Does age hinder you from enjoying your life? Does it make you feel like a worthless bum? If you say yes to both these questions ‘How Old Are You?’ the movie that I saw yesterday, would change your perspective in just two hours.
A milestone in every woman’s life, but a source of considerable anxiety and depression, turning thirty or the impending transition from the supposedly ‘youthful’ twenties to the hard-to accept ‘adult’ thirties is the worst of a woman’ s fears. Lately I’ve been watching a lot of people around me who freak out too much on turning or being thirty, and deal with all the sudden and unnecessary existential crises. An indispensable journey of life that no one can stop as per their whims and fancies, thirties arrive in everyone’s life, and can be pretty awesome if one has the right perception and willingness to accept and enjoy that settled and matured stage of life. But the fear to grow old begins with thirty and burgeons day and after day, making us go desperate for everything that we feel would give us the so called ‘juvenile effect’ and bring back the twenties in to our looks.
No matter whether it’s a few wrinkles around the eyes or a couple of extra pounds on the body, every age comes with an amazing step forward in life, for which we should be thankful for, instead of pouring out grumbles and curses. Nevertheless, age crisis eats up most of our thoughts and we end up being frantic to polish our outer selves in whatever ways possible, to look ‘younger’ or so do we believe, thus killing our innate and god-gifted potentials.
This destructive road of thinking was the theme of the movie and the protagonist, a thirty something woman, the butt of ridicule of the entire family and society, is seen transforming herself into a woman of substance, strength, and ultimate vibrancy by the end of the movie, when she, who remained shy to reveal her age turns fabulously confident enough to say that age doesn’t matter at all, as it’s nothing but just a number. A chain of events wash away her confusions, anxieties and insecurities, making her shed her self-flagellations and rise up to become a much revered personality, thus gaining immense respect and admiration, even from those who gang-up to shower ridicules on her.
While women turn distressed and freakish on turning thirty, I haven’t ever seen a man undergoing the same desperation on stepping in to his thirties. While the protagonist of the movie tries her best to be keep up with her younger looking husband and vivacious daughter, her husband is shown as a very easy going and self-centred man, and an absolute naysayer, who leaves no stone unturned to belittle and poke fun at his wife for being in her thirties. For most of the women the biological clock starts banging its hammer by the age of thirty, and our protagonist is no different. With more of a sedentary and lazy life in a government office, she has no knowledge of the world outside, other than the trashy conversations of the serials and novels that she reads.
Surrounding her is a group of scandal mongering women and men who live and breathe only to gossip and say ill about everyone other than them. The situation is no different in real life as well. Most of the women forget to set strong boundaries and dedicate their time for people who genuinely care about them. Thirty or not, mediocre friends and miserable colleagues are a real pain in the ass, and should be nipped off right from the bud. Instead, having people who can better our vision and love ourselves for the way we are can work wonders in our lives. This is very effectively depicted in the movie, when a long lost friend of the protagonist motivates her and changes her entire outlook about life, by helping her start dreaming all over again, and inspiring her to chase her dreams with all her efforts. While her narcissistic husband pays a short visit from Ireland and indirectly admits that he wants her to accompany him and help him avoid the cash crunch of paying for a servant, the protagonist boldly denies and gives befitting reply that almost silences him. As the movie draws close and we see her family dining with the honourable president of India, leaving a wonderful message that age is never a benchmark to judge someone, nor is it a hindrance on our road to achieving big in life.
With that said I must say about the immediate impact of watching this absolutely motivational movie. A woman who sat next to me, a thirty something housewife and mum of two kids, couldn’t stop saying this as we stood up to leave– “I feel as if I have many more things to do in life.”
Above all the namesake accolades and write-ups, those words are the genuine acceptance and appreciation that the movie and the makers can get, and ‘How Old Are You?’ is well-worth all that and more!