I already did a quick post on Bangalore Days a while back, but I just re-watched it and noticed a bunch of new stuff, so I am putting out a new post and you can’t stop me! Ha!
One big thing I missed on my first watch was all the work that went into building up Nazriya’s relationship with Fahad. It felt like it kind of came out of nowhere on my first watch, like they just fell in love because they had to because they were married, and that’s it. But on this watch, there were little things all along.
Going all the way back to their first meeting, Fahad tells her up front that he had a past relationship and isn’t over it yet. And her response is to just sort of accept it, and then confess from her side that she didn’t make the snacks herself, she can’t cook. And then they both play with the family dog.
The first time I watched it, I saw it as Nazriya’s innocence and naivety, that she didn’t really know how to respond or understand what he was telling her. And that Fahad was just being passive, making his confession but then going along with the relationship his family had set up without really caring anything about it. And sure, that’s part of it.
But on this watch, knowing the whole history of Fahad’s character and the future of Nazriya’s, there is some other stuff going on. I think Nazriya’s calm and accepting reaction is an indication of that same part of her character which will let her understand and resolve the problem later, once she comes to understand the full extant of it. She is an optimist, and confident, and ready to change the world, just as we saw in her graduation speech. And part of that is a refusal to admit that anything is unsolvable, that anything can stand her way, which is why she is able to just move on from her future husband’s confession of love for someone else.
And I think her calm and happy acceptance intrigues Fahad. Once we know the full history of his romance, that is the defining characteristic of Natasha. That she was so happy and strong-minded and ready to make her own way in the world. That she always saw the bright side of things. Oh, and she had a puppy! Which is what breaks the ice and brings Nazriya and Fahad together at the end of their first scene, bonding over a dog. I can see, on this watch, how Fahad might see that as a sign, that this new woman is connected to the old one. And even how the director might have put it in as an actual sign, that Nazriya really is related to Natasha, is connected to her, that their new romance is just a continuation of the old one.
Most of their marriage scenes are pretty “this relationship is doomed!!!!” I mean, he’s nice, but he doesn’t seem to really want to spend time with her, and she is dying of boredom and loneliness in their big apartment, except for the times her cousins come along to rescue her and remind her of who she really is. Even right before the wedding, she panics and wants to call it off. And seems happier about her new jewelry than her new husband.
But, on this watch, I noticed that there were all these little moments, when he would lean over or brush past her, and there was this little spark between them. Again, knowing the truth about his past, those little moments looked like times when he was attracted to her, but forced himself to hold back, out of guilt and confusion. And moments when she was ready to be with her husband, was a little bit in love, but didn’t know what to do since he never seemed interested.
The resolution to their marriage came in two parts, both of them going back to that first meeting, what initially attracted them to each other. First, Nazriya being herself, being honest, no longer trying to change into something else just to make her happy. Just like when she admitted the truth about not making the snacks at their first meeting. And second, Fahad acknowledging the conflict within himself, not knowing what he really wanted from their relationship, and how he will always have someone else in his heart. It wasn’t until he meet Natasha’s parents, learned to forgive himself, learned that Nazriya was able to understand and respect his previous relationship, that he could move past it.
So, that’s Nazriya on the second viewing. What about Nivin and Dulquer? Well, Nivin is a lot more attractive. After having seen him in all his other movies, suddenly he is a little less “boring engineer in glasses” and a little more “boring engineer in glasses but with a sweet smile.” Also, now that I’ve seen Thattathin Marayathu, I got all the jokes and references with his relationship with Isha Talwar in this, which made me feel super cool and smart. I also realized this time around that Nivin’s character is the one real dreamer of the group. He seems like the practical one, with the good job and all. But he is the one who believes in the fantasy of the perfect woman, the perfect life, the dream of the ideal Kerala, all of that. He’s been protected from life, and he needed to get his heart broken and have his mind expanded, and understand why his parents may not have been as happy as he thought, and why his life should be more than just an effort to re-create theirs.
Dulquer on the second viewing was really interesting! First, his life is the most fantasy one. Sure, Nazriya could have married a nice guy with a really good job, there are plenty of those around. And Nivin could have gotten a good job and found a nice girl to love him, that’s okay too. But Dulquer is a motocross racer and a sensitive graffiti artist who works at a high-end garage which lets him constantly borrow fancy convertibles to drive around in? That’s just classic filmi fantasy!
Although, I did a little research this time around, and what do you know! Motocross really is a thing in India! With a national governing body and everything! So I guess that part is actually realistic? Well, a little bit. The whole “natural talent but afraid of success!” bit was a little rushed and by the numbers. I would have kind of liked it if instead of being a super cool motocross racer, they’d just left it at him being a really good mechanic. I really liked that moment when Nivin defended him to his family, saying that he may not have finished school, but he can get a job in any garage in India and the best people in town want him to work on their cars. It was a nice, an acknowledgement that the new India values what people can do, not where they came from or what kind of degrees they have. And then they had to go too far and make him a super cool athlete type too.
And then Fahad is a super cool athlete type also? That was just way way too much of a coincidence on the first few watches. But I was watching closely for it this time, and I think I get how it makes sense. There were a couple of comments about how he could have gone all the way, but he only seemed to be known locally, not in the greater race world. So I think maybe he was supposed to be a full time MBA type in business, who only raced a little on weekends and stuff. Which I guess I find believable, at least way more believable than that some guy who was a motocross rider two years ago is now a super successful business guy. Oh, and I also got that he was supposed to be significantly older than the rest of the motocross gang. That Natasha was maybe a high school or college student, and that the rest of the gang was her age, but Fahad was the mysterious older guy who just showed up sometimes.
Knowing Fahad is significantly older than the rest of them, really makes the ending fall into place. When Dulquer rushes to the airport to stop Parvathy, it’s not just a big romantic gesture, it’s a sign that Dulquer is no longer the rejected familyless failure he always felt like, the failure that Parvathy’s mother thought he was. Because he doesn’t go there alone, he goes there with the help and support of his cousins. And Fahad introduces himself to Parvathy’s mother as Dulquer’s family, as the elder who can speak for him to Parvathy’s elders and help smooth the way for the relationship. So, while it may be just age-mates alone in Bangalore, no parents allowed, there are still “elders” around to help out.