Director: Rajesh Nair
Producer: Abeesh V. P
Production Co: 1000 Lights Entertainments
Music Director: Bijibal
Cast:Biju Menon,Lakshmi Priyaa ,Saiju Kurup,Sudheer Karamana,Sarayu,Suhasini Mani Ratnam
As his parents clamber up frantically to the terrace of the skyscraper where he had been for a while, Manu (Varkichan) points his tiny fingers at a rainbow that had appeared out of the blue in the sky. It’s here that Rajesh Nair’s ‘Salt Mango Tree’ lays out the seven hues of life, and ascertains that the best of entertainment could arrive in unfussy packets.
Aravindan (Biju Menon) runs a medical store, while his wife Priya (Lekshmi Priyaa Chandramouli) works as an accountant. The couple has an adorable son Manu (Varkichan) who is done with his play school and is all set to join Grade One. As the D-day for admission to reputed English medium schools draws closer, Priya grows increasingly fretful and busies herself with preparing Manu for the gala interviews.
When her plans of enrolling Manu in a lofty school go awry, Priya tries out every arrow that is left in her armour to see to it that Manu gets a proper English education. When she insists that he join along with her in a crash grooming course for parents, Aravindan concurs, and in no time the two of them start reworking on everything that had been a part of their lives.
The best thing about ‘Salt Mango Tree’ is that it chooses not be judgemental and does not in any manner underrate one language at the cost of the other. Rather, it makes an objective appraisal of our obsession towards the English language and subtly points out how this fixation is often terribly misplaced.
The refreshingly cranky goof-ups that Aravindan and Priya indulge in are perhaps a perturbing reflection of a society that has all on a sudden evolved into something simulated. There is a sharp contradiction offered as well, when Manu latches on to his grandparents with immense adulation having discovered for himself unadulterated rivulets of love.
The slightly advisory tone that the film assumes towards the very end is the only dampener in it, which however does not snatch away all the goodness from it. Perhaps it’s a clever ploy that the counsel is offered through the words of the trainer, so much so that at the worst of it you merely feel like being in a personality development class.
Biju Menon is perhaps one of the most intelligent of actors around, and he has waited for quite a while after the enormously successful ‘Vellimoonga’ to take upon himself the brunt of another solo hero film. That he has made the most apt choice is evident from the self-assured manner in which he brings Aravindan to life, liberally splattering it all over with ample doses of fun.
Equally impressive are the performances by Lekshmi Priya Chandramouli, who is delightful as the depressed mom who would stop at nothing and the endearing Varkichan who turns out to be the real star of the day with his delightful smile and animated eyes. The supporting performances from an array of actors as Suhasini Maniratnam, Paris Lekshmi, Saiju Kurup, Sarayu and Sudheer Karamana have to be specifically mentioned as well.
‘Salt Mango Tree’ has an enjoyable air to it that pleases everyone who watches it, and in the process recreates the charm that one associates with minimalism. Neither too knotty nor too dense, its healthy and light entertainment, served with dollops of humour as accompaniment.
3 out of 5 (Good)