Salt Mango Tree

saltmangotree (5)

Vampire Owl :: You had talked about a movie with this kind of a combination.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, about that popular funny dialogue from Mohanlal in the movie Doore Doore Oru Koodu Koottam.

Vampire Owl :: I remember the comedy scenes. Memories come back to me from the hidden spaces of immortality. I hope none of them stay to haunt me forever.

Vampire Bat :: It had also won the National Film Award that year for Best Film on Other Social Issues.

Vampire Owl :: I need to watch that one again.

Vampire Bat :: You should. It should be the best movie with a satirical side from Sibi Malayil.

Vampire Owl :: What about this movie and the possible relation to that flick from the eighties?

Vampire Bat :: The educational system seems to be related, and there are kids, teachers and parents as it seems.

Vampire Owl :: And why did we choose this one over Hotel Transylvania 2?

Vampire Bat :: Well, Biju Menon might create another Vellimoonga here; so this might be the nice and interesting choice! There is also a chance that we might find the animated movie sequel offensive to vampire-kind.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Aravindan (Biju Menon) runs a medical shop in the city while his wife Priya (Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli) is working as an accountant. The only thing which they think about is to get their son Ashwin (Master Varkichan) admission in one of the best schools in the city. As the two become more and more obsessed with this, they arrange English tuition for the boy, try to ask everyone if there is any chance for the admission one way or the other, and even try to change themselves to become the modern parents. The Malayalam medium or state syllabus doesn’t seem to work for them, but a person named Kumaran (Sunil Sukhada) promises to try to help them. With the admission for only one of those big schools in the city left, can they finally do this?

The defence of Salt Mango Tree :: There are three things that this movie does have, and they are the comedy, messages and the feel-good factor in the end – even with not that much of an effective presence as expected, they are all present. We can say that it is a good attempt at dealing with the modern Malayali aversion for Malayalam, considering it not useful at a time when English and Hindi are running strong outside the state; this love for mother tongue and the message that good score in examinations won’t make one a better person is fine. The fact that nobody becomes a better person by speaking English in style or with fluency, and studying at a school which takes more fees doesn’t make a child something more, is the right message. There are some nice jokes in this movie too, and Biju Menon’s skills once again elevate them to a higher level. The movie is also short in length, and that is also good.

Claws of flaw :: There is nothing that deep in Salt Mango Tree, and its elements are not used to its best advantage. The feel-good factor is just too late to arrive, and a lot of incidents are overdone instead of keeping things realistic. There are parts of the story which were kept believable and without being preachy. The message also struggles to become the moral which it could have been. The songs are not that much making an impact, but can work depending on individual tastes, while the scenes in the village are just half-baked, and so is the attempt at the career guidance school. The story could have focused on its core, and should have brought the significance of learning one’s mother tongue, as well as letting the children following their dreams as a step by step procedure, but this one doesn’t. Even the title itself is not explored as it should have been!

Performers of the soul :: You know the person to look out for! Biju Menon has been the one cool actor whose movies are loved by the people without giving him that superstar status; it is more of the love for simple and funny moments from him which are so much memorable, and he is also one actor who never disappoints within his fortress of simple and family-based entertainment. In his most recent performances, whether it was about providing support in Madhura Naranga and Bhaiyya Bhaiyya, bringing the best of a cameo performance in Kunjiramayanam or leading the way in Vellimoonga, he was right there, strong in the comic side in all these flicks which came right before Salt Mango Tree. In this movie too, things are not much different as he manages the character with ease, and connects to the audience.

Further Performers of the soul :: Biju Menon is undoubtedly the man who saves this movie from going low, as he is in charge of all those dialogues for which the audience provided claps; he often lifts the movie out of nowhere when it gets close to spoiling its main idea with the weak story-line; this is still quite a step down from Vellimoonga for him. Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli was last seen in the Malayalam movie industry in Angels with Indrajith Sukumaran; even though she was paired with him, she was not really the leading lady on screen. She has managed her first leading role in Malayalam very well and has excelled in the emotional sequences. The rest of the cast lead by the one who played the character of assistant in the medical shop are all good, including the child actor Master Varkichan and Suhasini who comes late and makes an impact in the climax. But most of the situations focus on to our two leading characters, and the rest has less to do. Maybe a better story could have widened the focus, but the cast manages to be good.

