'How Old Are You' is a 2014 Malayalam movie directed by Rosshan Andrews which was slated to be the comeback of one of Malayalam's most adored actors, Manju Warrier. If Manju had wished for more, it could not be better than having the story written by the most popular duo of Screenwriting in Malayalam, Sanjay-Bobby. She is joined by Kunjako, in the role of her husband.
Manju is Nimmi, a regular housewife with no life other than her husband and kid. She is a lazy government staff and has high blood pressure because of her present lifestyle. Rosshan Andrews carves up a story about a 'nobody' who realizes her potential and becomes the 'somebody' in a linear storyline with no heavy plot-twisting. The focus therefore lies in how he does that without the tried and tired routines. Rosshan and his team of writers concentrated on several current topics in Kerala, and he did it so carefully, unlike many others, by not swaying away from the scope of the film. Every relevant information was closely knit into the perspective of a working house-maker. Poisonous vegetable markets, bringing up kids in the internet age, role of women in family and society and health took the prime slots in this social drama about women empowerment. He also got to take a dig on the 'highly-opiniated' individuals on Facebook. All this encapsulated in a story that was not much of brain teaser. But, it got his work done.
The film gained much by the popularity of Manju Warrier, and rightly so. This movie paved a way to create more opportunities for women leads who are not in their sixteens. New directors are trying newer and bolder stories with matured women in lead, which reminds me of the malayalam movie industry of the 90's with 'Manichitra Thazhu's Shobana, or 'Kakkothikavile Apoopan Thaadigal's Revathy...Why, Manju in her last movie 'Kannezhuthi Pottum thottu'.
In here, Manju was not only convincing as the undermined housewife, but she also brings in her charm that would grip your melting hearts during her scenes of confrontation with her husband. Kunjako Boban on the other hand doesn't mind being over shadowed by the protagonist most of the time, but still does justice to his role. Smaller roles of Kanika, Vinay Forrt and Devan were important too. Though stereotypical, Thesni Khan donned the role of the jealous co-worker to viewers satisfaction.
The movie promised to be a engaging social drama on women empowerment and it does just that without being too much conscious about the logic in some places. This movie is not a limelight on intelligent plot creation and suspense, which seems to be the norm for malayalam movies these days, but a simple non-pretentious attempt at bringing the women in the homes to the centre. A lesson in creating a respect towards them. The background music was loud enough and repetitive, but it was jelling with the story. Cinematography is commendable; especially the aerial shots of iron bridge in Willington Island and the Marathon.
I rate the movie a 4/5, and strongly recommend it to viewers.