Kumbalangi Nights directed by Madhu C. Narayanan is a 2019 Malayalam-language drama written by Syam Pushkaran. Jointly produced by Fahadh Fassil and Nazriya Nazim in association with Dileesh Pothan and Syam Pushkaran has a beautiful story with brilliant performers. The film features Shane Nigam, Soubin Shahir, Fahadh Faasil and Sreenath Bhasi, along with Anna Ben, Grace Antony and Mathew Thomas. The impeccable cinematography for this film is led by Shyju Khalid with a soundtrack and score composed by Sushin Shyam.
– This article contains spoilers for Kumbalangi Nights –
Kumbalangi Nights: How Love Brings Everyone Together
Kumbalangi Nights is set against the backdrop of the eponymous fishing village, Kumbalangi in Kochi, Kerela. The premise of the film covers the relationship between four brothers living in a dysfunctional household and, how they are able to put behind their differences and shortcomings to eventually rise together to live as a family. Hooded with heavy themes of posing the concept of femininity against masculinity, the film ranges from addressing the ideas of love and brotherhood to mental health.
There are two households introduced to us at the beginning of the film. One is a dilapidated small house by the water inhabited by four brothers- Saji, Bonny, Bobby and Franky, who don’t see eye-to-eye and are seemingly different from each other. The other household is that of Baby’s, where she lives with her sister Simmy and, rigid and neurotic brother-in-law, Shammi. When Bobby starts dating Baby and, eventually the two fall in love, these two households are linked to painting a parallel picture of how love and acceptance make them different.
The four boys live on their own as their mother has abandoned them for religion after their father’s death. This has given rise to a sense of causality and irresponsibility in Saji, who does not work and suffers from anger management issues and, Bobby, who stays unemployed and gets high on the shore. Meanwhile, Franky takes up the responsibility of cooking, cleaning and doing the household work but, constantly craves for a female presence to hold everyone together. On the other hand, Bonny, who is mute, makes an earnest living but rarely returns home and shares a close bond with Franky.
In Baby’s house, everything seems immaculate except the voices of the women are subbed. Shammi is a patriarch with perfection and, it is often throughout the film we are prived to his eccentric, patriarchal behaviour. Due to this, even when Saji and Bobby approach him for Baby’s hand in marriage they are rebuffed rather strangely and refused.
The two households share a very different atmosphere but, it is in the boys’ house where we see growth in the individuals and development in character due to love and female presence. A fight between Saji and Franky forces the former to leave in grief and, drink with his friend Vijay during which an incident leads to Vijay’s death. After this entire episode, we get to see Saji feel remorse for all his behaviour urging him to not only take in Vijay’s wife but, also talk out loud about his anger problems and suicidal feelings with Franky.
Bobby gets employed to stand on his feet and, seek out to marry Baby, who agrees. And, Bonny starts living in the house with an American tourist he is in love with, Nylah after she was kicked out from Baby’s homestay due to Shammi’s regressive mentality. The presence of two women and, resolution of certain issues amongst the brothers after they are finally able to openly talk about the topics of love and family, knit them closer.
However, it is the lack of love and acceptance in Baby’s household that shatters it. When Shammi finds out that Baby plans to run away with Bobby, he reaches a breaking point unable to accept the triumph and power of love and women’s raised heads. He turns violent and abusive locking the sisters and assaulting them. By the end, the brothers come together to perform a hilarious but, a dangerous rescue mission that unites them all.
Kumbalangi Nights: Love, Feminism & Mental Health
What makes Kumbalangi Nights stand out is how brilliantly it takes the most ordinary yet important topics of today’s world- love, feminism and mental health and, weaves them beautifully in the plot.
It is love- be it Baby and Bobby’s or Franky’s for a motherly figure, that brings the characters closer and unites them as one. It is the comparison of how two households dominated by men, change with the presence of women in them. For the boys’, we see a positive and wholesome change as the women are respected and loved. But for Baby’s, the presence of women is disregarded which ultimately results in its downfall.
Another relevant theme throughout Kumbalangi Nights is that of mental health, placing Shammi and Saji juxtaposing each other. Saji opens up, accepts his anger management issues and seeks help which makes him a better man. Shammi, on the other hand, suppresses his anger management issues and feels threatened to even address them leading him to turn into the story’s ultimate villain. This subplot brings us to the fact that it is the concept of feminism that makes a society thrive and, not patriarchy and hypermasculinity.
Graced with beautiful tracks and cinematography filled with symbolism and metaphors, Kumbalangi Nights is a film that can mend lives and open minds. With a runtime of 2 hours and 15 minutes, you can watch this film on Amazon Prime Video.Instagram & Facebook to keep yourself updated with the latest news and reviews.