C/o Saira Banu (2017) Malayalam Movie Review by Veeyen


Loaded with sensitivity, humour and wisdom, ‘C/o Saira Banu’ is an evocative take on parental care and personal bonds. And with a terrific cast at his disposal, Antony Sony makes certain that his film sticks with you, long after the show.


Antony  Sony’s directorial debut is a gusty walk along the shores of life, as it follows a woman and her son grapple with an unforeseen storm that blows in. ‘C/o Saira Banu’ puts together some real sturdy acting feats from its lead actors and comes across as a competent feature debut, that works as much on emotions as it does on human experience.

Saira Banu (Manju Warrier) is a post woman who lives with her son Joshua (Shane Nigam) – a Law College student with a terrific passion for photography. When one of Joshua’s photographs gets selected for a scholarship, the duo is overjoyed, but the elation short lived.  Joshua gets embroiled in a crime, and Saira is left with none else but herself to make certain that her son does not remain behind bars.

What works in the film’s favour is its unfussiness, as it patiently explores the struggles of an ordinary woman whose aspirations in life are quite simple. All she wants is an uncomplicated, happy life for her and her son, and when they are denied just that and their lives put up at stake, she thrashes about in the torrent to keep their heads high above the water.

There are also the interesting parallels that are drawn across mothers, and as the film draws to a close, Saira starts on a journey to find an unknown mother somewhere who must be waiting for her son. That remains the best moment for me in the entire film, and as the camera zooms in on her expectant eyes, you realize that these are the unexplainable bonds that drive humanity forward.

There are of course the small hiccups that render ‘C/o Saira Banu’ a far from perfect film, but those which can perhaps be disregarded in the long run of things. The high dose of  theatricality that seeps into the proceedings, especially in the latter half, makes it a slightly uneven film that despite all its shortcomings does not topple down.

This is a film that’s all about performances and the kind of vulnerability that Shane Nigam brings in to his portrayal of Joshua, is what makes him an adorable actor, and it’s amazing to see the youngster never for a moment going overboard, either in moments of exhilaration or of despair. Shane neatly follows up his impressive debut in ‘Kismat’ and shares an incredible screen chemistry with the literally unstoppable Manju Warrier.

Manju, on her turn, continues with her dream run at grabbing the meatiest of female roles in Mollywood, and in ‘C/o Saira Banu’ accentuates even further why she still remains the best woman actor, this side of the globe. As Saira settles down in her seat at the court as the judgement is finally pronounced, her gaze gently flits down and puts across sentiments as varied as relief, delight and an incredible sorrow, all at once – one of those remarkable moments when you see only her on screen and the rest of it dissipates into nothingness.

There is also Amala Akkineni, who with her self-assured gait and smile etches the debonair lady lawyer to perfection, even as dubbing artiste Vimmy Mariam George strives hard to do justice to her unhurried lip movements. As much as Amala remains a far cry from the slight, boisterous girl that we had been familiar with a few decades back, she ensures that the verve that made her performances delightful is still very much intact. Niranjana Anoop as Joshua’s college mate Arundhati makes a notable appearance as well.

Cinematographer Abdul Rahim goes for a no-frills approach, and sees to it that the film has been tidily captured and it’s refreshing to see Mejo Joseph back again, where he comes up with a charming musical score and an unobtrusive and self-effacing background score that so agreeably blends with the narrative.

Loaded with sensitivity, humour and wisdom, ‘C/o Saira Banu’ is an evocative take on parental care and personal bonds. And with a terrific cast at his disposal, Antony Sony makes certain that his film sticks with you, long after the show.


Verdict: Above Average


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