Bangalore Days.

Nope. am not talking about my life. Here in the IT Capital of India, Bangalore.
Am talking about Anjali Menon's latest movie, that has a heavy star-cast and even heavier expectations to live up to. Does it? Yes sir. Yes sir. All bags full. Firing away on all cylinders, topping expectations and making us fall in love with love, hope and all things good and hunky-dory.



A seemingly linear narrative that follows of the life-trajectory of three cousins being drawn to their city of chidlhood dreams - One for the job (Yeah. "software engineer". You get a chai and pazham-porri for having guessed that right.) One for Marraige and the third by his own meandering aimless choices in life. Events that crisscross across each other's lives, leading to some significant changes, heartbreaks, love and redemption makes up the rest of the movie.

So in terms of novelty, well we weren't much surprised by the end of the movie but the general boisterousness and crackling goodwill that permeates touched us. Samir Thahir's frames captures the spirit of the Bangalore city beautifully and the background music is an able ally to the whole script. The script? it does the job of ensuring that the almost-three-hours spent in a movie hall isn't a chore. But the characterization brought out through some nuanced and fine acting by the new-age heavy weights of the Malayalam movies (trio of Dulquer Salman, Fahad Faizal and Nivin Pauly. Add to that Nazariya, Parvathi and Nithya Menon, almost becomes a delectable not-to-be missed treat!) is really hands down the winner.

Anjali' script throws in some surprisingly gentle feel-good moments that tugs at our heart-strings. Like how the sullen troubled emotional-crackpot of a husband who scolds his wife for having "scribbled on the windows" - wakes up the next day to see sunlight filtering through the same colored "scribbling" smiles and leaves a note for his wife thanking her for bringing in some colors".
Or when the innocent boy who retains his village sensitivities naughtily reveals that he stayed up all night in his air-hostess city-girlfriend's apartment - playing games........"antakshari"!
Or when the rebellious biker boy realizes his chirpy chic radio goddess is actually a down-to-earth simple girl who is a paraplegic. and tells her,"I dont want to walk behind you but I want to walk with you."

The movie has its golden touching moments of emotional nostalgia that you would like to gift-wrap and savor for centuries. But it's the acting that really elevates this been-there-done-that movie to its stardom.
Be it the three cousins - Nivin Pauly, Dulquer and Nazariya turn in such a convincing rollicking heartfelt performance that convinces you to set aside your whatsapp and FB status message updates and be wrapped up in their lives' travails and joys. The three cousins each go through a lot, in turn discovering themselves in thier city of dreams, Bangalore.

Nazariya is perhaps the weakest of the three. A girl locked in a meaningless marriage to a high-flying M&A business head ( Fahad Faizal, easily the best actor in this lot turns in another powerhouse of a performance - playing the troubled silent man with bottled pent up emotional hurts) - Nazariya initially has nothing more to do than play her age ( a kid who refuses to grow up outside of her dreams) until the day she discovers the dead skeletons in her husband's closet.

Nivin Pauly has the best comic timing ever. I stand by that statement. He is a revelation in this movie - bringing up the much needed levity to an otherwise serious and sober narrative. Watch this movie for the sheer joy of his expressions. It is unbelievable.

Dulquer with his scraggly beard and unkempt hair plays the hurt rebel searching for answers for his life and finds that in both the motocross rally - an outlet for his anger and his RJ girlfriend who cools him down and gives his life a meaning. He is good. Taut as garotte wire and snappy as an irate cat, simmering down in between to be the big softie, Dulquer handles the transitions with aplomb and proves he is such an able putty in a good director's hands. Ustad Hotel was not a fluke.

Fahad of course is a talent powerhouse and gives us another file emotional roller-coaster, the man with the secret past, a sullen rigid business executive fighting inner demons. Virtuoso. I have vowed to watch ALL his movies from now on. Parvathi is someone to watch out for in the future - a little sidelined by her pair Dulquer perhaps.

Overall, Anjali Menon moves away from the humid wind-tossed beaches of Kozhikode to give us the brightly-lit streets of Bangalore - giving us a "happy" movie that traces the lives of three youths discovering thier raison-d'etre. Watch it for the smiles. Watch it for some excellent acting from the future of Mollywood. 

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