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10 years of Bangalore Days

10 years of Bangalore Days – never did we imagine this film would receive so much love for so long. Sharing a peek into our journey.

Circa 2013 

I share an idea with Anwar and he says – “if you direct it, I will produce it.” His first film as a producer. My first commercial film as director. Having worked together on Kerala Cafe and Ustad Hotel we had enough faith to jump off this bridge together.

In between feeding and changing diapers and travelling and cooking, I was writing this script. A script that had an interesting premise – interesting enough to attract a bunch of people to work on it but from there on it had to get better. The first half emerged quite easily with plenty fun and energy but the second half was stubbornly stuck. I struggled with it for more than 6 months. Draft after draft emerged with different ideas for the second half but none of them were quite the right one. Finally when I shared my desperation with Anwar, he said “Anjali, this is how it is with commercial films. You are just not used to writing that way, that’s why you are finding it difficult.” He was right. I was no prolific writer and could only write instinctively. And my instinct was not feeling right. However we had a release dates, actor dates and a crew ready to work – so a draft was finalised (!) in time for the preproduction. Actually it felt more like stuffing a suitcase with so many things and shutting it before it all fell out. And I was the one sitting on that suitcase.

On November 5th 2013 we started preproduction, and I still didn’t feel right. But we couldn’t push the shoot anymore. 6th, 7th and 8th we started prepping and location hunting but I was unable to sleep at nights. Once again I turned to Anwar and said “ I want to change that second half”. He looked at me like I was crazy but agreed – this man fortunately trusted me as a writer. I knew the extent of risk he was taking for the film, but it only made me want to do it even better. I called up every head of department and updated them assuring them that they could keep working while I caught up quickly. Believe it or not, they all understood and let me do my work while they did theirs. So while the preproduction went on in full swing upstairs at our home, I sat quietly downstairs rewriting the second half. Write half the day, prep half the day. Elements emerged from earlier abandoned drafts along with plenty new things. The draft was completed on December 4th. We started shoot on December 8th.

On this film I learned that directing could simply become writing with a different medium and that is exactly what happened. A lot of the script was still in English with Manglish dialogues and I was writing dialogues every night for the shoot the next day. But in a strange way it liberated me from my storyboard and outcome planning. I was thinking on my feet and so was rapidly including many organic elements in the environment. (For those who asked, the “Free hugs” was not part of the plan and was a last minute walkie talkie instruction to the actors!) The HoDs were as a result all thinking on their feet and pushed to their limits consistently. It is not easy to keep the faith and the temper but most of them kept doing even better with every day. The actors just revelled in the madness and decided its easier to stay in character all the time. 🙂 Every department was performing full blast and in the middle of that our delight was what was emerging in the frames.

Was it easy? – hell no! Did we get on each others nerves? – oh yes! Anyone who watches edited behind-the-scenes footage and feels its was a joyride, can think again. There was much sweat and plenty heartache and way too many challenges but we got through it all to reach the edit room – where our first cut was 4 hours and 19 minutes long! 

The joke among the crew with long late shoots was that when the film releases, a boy packs a suitcase and his mother asks where he was going – he would say am going to watch Bangalore days! Ha!  Till then 75 day shoots were not common in Kerala and were frowned upon as a waste of time and resources. Yes, I heard plenty whispers of “she doesn’t know what she’s doing!” 😀 but we shot 75 days from Dec 8th to March 9th and that resulted in plenty work in the edit room. Nope, contrary to expectation we hardly lost any scenes but they were edited sharp with a timer on! We actually worked through an excel sheet with the timing of every single scene written down at every cut to whittle it down as much as we could. The writing work continued right into our editing and dubbing stages. Kuttan’s voiceover and Sarah’s anchoring helped weave the script elements closer together. This involved improvisation at every level and was only possible because of the trust of the cast and crew. 

Right down to the title credits we improvised and used every resource we had to add value – telling our story even through our children’s crayon drawings in the titles. From March 9th we did our entire post production and the film was released on May 30th 2014.

