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Polandine Patti Episode 5

Today we continue our look at the theme of Urban/City Life, with our examination of director Anjali Menon’s 2014 film Bangalore Days. A reminder that, as always, there are spoilers!

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00:27 Katherine reminds us that in our last episode we discussed Helen, in which city life gives characters more freedom, balanced against some city nightmares. Bangalore Days, however, gives us the dream of city life,

00:53 Harsha suggests Bangalore Days gives us a very idealistic view of city life, and gives us a summary of the film.

02:13 The film is about three cousins and how the city allows them to grow.

02:22 Katherine loves this film, just for the record.

03:16 Katherine loves Anjali Menon’s writing, too.

03:45 Katherine asks the usual question for her: what is my connection to all this as a non-Malayalee? For her, the story of the three cousins is incredibly relatable.

05:00 Harsha, however, relates to the movie in a different way, having more reservations about it: the movie is very conscious about being cool.

06:50 What does it mean to be a Gulf kid, like Anjali Menon is?

07:57 What does Bangalore mean for the three cousins, all of whom are on the cusp of the opportunity the city might offer them?

10:27 Harsha suggests that among New Gen Malayalam films, this may be the first whole-hearted endorsement of city living.

11:25 Bangalore Days picks up on the sense of hope and dreaming from older films like Nadodikkattu, even if the nature of city is different today.

11:55 Anjali Menon’s films are not massy, nor arthouse — she seems more interested in exploring the middle ground between those two, and she’s always in dialogue with the older, classic films of Malayalam cinema.

14:07 We in the West do know of Bangalore, but our perceptions will be different, too. IT, for sure, which feeds into making it a more cosmopolitan city.

15:00 Everything about Kuttan is played as a bit of a joke, but there are serious points made about his parents, especially, who are unhappily tied together in their marriage.

16:40 Contrast Kuttan’s mother with Divya and how they experience arriving in Bangalore.

17:28 There is a connection to be made regarding Kuttan’s mother and Divya, HOWEVER, there’s also a statement on the part of Anjali Menon on how middle-aged women are perceived.

18:33 Anjali Menon is a writer who works with intention, and that’s especially true for her previous film, Manjadikuru.

19:15 Aju is usually the one leaving, so there’s an irony in him meeting and caring for someone who might be the one leaving instead — someone who is leaving this city for a bigger city where she’ll have more accommodation for her needs as someone in a wheelchair.

20:00 Cities are places of opportunity, but sometimes the city you’re in might not offer you all that you need.

20:42 Not all military families are like Aju’s.

21:10 There is a distinctive lack of pity for RJ Sarah in the movie — which is very new for a Malayalam movie handling disabilities. We experience Sarah’s disability through the lens of Aju initially.

22:25 Is it problematic that the big reveal is that Sarah is in a wheelchair? Or is it a device to challenge the preconceived notions Aju has about her? It certainly helps us as an audience grow to like Sarah without pitying her at all.

24:10 Sarah is an unusual role for Parvathy who usually doesn’t play chirpy characters very often.

26:27 Harsha finds it surprising that the film didn’t bring in a reconciliation between Aju and his parents — perhaps this reinforces the idea that all these three cousins need is each other? The parents, though, are always hovering in the background.

27:40 How does the film connect to the idea of “found families”? Bangalore allows the characters the chance to choose their family as well as choose how they will live their lives.

31:05 The city is a place where you can define your relationship in different ways, without the interference of family members.

33:38 We sum up, and look forward to the next episode in our City Life them, in which we’ll look at the film Vedivazhipadu – which is a very cynical take on cities!

Check out the list of films we’ve discussed on the podcast.

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