C/O Saira Banu movie cast: Manju Warrier, Amala Akkineni
C/O Saira Banu movie director: Antony Sony
C/O Saira Banu movie rating: 2.5
“No fictional story carries half of the drama happening in real life,” one of the key characters tells his granddaughter while narrating the complex life story of Saira Banu (Manju Warrier). And the writers of C/O Saira Banu believes every word in the above dialogue. The filmmakers have tried to bring out the drama in the mundane life of the characters played by seasoned actors in the film.
Director Antony Sony’s debut film packs some neat performances and enough surprises to keep the audience hooked to the story. The film follows the middle-class life of Saira Banu and her adopted son Joshua Peter (Shane Nigam). Except for the fact that she wears a headscarf, there is nothing conservative about Banu. Her character is progressive and regardless of her own personal tragedy, she has a positive outlook on life that only revolves around her teenage son.
Banu works as a post woman and strives hard to fulfill the desires of her son and her own, which is to pass a driving test. Joshua, an aspiring photographer, suffers whole body dysfunction as and when he faces a difficult situation. He may be pursuing a law degree but he still needs his mother to bail him out of trouble.
Following a heated argument with Banu, Joshua storms out of the house and takes the family bike for a spin against his foster mother’s diktat to do so and lands into trouble. He gets framed for a hit-and-run case, which threatens to destroy his life and career goals.
Annie John Tharavady (Amala Akkineni), the most feared advocate in Kerala, is on his case and is very determined to lock him up for a long time. Joshua has no money or muscle power to fight back against the morally corrupt system. All he has is his mother. After a series of abortive attempts to secure a decent legal aid for his son, Banu decides to take the things into her own hands. She represents her son against the mighty Annie. This is the point where the film pivots from its real life-esque approach and enters the area of cinematic drama.
With no basic degree or legal knowledge, Banu sets off to fight a battle where she stands zero chance of winning. The first half of the film explores the heart-warming relationship between Banu and Joshua and narrates their backstory. The second half is a thriller, where two mothers draw out their claws and ready to go above and beyond to protect their sons in a court setup.
Manju walks away with the film with her charming performance, although most of her attempts at comedy fall flat. But, it is her performance that makes the film watchable at times. Shane is convincing as an innocent teenager but it seems like he has one fixed look on his face for all the situations.
Amala, who has made her comeback in Malayalam after a gap of more than 20 years, has also delivered a convincing performance as a formidable lawyer with ethical issues. Biju Sopanam deserves a special mention for his performance as an underconfident lawyer with a good heart.
C/O Saira Banu, indeed, has an interesting story, heart-warming performances, humour and surprises but most of these elements work in parts. However, you won’t regret watching this film.