The crew on our team worked so incredibly hard, the actors brought so much joy and feeling, there were many collaborators and artists who generously enriched our film, there were cynics who mocked the process and then there were those who stood steadfastly loyal to the film – to all of them a heartfelt thank you. You know who you are. Without you this film would never have had the journey it has had and 10 years this side, am deeply grateful for the love and the learnings. 

And then came the audience… I have no words… you simply were the best – watching it again and again, bringing in friends and family and sharing the film with the world, introducing it as yours. You simply made it yours. And continue to do so.

Today we often hear questions about how indie Malayalam films get made… about the spontaneous performance… the organic writing… about the long thank you credits… about why everyone else isn’t doing it. I have no authority to speak for all filmmakers in Kerala, but I would humbly point out an observation-  that it is not just the content or the writing that distinguish our films but also the environment in which our films get made – the trust among the people making the film allows us to explore, to improvise, to create and treat the shoot as an organic process where we discover our films. Our long thank-you credits are emblematic of an environment where people help beyond what they need to. The indie filmmaking approach plays a definitive role in transforming our challenges into distinctive features of our films with actors and crews that are passionate about what they do. Far from perfect, we have areas that we need to improve on, but we do work towards better change. We have grown up on brilliant indie films from our favourite filmmakers in Malayalam of the previous generations and it is inspiring to see the legacy continue with fresh narratives and new filmmakers every year. I hope the wider audience will also look at films that came far before our time to find the roots of Malayalam cinema and appreciate that journey. 

Sorry for the long ramble. It comes with much feeling. In short – thank you for 10 years of love.

Comments: 30

  • jergeo1 May 31, 202412:18 am

    🥰🥰🥰 ഫസ്റ്റ്… 🫶🏻

  • Amaldev S.R May 31, 202412:18 am

    Thankyou Anjali for this flim.

    • Saurabh Kumbhare June 6, 20245:32 am

      As a Marathi audience, I always ‘awe’ with what Malayalam movies do. What they do differently is that, they never wanted to do it differently, but put faith on every quirky idea they have and nourishes it with full faith.

  • farjifarishta May 31, 202412:20 am

    Cant believe its been 10 years since it released ..such a genius of a movie…still feels so fresh and heartwarming everytime I watch it! Kudos!!

  • Srilakshmi May 31, 202412:23 am

    We still continue loving it 🙂 Power of good cinema 🌼

  • Manasvinee Patil May 30, 20247:35 pm

    Thank you for every single frame you’ve directed, Anjali Ma’am. The way you have portrayed the escalation of depth and growth of the characters individually and as a bond makes me feel heartened every single time I watch the movie. Thank you for the craft. Sending love, Manasvinee.

  • Mahesh May 30, 20247:57 pm

    Thank you for this beautiful film 🖤

  • Arjun francis May 30, 20248:26 pm

    Banglore days is the first other language movie apart from tamil I’ve watched during my college days.

    Now looking forward to your tamil movie. Hope Nithya menen also part of it 🙂

  • Deva Krishnan May 30, 20248:59 pm

    My all time favorite move, don’t know how many times I have watched, still feeling the freshness inside, Thank you for this film🤍

  • Sabith May 30, 202410:44 pm

    Please please make more movies like this..Like pleaaaaaaaaaaaaaase

  • Mahashook Muhammed May 30, 202411:32 pm

    Movies are not to be judged, its to be watched and loved and being in that hangover mood,
    inspire to ur life and make changes
    Thats what its is
    And movies you have created is magic
    Incredible and beautiful 😻

  • Vinee Pradeepan May 30, 202411:41 pm

    Thank you. Ende Kannil is still my phone’s ringtone for about a decade or so.

    This movie, means nostalgia to me.

