Bangalore Days ★★★★½

Bejesus! And that’s exactly how Anjali Menon becomes an irresistible brand name with an endearing experience which emits goodness in a way Malayalam cinema has never gone through by satiating us into immense happiness as the end credits roll in by making us root for the whole ensemble characters comprised in this tour de force and also she has extracted some exceedingly resilient performances with full of aliveness from the entire mammoth cast featuring Dulquer, Nivin, Fahad, Nazriya, Parvati, Isha, Nithya and everyone else with ample screen space which was indeed a herculean task. Yes, Malayalam cinema has mothered our own Rajkumar Hirani in terms of the minimum guarantee she ascertains in all of the movies where she is affiliated. Let it be her maiden directorial venture ‘Manjadikkuru’ or ‘Usthad Hotel’ which she penned or even the short segment that she helmed in ‘Kerala Café’ titled Happy Journey, all of her works had the right appealingness to engross the audience and Bangalore Days proves she can execute a full-on commercial entertainer with staggering panache unlike many celebrated makers who make brilliant slice-of-life movies, fumbles when it comes to helming an out-n-out commercial venture.

The basic plot of the movie revolves around three adorable cousins, Krishnan PP aka Kuttan (Nivin), Arjun aka Aju (Dulquer) and Divya aka Kunju (Nazriya). Kuttan gets his first placement in Bangalore and Nazriya is been married off to Das (Fahad) who is settled in Bangalore. How the lives of the cousins turn around as they starts exploring themselves in the city of dreams when RJ Sarah (Parvati), Meenakshi (Isha Talwar) and many others enrolls into their life forms the crux of the plot. Not going any further as giving away anything more than that about the plot would be an absolute kill joy for people who are yet to watch.

Take a bow, Anjali Menon. The consistency which she has maneuvered in film-making over the years is in its splendiferous stage when it comes to ‘Bangalore Days’, where she manages to mask the audience from thinking about its minute flaws in the screenplay while making a full powered commercial extravaganza which demands a fair amount of cinematic liberties. As always the character development stays intact like in every movie, which has the brand name ‘Anjali Menon’ attached to it, especially the way all the characters self-explores themselves and how they evolve in progression so unpretentiously with all its natural flair. The screenplay had a plethora of brilliances flashing around by breaking various stereotypes in Malayalam cinema, coupled with some really inspiring lines amidst its minor faults that are negligible and most importantly doesn’t get in the path of its irresistible narrative anywhere among its pretty long duration. If the former half had the extreme amount of outrageous fun which tickles your funny bone so uncontrollably, the latter half sinks into the pathos of the struggles the characters give birth to undergo with utmost conviction and by the end as everything falls in place, we are left helpless, only to leave the screen with a wide grin wanting for more.

Technical aspects of the movie were immensely spectacular with lavish production scales where Anwar Rasheed, the proud producer of the movie hasn’t gone down for anything less to make this an unforgettable experience. Cinematography by Sameer C Thahir captures the liveliness of Bangalore and the serenity of Kerala with equal elan, providing all the mesmerizing prolificacy it demanded especially in its exhilarating penultimate moments. Music and re-recording by Gopi blends in with the mood of the movie so well and livens the experience in making it all more exciting, even though there are several influences from around the world. Lyrics by Santhosh Varma and Rafeeq Ahmed suit the respective situation of each song. The make-up, costumes and art direction department gels in with its exuberant narrative all the way through. Editing was surprisingly efficacious amidst its long duration which was only a quarter shy of three hours.

Talking near the acting front, this is where Anjali Menon gets everything right in her mode of assembling a dreamlike cast, giving ample screen space for each one of them with progressive character developments and drawing out the best out of each and every one. Nivin Pauly as Kuttan provides exhorbitant amount of hilarious moments portraying an execrably nostalgic, a homesick software engineer who stands in perplex witnessing the ways of Bangalore, and does a great job at that with his evolving histrionics and dialogue delivery. Dulquer Salman as Aju, is a typical hero material who rebels against the society being a true gypsy at first and gets mellowed as Sarah enters his life, which has been portrayed with the proper measure of charm and masculinity it demanded. Nazriya as Kunju, a fun loving girl who goes in terms of the inevitable reality delivers an adorable performance, though the hangover from her previous flick ‘Ohm Shanthi Oshana’ remains intact at some occasions. Parvathi as RJ Sarjah, one of the most poignant and well-developed character of the movie, a wheel-chaired radio jockey fighting the odds of life with supreme optimism by radiating the same to others around her, was her best performance till date by miles bringing out all the maturity and vulnerability of her character so beautifully. Isha Talwar as Meenakshi who stand for the psyche of confused females, does just what’s wanted from her in that limited screen space. Nithya Menon swoons us with her beguiling smile and charm in her extremely limited cameo. The supporting cast comprising of Kalpana, Vijayaraghavan, Praveena and Manianpilla Raju etc delivers honest performances. Last but definitely not the least, it is Fahadh Fazil who literally steals the thunder from everyone in the principal cast even without being one of the central protagonists with his flexibility showcasing his maneuverability in its most salient heights till date, by portraying Das, a dull character at first surrounding an air of mystery around him, but takes a complete U-turn in stunning us with his surmounting reserve of talent which again proves why he is considered the best option when it comes to using one’s expressive eyes so well to speak volumes of emotions juggling along.

Lastly, among movies which are worthwhile, there are films which get answered within a gratifying duration, and so there are movies which you wished that goes on and on pandering our clock in perpetuity, and this one which celebrates life in the city of dreams, comes down into the latter demonstrating the prowess of Anjali Menon at the helm in all its resplendence. And extremely happy that Anwar Rasheed supported this ambitious venture so well with rich production values, which is reminiscential to what Vidhu Vinod Chopra is for Rajkumar Hirani. Must Watch!