Bandra review: Arun Gopi-Dileep’s latest outing lacks a strong script to win hearts

'Bandra' draws inspiration from the life of yesteryear actor Divya Bharati, who died after falling from the balcony of her apartment in Mumbai in 1993.

ByArjun Ramachandran

Published:Nov 10, 2023

A picture of Dileep from Bandra
Not up to the mark!

Bandra (Malayalam)

  • Cast: Dileep, Tamannaah Bhatia, and Kalabhavan Shah John
  • Director: Arun Gopi
  • Producer: Vanaja Patil
  • Music: Sam CS
  • Runtime: 2 hours 36 minutes

Arun Gopi’s third directorial venture — Bandra — starring Dileep has been released.

The team, including Dileep and Tamannaah Bhatia, widely promoted the film in different cities across Kerala.

Since Arun Gopi’s second outing with Dileep, Ramaleela (2017), was a superhit, expectations ran high in the case of Bandra.

However, this time, their success mantra hasn’t worked. Let’s check why:


Bandra is produced by Ajith Vinayaka Films

‘Bandra’ is produced by Ajith Vinayaka Films. (Supplied)

Bandra draws inspiration from the life of yesteryear actress Divya Bharati, who died after falling from the balcony of her apartment in Mumbai in 1993.

The mysterious circumstances of her death had spawned several conspiracy theories at that time. But her father had denied them all.

As the name suggests, the film is set in Mumbai’s Bandra.

It starts with Sakshi (Mamta Mohandas), a struggling filmmaker, trying hard to make her debut movie. Her script fails to impress the leading actors.

At one point, Sakshi decides to know about the life of Tara Janaki (Tamannaah), a Bollywood heroine who died under mysterious conditions.

The rise of Tara Janaki as a Bollywood star and her death form the crux of Bandra.

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Life of Tara Janaki

The first half of Bandra deals with Tara Janaki’s life as a Bollywood diva and her encounter with Alexander Dominic aka Ala, in Kerala.

Ala is a businessman who works at the fishing harbour in Kollam district, Kerala. Tara Janaki and Ala get close.

Tara Janaki is an orphan. She is raised by Hemaji (Lena), who has a different plan for the former. Hemaji and Raghavendra Desai (Dino Morea) turn Tara’s life into hell.

As in a male-centred movie, Ala becomes the saviour of Tara, and he falls for her. Ala has a shady past as a gangster, but the film doesn’t showcase it properly anywhere.

How does Ala help Tara? Can he save her? The answers to these questions keep the story going.

Not an engaging story

Dileep and Tamannaah in Bandra

Dileep and Tamannaah in ‘Bandra’. (Supplied)

Bandra doesn’t have an engaging script, especially in the second half.

Tamil actor Sarath Kumar’s police character and his past shown in the second half are unwanted in the script and don’t go well with the flow.

The first half is better than the second half. Dileep’s comedy in the first half provides some relief.

The latter half showcases many events, but nothing is inspiring or engaging.

The makers haven’t made any official statement about taking inspiration from Divya Bharati though.

Arun Gopi’s making style should be applauded, but the poor script fails to make an impression.

Also Read: ‘Kida’ is a realistic social drama from Ra Venkat that touches your heart


Tamannaah makes her debut in Malayalam with Bandra. The actress is shown as a damsel in distress. Ala comes to her rescue everywhere in this male-centred film.

Dileep as Ala gets a significant role, but his swag doesn’t help him establish himself as a mass hero. Surprisingly, he excelled as one in Runway (2004).

Kalabhavan Shah John as Mirchi, Ala’s henchman, is good.

KB Ganesh Kumar as Bawa is a different role for the actor-politician. He is decent.

Lena as Hemaji has nothing much to perform. But it is good to see her in a negative role.

The action choreography by Anabariv is a highlight of the movie. Anabariv recently worked for Leo (2023) and RDX (2023).

The songs by Sam CS are good. The music director is busy in Malayalam after RDX and Vela.

Shaji Kumar’s cinematography captures Kerala and Mumbai beautifully.

Final take

Bandra is a mass entertainer that loses its pace post-interval due to the poor script.

(Views expressed here personal.)