Wednesday, March 16, 2016

16. Bangalore Days

One of the best decisions I have taken in this #100MoviePact is to seek out the best works of regional cinema. Friends have generously recommended old classics ("This is what made Rajini Rajini!") as well as contemporary hits ("The more I see Dulquer, I more I love him!") and all of them are now on my Amazon wishlist.
This one was recommended by Sohini Mitter.

Rock On! meets Dil Chahta Hai meets Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar meets Karnataka Tourism in this delightful film about three cousins who had resolved to live it up in Bangalore as kids and then landed up in the big city by a series of coincidences. The lives society ordains for those who follow rules - and those who don't - are intricately woven.

A girl aspiring for a MBA degree gets married off to an eligible bachelor.
A village boy in love with even the water of the pond gets a job with a software firm.
A rebellious misfit finds a place where his skills can come to use.
But the film doesn't pass any judgement. The girl actually wants to get married to the handsome man she meets. The boy enjoys the money the job offers and the fun that happens in a big city. Nobody seems to be missing what they say they are missing. The characters are refreshingly real as are the settings.
Vivacious RJs. Modern apartments. Tattooed bikers. Burger joints. Friendly neighbourhood uncles. Software parks. Geeks. Freaks. Pricks. Chicks. Scowls. Jowls. All cohabit the world of the three characters and their extended relationships.

One thing I really enjoyed in Bangalore Days is the way filmi cliches are taken and given a very real and contemporary twist. That way, you may know what is about to happen but can never guess how. This exploration of the popular idiom is particularly great where the software engineer cousin describes his idea of a perfect girl found through arranged marriage. The traditional name, the traditional attire, the traditional behaviour of serving tea and snacks... all come true, but in a way you're not likely to expect. Or do they come true?
The climactic bike race. The reconciliation of the couple. The dream girl. The missing father. The disapproving parent. The elopement. The standard tropes suddenly become refreshing and new.

Bangalore Days is quite long - nearly three hours - and there is a short period in the last third when it drags but that it hardly a blip in an otherwise fine film. Writer-director Anjali Menon is clearly a talent to watch out for and so are the actors.
Nithya Menon - known to many of us as the Titan girl - has a short role as well. Wish she had a longer one.  

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