10 Years of Bangalore Days: The Anjali Menon film still feels like a breath of fresh air

As this coming-of-age rom-com turns 10, South First explains why the movie strikes a chord with youths and family audiences.

ByArjun Ramachandran

Published May 30, 2024 | 1:54 PM Updated May 30, 2024 | 8:43 PM

10 years of Anjali Menon's Bangalore Days

Director Anjali Menon’s Bangalore Days has turned 10 on 30 May.

The Malayalam blockbuster movie had an ensemble cast, including Dulquer Salmaan, Fahadh Faasil, Nivin Pauly, Nazriya Nazim, and Parvathy Thiruvothu. The young actors came together for the first time in this coming-of-age rom-com drama, which came as a breath of fresh air a decade ago.

Bangalore Days was released in 205 theatres across India on 30 May 2014—the biggest release for a Malayalam movie.

Made with a budget of ₹8 crore, Bangalore Days opened to positive reviews and raked in around ₹45-50 crore for its makers, thus becoming one of the highest-grossing films of all time.

It completed 100 days in Kerala theatres and Chennai and ran for two months in Hyderabad.

Bangalore Days is Anjali Menon’s fourth directorial venture and has the traits of her debut Manjadikuru (2009)—a gem of a film that revolves around the memories of Vicky’s (played by Prithviraj Sukumaran) childhood days at his ancestral home.

Bangalore Days director Anjali Menon

Director Anjali Menon. (Supplied)

During an interaction with Anjali Menon in 2011-12, she told this reporter that she had fond memories of her visiting her ancestral house in Kozhikode. She lived in Dubai with her parents. This inspired the director to do Manjadikuru.

Later, the filmmaker wrote the story, screenplay, and dialogues for Ustad Hotel (2012). The Anwar Rasheed film featured Dulquer Salmaan and Nithya Menen in lead roles and was a phenomenal hit.

Coming to Bangalore Days, the story revolves around three cousins hailing from Kerala who shift to Bangalore (now Bengaluru) and want to hold on to their childhood.

Bangalore Days is also one of the films that showcased Bengaluru on a larger canvas. Many Keralites live in Garden City and many dream of moving to the metropolitan area, just like the three cousins—Kuttan (Nivin Pauly), Divya (Nazriya Nazim), and Arjun (Dulquer Salmaan).

Parvathy Thiruvothu (Sarah) and Fahadh Faasil (Shivadas aka Das) played key roles in the film, while Nithya Menon did a cameo as Natasha.

The movie also casts seasoned actors, including Vijayaraghavan, Kalpana, Praveena, Prathap Pothen, and Vinaya Prasad.

Also Read: A quick look into the world of female directors in Malayalam

Anjali Menon explores family bonding

A still from Bangalore Days

A still from ‘Bangalore Days’. (Facebook)

The cousins—Kuttan, Divya, and Arjun—are more of best friends and a support system. Their unconditional love for each other strikes a chord with the family audience, especially those coming from joint families.

In an interview, Anjali Menon explained, “The relationship between the three cousins is pretty strong. Even if they don’t communicate, it never becomes a problem since, at the end of the day, they are a family.”

Coming to the plotline, Kuttan lands a job in Bangalore and is overjoyed to realise his dream of settling in Garden City. However, he longs for his traditions, customs, and indigenous culture.

Arjun’s parents are divorced. For him, Divya and Kuttan are his family. They accept him unconditionally, though their families don’t approve of his behaviour and lifestyle.

Divya aspires to do an MBA from an IIM but is married off to Shivadas, which is a major turning point in the film. Post-marriage, she moves to Bangalore with Shivadas.

How the cousins deal with the problems in their personal lives and discover themselves form the crux of the film.

The friendly relationship between Kuttan and his father (played by Vijayaraghavan)—who leaves behind his wife (played by Kalpana) and moves to Goa to pursue his passion—is a touching episode.

Vijayaraghavan and Kalpana’s roles throw light on the midlife crisis. They also reveal how the older generations were forced to give up on their dreams and comforts due to familial responsibilities and make us realise that all that shines isn’t gold.

