Review: 22, Female, Kottayam

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Kottayam Immortalized Once Again





Film: 22, Female, Kottayam
Director: Ashik Abu
Lead: Rima Kallingal

Kottayam Kunjachan, the endearing rascal pioneered it; now it is Tessa the bold and aspiring nurse. The slang and the spirit of Kottayam sets the ambience for '22, Female, Kottayam'.

When Tessa on screen says 'despite anything, am I not a nurse from Kottayam?' (onnumallaelum njaanoru Kottayathukaari nurse allaedaa!), the soul of Kottayam would have swelled with pride.

'22, Female, Kottayam' tells the story of a nurse, and when it is a nurse, how could one afford to ignore Kottayam? asks director Ashik Abu. He is from Kochi, and vouches that the land of Kottayam becoming the background for his film was not a conscious decision, but an organic happening. "The story was about a young lady nurse who faces life boldly; naturally Kottayam became home to her. Most Malayali nurses-among expats as well as those in Kerala-are from Kottayam. This land has girls who, even as they are born, wish to become a nurse", says he. No wonder Tessa says 'I was born to be a nurse'.

Rima Kallingal plays Tessa who cherishes the typical Kottayam dream of migration. Even as she lives along in Bangalore, she incessantly dreams of more colourful life beyond the seas. Bold and truthful, this unmarried dame dares to announce to her lover that she is no more a virgin. Ashik Abu says this audacity is something he sees in every girl and boy of Kottayam.

Ashik confesses his love for the people of Kottayam and the language of Kottayam. From his college days, he has known both, and loved both. The Kottayam slang caricaturized in the film raises peals of laughter. It was a tough game for Rima during the dubbing, but it has brought rich dividends.