Kumbalangi Nights

We saw the magic of humanity woven into realistic cinema last year in Sudani From Nigeria. And this year it’s the turn of Madhu C Narayanan’s Kumbalangi Nights to do the same magic with the audience. With a fabulously written screenplay making use of the subtlety to explore every possible political statement it wishes to make on screen, Kumbalangi Nights is nothing short from being called a beautiful film. I would use the word beautiful to describe it as the end product here is extremely endearing to the viewer.

Saji, Bobby, Boney, and Franky are brothers and the family is a less complicated version of a “modern family”. The romantic relationship of Bobby with a girl named Baby creates a bit of tension in the atmosphere as Baby’s orthodox brother-in-law Shammy becomes a hurdle. How that troubles the already troubled family equation and how they come out of it is what Kumbalangi Nights showing us.

The beauty of Kumbalangi Nights lies in the fact that it is set in a reality that is believable and rooted. The aimless brothers are mere props of humor in the beginning. But as the movie proceeds the screenplay organically dives into the personal space of these arrogant lazy minds. Even the antagonist is explored in a way making him a possible common guy in the neighborhood. And in the end, there is a showdown where good wins over bad and the surprising thing was the grandeur it had in a seemingly simplistic scenario. Syam Pushkaran managed to create this story using characters one may have seen as random faces in the crowd and that add a layer of brilliance to this wonderful film.


If Soubin was more on the behaving side in Sudani, here in Saji he gets a character that truly challenges his acting skills. In the second half, there is a scene where he starts to talk about his sorrows. The visual before he breaks down was so real and haunting. Shane Nigam finally plays a less depressed character. Like Saji, Bobby also has this external outlook of an aimless person and an internal pain. Boney is a free bird and Sreenath Bhasi makes him an endearing character within the limitations. Anna Ben who played the role of Baby is one real find here and the way the girl has performed the role by maintaining the natural tone of the film is truly impressive. Grace Antony who was seen in Happy Wedding gets a good character here and was really good in it. The best one was the beast, Fahadh Faasil. There is pretty much nothing he can’t pull off it seems. Shammy is comical to an extent and there is a dangerous shade to that character which only gets revealed in the end. The fear he manages to bring on screen being a laughable conservative moron character in the film just shows his range as an actor and one should really acknowledge the way he is breaking the hero stereotypes in the industry. Mathew Thomas as Franky was good. And there are a lot of small characters here that are memorable.

The challenge Madhu C Narayanan might have faced here is to give visuals to the very minimal script of Syam Pushkaran. Because almost every scene has this conversational bit or silence which sort of establishes some kind of an equation between characters or some truth about characters. Madhu C Narayanan with the help of the beautiful frames set by Shyju Khalid manages to create that feeling of the movie. There is a scene where the newborn baby and mother are taken to the house of the brothers and the audience was clapping and it’s been a while since I saw people clapping for a frame. The montage style editing of Saiju Sreedharan helps the movie in being engaging. In his last few outings as a writer, Syam Pushkaran has managed to create memorable characters and their backstories without going deeply into any sort of flashback. The mother character in this movie and the way Saji roots for her was a beautiful scene. And even the feminism shown here isn’t on your face. The way Shammy has been created is very meticulous. He is that conservative mind in the modern era and what he becomes in the end sort of becomes the writer’s way of saying his politics. The songs are beautiful and the background score was magical.

Kumbalangi Nights is a movie made of well-etched characters. It is ultimately a story that talks about being a good human being, but it does that without spoon feeding us about the necessity of goodness in this world. For me, this one is this year’s first fab film.

Rating: 4/5

Telegram Channel

Final Thoughts

I would use the word beautiful to describe Kumbalangi Nights as the end product here is extremely endearing to the viewer.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.