Divya and her parents share a delightful quirkiness, which strikes a chord with many young women.

Interestingly, the filmmaker doesn’t try to say what is right and what is wrong in all these relationships and instead leaves it to the audience to decide.

Also Read: Kani Kusruti and Divya Prabha’s journey to Cannes glory

A new-age story

Most part of Bangalore Days was shot in Bangalore

Most of the film was shot in Bangalore. (Supplied)

Anjali Menon’s Bangalore Days delivers a new-age drama after the story shifts to the Garden City. The lives of the cousins undergo a sea change and so does their relationship.

In an interview, Anjali Menon admitted that she re-wrote the draft of the script multiple times as she wasn’t satisfied. She locked the final script 14 days before the shoot.

When the story shifts to Bangalore, the film shows the transformation of the characters.

Divya isn’t happy in her married life and feels emotional as Shivadas is not okay with her socialising and doesn’t open up to her. Nazriya and Fahadh are quite relatable as a newly married couple.

Anjali Menon doesn’t make it overdramatic when Shivadas reveals to Divya about his ex (Natasha) in their first rendezvous. However, after marriage, distance creeps into the relationship as Shivadas fails to get along with Divya and the latter seeks divorce.

On learning the truth about Natasha (that she died in a road accident caused by Shivadas), Divya returns to her husband and tries to help him overcome the guilt.

Fahadh delivers an intrinsic performance as Shivadas and wins the hearts of viewers, while Nazriya effortlessly gets under the skin of the role of Divya.

Fahadh and Nazriya in a working still

On the sets of ‘Bangalore Days’. (Supplied)

Meanwhile, Arjun falls in love with Sarah, a wheelchair-bound radio jockey, who helps him become a better person by rediscovering his passion for bike racing.

Dulquer and Parvathy’s scintillating onscreen chemistry works well in theatres.

Kuttan adopts modernity to impress an air hostess (Isha Talwar) who, however, gets close to him only to win her boyfriend back. Nivil Pauly’s Kuttan reflects the dilemma of rural youth who fight their own battles in the process of adapting to urban ways of living.

The climax of Bangalore Days is pretty engaging with the motocross event, where Arjun participates. It’s quite interesting that Dulquer himself, a petrolhead, was given the role of Arjun (a biker).

Anjali Menon revealed that the climax was shot during a live motocross racing race event in Pune. A major portion of the racing event was shot live.

The filmmaker brilliantly captures the stark difference between life in a village in Kerala and Bengaluru city—through culture, food, lifestyle, and whatnot. For instance, through Kalpana’s character, the director showcases that it is okay to adopt a change (city life).

In all, the Malayalam movie is about love, hope, despair, emotions, bonds, family, expectations, and limitations—all weaved into one as a youthful entertainer.

Malayalam watchlist: ‘Grrr’ and ‘Little Hearts’ to hit the screens in June

Soulful music by Gopi Sundar

Anjali Menon and Parvathy share lighter moments on the sets of Bangalore Days

Anjali Menon and Parvathy share lighter moments on the sets of ‘Bangalore Days’. (Supplied)

The soundtrack in Anjali Menon’s Bangalore Days is a brilliant mix of melodies and fast numbers.

The wedding song, “Maangalyam“, still trends even after a decade as it celebrates weddings in the true sense. In the song, Anjali Menon told the actors not to dance but to perform naturally.

The placement of the song in the initial part of the film was a good way to keep the audience glued to their seats and wait for the happenings that unfold post-wedding.

Gopi Sundar’s music and background added vigour and colour to the film.

The huge popularity of Bangalore Days resulted in Tamil and Hindi remakes of the film.

In Tamil, it was remade as Bangalore Naatkal in 2016 and was directed by
Bommarillu Bhaskar. The film had Arya, Bobby Simha, Sri Divya, Rana Daggubati, Saranya Ponvannan, and Parvathy Thiruvothu in pivotal roles.

The Hindi version of the film, Yaariyan 2, was released in October 2023. It was helmed by Radhika Rao and Vinay Sarpu.