Kumbalangi Nights Review: well-crafted cinematic experience
Subtle storytelling has been the new trend in the new wave of Malayalam cinema and the new film directed by debutante Madhu C Narayanan, Kumbalangi Nights is one more delightful experience that exploits the possibility of that kind of film making. The screenplay very organically develops character arcs and the way that arc ends for almost each one of them is just beautiful. With the feel-goodness factor culminating with a refreshing method of film making, Kumbalangi Nights is a well-crafted cinematic experience.
Four brothers, Saji, Bobby, Boney, and Franky are our main protagonists. They don’t have parents living with them and the aimless young souls are living an unenthusiastic life. The movie Kumbalangi Nights shows us the series of events that happen when Bobby falls in love with a girl named Baby and her conservative brother-in-law Shammy stands against the relationship.
What is so fascinating about this movie is that it almost feels like a story that could have happened in your neighborhood. There is no humongous filmy conflict here that makes the movie so non-relatable at any level. The brothers whom in the beginnings look funny are then shown up close making us feel for the kind of loneliness they go through in life. The so-called villain of the movie has a face that is so common and even he has an arc that makes him a figure that can be seen among us. Even the climax has a sense of grounded realism to its credit. The fact that the characters of the movie are so raw and relatable makes it even more pleasing and surprising.
In last year’s Sudani From Nigeria, Soubin was more on his comfort zone and it was more of a behaving style of acting. Here Saji was a good test for him as the character had a real arc with past and clumsy present. The scene where he breaks down in front of the therapist is so heart wrenching. Shane Nigam finally appears in a lighter shade and even in that he manages to make the character deep with his performance. Within the constraints, Sreenath Bhasi makes Boney a lovable character. Anna Ben as Baby shines and she is a real promise to the future of Malayalam cinema. Grace Antony and Mathew Thomas also manage to leave an impression with their respective performances. Who was actually fabulous in the whole movie was none other than the antagonist Shammy. Shammy is a laughable character and also a deadly and venomous conservative who hides his anger in a fake smile. And I must say the way Fahadh Faasil has handled that character was remarkable.
Syam Pushkaran has a way of giving scenes a sense of minimalism by not pouring too much of drama though words. The success of Madhu C Narayanan’s making is exactly because of the way he managed to understand that vision. Through each scene and its conversations and silences, the movie is showing us the various sides of its characters. The frames are beautiful and it also drives the narrative forward through mere visuals. The montages in the edit pattern make Kumbalangi Nights all the more engaging and happening. As always Syam Pushkaran manages to show us the back-story of some of the least shown characters through very small excerpts of conversations and the mother character of these brothers is one such character. And another smart thing is the way they created an antagonist with qualities that are dislikeable in a common man. The music department of the movie has also done a remarkable job.
Kumbalangi Nights is a movie that has its heart in the right place. A tale about being a good human being gets a very rooted representation. And supported by a cast that knew how to handle characters, this Madhu C Narayanan movie is one you should not miss.
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