotyped and neatly packed all Malayalam films in the auto-reject corners of my brain (without good reason, I admit) . But the film ensured that I opened those boxes and peered carefully before I side-lined them.
‘Bangalore Days’ has a simple storyline. It talks about three cousins who reconnect after migrating to Bangalore. Aju, Kunju and Kuttan lead their lives (on their terms, maybe?) but maintain a strong friendship throughout the various ordeals in their lives. Apart from the to-the-point performances by the lead actors and equally strong performances by the supporting actors, there were a number of things that helped the movie earn brownie. I was extremely impressed with the direction and screenplay of the film. The moment when Aju stops the bus for (Sarah and the subsequent dialogue gave me goose bumps.
The greatest part about the movie is very relatable and to a large extent, realistic. Each character has a reasonable back story as to why they behaved a certain way. The female characters are strong and are not mere adornments in the film. Each character evolves through the movie. A very bubbly, immature and indecisive Kunju becomes a strong, independent and self-sufficient woman and eventually becomes her husband’s emotional support system. A highly judgemental, orthodox and stubborn Kuttan understands the complexities of life, adjusts to his surroundings and broadens his mind and heart to new possibilities. A reckless, conflicted and impulsive Aju learns to understand other perspectives, lives his dreams and channelizes his passions in a more responsible and profitable way.
One more thing that sets the movie apart is the representation of the city and the people of Bangalore. It manages to capture the essence of the silicon valley of India, showing off its metropolitan character. The multi-ethnic city has been showcased in all its splendor with references to it’s never-ending, slow-moving traffic and it’s ever-busy, fast-paced life. Bangalore is described as the land where dreams come true. A place with confusing yet a pleasant climate. A city that helps one understand their dreams, explorere life and relationships. You can party, travel, gorge on all kinds of food, indulge in crazy shopping sprees and do everything that you have ever desired to do. It’s hard not to feel that the city belongs to you, as the track ‘Namma Ooru Bengaluru’ suggests.
All in all, malayali or not, as a film studies student I would urge any film enthusiast to give ‘Bangalore days’ a try. Keeping the blatant overselling aside, it leaves you with a good feeling towards the end. It’s like a breath of fresh air! It is a movie about love, life, friendship, fun, growth, understanding and acceptance. It also is a witty take on the protagonist’s life that assures to leave you touched in the end.