  • Vishnu V May 31, 20242:38 am

    Always grateful for giving this gem ! 💎

  • NJ May 31, 20242:40 am

    Thank you for making me feel old this morning… reading this while passing through Law college rd knowing that these paths has seen a tiny miny bit of your journey too

    • Sruthi June 1, 20244:03 am

      Ma’am, you were absolutely right when you said ‘sharing the film with the world, introducing it as yours’. Whenever we talk about Malayalam movies, Bangalore Days is always a part of it. Thank you for giving us such a beautiful film.

  • Farhana Rahman Luba May 31, 20243:35 am

    Thank you for this beautiful movie ❤

  • Praveen Prabhakar May 31, 20243:47 am

    I still remember the day you first narrated the story to me and said “it’s editors film”. 😊 I didn’t know then! 😁 The edit days were fun and challenging too! 🥰 Always cherish the wonderful time we spent during the edit. Still can’t believe we started this journey 10 years back! So happy and lucky to edit this wonderful film.❤️❤️ Thank you Anju! 🙏🥰

  • Shiyamala C May 31, 20244:55 am

    Banglore days is like a feeling, it’s a soul soother, Thanks for the whole team for giving this .

  • Devika M Prakash May 31, 20244:59 am

    Still remember how excited I was to watch it on the first day itself..it was such a full packed show in chennai..loved every bit of movie..Still continue watching it whenever it get telecasted in TV..thanks a ton for such a refreshing film!!!

  • Kaliappan.K May 31, 20245:17 am

    Thanks a ton for bringing a whiff of fresh air in art of film making….

  • Zuchid May 31, 20245:18 am

    Excellent writeup 👌

  • Veena Ravindran May 31, 20245:56 am

    This is such a beautiful film that I have lost count of the times I have watched. I ensured my 9 year old watched it and she too loved it. It’s her favourite Malayalam movie!

  • Adarsh R Ravi May 31, 20246:15 am

    When banglore days was released there was not a single theatre near my house for 40 kms…

    So I missed the theatrical experience of this film.. Which is the biggest thing that regret each time i watch it on asianet movies…

    You are truly a inspiration for female filmmakers

    Once again thankyou for banglore days…. 😍

  • S Mohammed Hasif Meera May 31, 20246:34 am

    Big ‘Thank you’ for giving us Bangalore Days. Everything about the film was positive. It is very special for me because when that film came out, I was going through a rough phase in relationship but this film reinstated faith in human relationships. It helped me to look forward and wider. All thanks to the character portrayal and dialogues. I’m from Tamil Nadu and it was the first Malayalam film I’d watched and from that point, I started loving more Malayalam cinemas. Infact I learned Malayalam through watching Bangalore Days 100+ times. Much respect and more love to you and the team.

  • Reema Abdul nasar May 31, 20245:06 pm

    It’s such an amazing movie.. love every bit of it. A movie without any lag and every actor has their on importance❤️. This movie still hold s an amazing place in my heart. To many more hits👍.

  • Ripin Kannoth May 31, 20247:01 pm

    thank you, Anjali mam:)
    for your writing,
    for the story,
    and, you the best😊

  • Days eye June 1, 20247:35 am

    The comfort this movie brings to my soul is unexplainable the warmth and joy this movie holds is just immense thank you so much Anjali ma’am for giving us such a wonderful movie hoping to see more movies like this.. btw Bangalore days is my favourite movie hehe

  • Ashwathy anoop June 3, 20242:23 am

    Cant believe its already 10 years.. its filmmakers like u who bring these ingredients as a movie for us..lots of love…waiting for more …

  • amy June 4, 20248:18 am

    I’m not usually your target audience, I suppose, but Bangalore Days was one of the earliest Indian films I watched on my Indian film journey started a bit over a decade ago. Thank you for making wonderful films that move souls. A very big fan from the other side of the world.

  • Meenakshi Venkatraman June 4, 202411:23 am

    Every minute of the movie is so engaging that I have watched this so many times in the last 10 years. You are an incredible writer director and I dream about the movies that you would come up with in the future. Keep writing….

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