Cast: Manju Warrier, Amala Akkineni, Shane Nigam
Director: Antony Sony
Rating: 3 stars
Predictable feels lousy. It is a wonder how sometimes newness can be created through little gestures. Like how when Joshua Peter chats with the old woman next door every morning, he clicks the same smiling photo, gets her needle through the thread and secretly passes on a non-veg dish. Then there’s his ‘mother’ Saira, shaking her head, saying ‘Won’t happen’ when he points at the old Bullet his dad had left behind. But these little pictures shouldn’t be lost in between all the big ones, the more predictable ones. And C/O Saira Banu, while has its big moments, becomes sweet through the unnoticed little ones. Manju Warrier looks and speaks different as Saira, convincing in her love for Joshua, played by Shane Nigam.
In a scene, screenwriter John Paul who plays a role in the film, says, “It is not just their ages that don’t match for mother and son, but the names too.” The explanation comes only after that, not in the first few scenes when Joshua calls her Banu and the two talk like friends or siblings. The film’s biggest announcement was the comeback of actor Amala Akkineni, after 25 years. She becomes the righteous advocate Annie, mature and serious, a world away from the perky young girl we have seen in Ulladakkam or Ente Sooryaputhri. It is not the maturity that troubles you though, something seems to have flickered out of her face. The emotions are perhaps deliberately underplayed for the character.
Talking of underplay, Shane Nigam repeats his too-subtle performance in Kismat. He is adorable, perfect for the part, but his words seem reluctant at times, his face lacks expression at others. Manju Warrier seems to compensate for both her co-actors’ lack of enthu. She is, typical of her performances after the comeback, a tad too expressive but then the pain on her face comes off beautifully. A laudable act comes from young actor Niranjana Anoop, playing the love interest of Joshua. Sujith Sankar, who played villain in Maheshinte Prathikaram, appears in a really small role.
Joshua dreams to be a photographer, like his dad known for his remarkable work, one of which brought young Saira into their lives. Because she plays a post woman, the title gets its ‘C/O’. Saira and Annie connect in court when there is a case, and there is a question of defending your child versus doing what’s right. The film takes tiny digs at insincere government staff, communal upper caste, moral policing, but all of it becoming vital for the rest of the script, not a diversion. In that way, RJ Shaan’s scripting is neat, the pace correct, the thread of events connected beautifully. Antony Sony, first time director, who has earlier made a short film with Shaan, looks promising.