There is a constant tiff between the best and the favourite, as the best is something you acknowledge for its potential but a favourite is something you are drawn towards for the way it makes you feel. My list of favourite films usually consists of the ones that make me happy and lift my spirits, kind of like a giant hug, and in that list you'll find Bangalore Days, by Anjali Menon. The thing about this movie is that you don't have to be a Malayali to enjoy it thoroughly, as it is rooted in sentiments that are common to everyone like family, friendships, love, and passion. The story that revolves around the bond between three cousins could have been very generic, but Anjali Menon breaks the tone with a splash of magic and a stellar cast. This movie makes you feel one of the two ways: you'll either reminisce about and cherish the relationship you have with your cousins, or you'll wish you had one to cherish.
This film has almost all the young talents of Malayalam cinema but it never becomes a single individual's movie, it always remains the story of the three cousins. The most beautiful relationship about the movie is undoubtedly between the three cousins, even though it has three love tracks going simultaneously. There have been so many stories about friendship, but very few have explored this arena, which is why it stands out. Their bonding never becomes too dramatic, and their love for each other is shown with utmost subtlety in a playful banter way with maximum attention to small details. Like Ajju having Kunju's childhood pic as his wallpaper, Ajju and Kuttan bringing mango juice for Kunju, the scene before Kunju's marriage, Kuttan accompanying Kunju to her home, or the 'sorry' scene, and the list goes on. It is hard to list all my favourite scenes because every little scene of the movie is refreshing and so wonderfully etched that it beautifully captures the dynamic between the adorable trio against the canvas of vibrant Bangalore. Each of the three cousins has their quirks and baggage that helps us resonate with them and relate to their doings. So you connect with them instantly as soon as they are introduced. Every scene evokes a feeling, a feeling of joy or nostalgia or love, etc.
There are seven primary characters in the movie, yet each of them gets to play a significant part and none of it feels forced or out of context. Even the supporting characters, such as Kuttan's mother, Ajju's friends, and Natasha's parents, are shown with a lot of real-life personality as every single one of the characters reminds us of someone we know. The film also touches on topics like bike racing, paraplegia, women's careers, job stress, mid-life crises, and much more, effortlessly in a thought-provoking but humorous way. Films like this are hard to remake because it is nearly impossible to recreate the soul and bring it to life through pure magic the way the original did.
A film has succeeded when it is almost three hours long and leaves you wanting more, and that's what Bangalore Days does. You can never get enough of this stellar ensemble cast's performances, not to mention the incredible direction, as it will never be Dulquer's or Nivin's or Nazriya's film but Anjali Menon's. This is a film that will age like fine wine not because it has something very intellectual to say or something technically revolutionary to display, but because its magic is sustained even 6 years after its release. This film proves that we need more movies that showcase love and relationships more breezy than weepy. I have seen this movie 3 times in a day once and enjoyed it each time like the first time. That's the power of this movie: it is something that you can never get enough of. And I hope I never do.