How it finishes :: The attempt here might have been to create another comedy flick with satirical elements as we had earlier seen in the big solo hit featuring Biju Menon, Vellimoonga. Salt Mango Tree does try and only somewhat reach there. Just somewhere there in its own field, Salt Mango Tree achieves what the other movie of a similar theme Jilebi completely failed to do; to be funny with the message even though everything not coming together reaching the expectations. Taking the title from the literal translation of the food “Uppumavu” which was used by Mohanlal in the 1986 movie Doore Doore Oru Koodu Koottam, the movie should work in a weekend which has less to offer otherwise. Do not expect another Vellimoonga and things should be just okay.

Release date: 6th November 2015
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Rajesh Nair
Starring: Biju Menon, Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli, Master Varkichan, Suhasini Manirathnam, Indrans, Saiju Kurup, Sarayu, Sunil Sukhada, Sudheer Karamana, Pradeep Kottayam, Paris Laxmi

saltmangotree

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

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24 thoughts on “Salt Mango Tree

  1. Well Teny, I think Malyalam movies are good, with interesting subjects and themes… you know my parents thought english is most important and all and put me in good schools but you know what, they did not mind it if I go without knowing tamil, and all make fun of me saying my tamil is bad, when I am very much a tamil person only…. so yeah we must keep in touch with our tradition instead of all distroying the past and taking the dreamy illutionary road and idea of sucess… you know yesterday make it a day earlier than that I meet some young guys in Indian Institute Of Science, I was given lunch in their mess… the two guys na they studied in Kandada medium school one till fourth another till longer time and made it to Indian Institution Of Science(: so good to know … even I used to frown on guys who can’t speak english earlier but these days I am cool with them too(: because well it’s no big deal they never got the oppurtunities we had… but those guys spoke good english too… anyway now adays my english is bad, blame it on no english engagement, but ofcourse I still am a english snob liking the language and happy playing with it once a while(: anyway

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    • Yes, it is never really about going to the English Medium schools; it is about how hard the students try. These days there is a fixation towards the central syllabus instead of the state syllabus which removes Malayalam further – the parents think that it is a thing about the status in the society, but education should always be about everything other than status. Good students will study anywhere, and it is our right and privilege to protect our classical languages, the mother tongues against any other language because we and our culture are defined by them.
      Spoken English will develop by speaking in the language for sure.

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      • No Teny… I had people who have studied in Kanada medium and Malayalam medium have come to the cities and struggle getting a job because they are not in english communication thing, both spoken and english. English should be the first language, regional or State language can come in 2 or 3rd language. Thing is about values Teny, not about preaching. For instance you got to play with a child not teach and advice alone, do things innovatively… We all frown on those who can’t speak english true, it’s wrong but lots in the city are like that… however some of us go and teach english to those in non-english medium schools too and try to learn the local language from the kids(: … I am forever guilty because I have been in the best of the schools but not been sucessful in life, so I really think all should have equal oppurtunities for good education so we educationed people don’t feel guilty or get blamed… life is not the same as what we learn in school… more the social skills, passion, values, discipline, humananitarian spirit, and independence is what education should give and I don’t think they give us now…anyway.

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      • I have studied completely in English medium, but I have seen people who have spent most of their time in Malayalam medium speaking faster and more confident English. It is because they are not worried about getting it wrong, but we think if the usage is correct. So regular speaking is the most important thing, even though the ones who studied in English medium will have the advantage in the case of writing.
        Well, equality is forever impossible, isn’t it?

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  2. Well by being unequal, one creates a guild complex on so called privileged forks like me, which is also unfair really… I don’t know actually debate is those guys who have less do well, because they are groomed due to circumtances that way(: … as I told many of us go out and spend time with the less fortunate and train them in spoken english etc… this is how we can empower people and this is the least we can do… even for us nothing is equal… we don’t get what we deserve… so yeah nothing like fair or unfair things thesedays in life and all are equal in the eyes of the Lord or God anyway, but ofcourse the existense of the supreme entity will always be a mystery. Personel experience too, I have studied 2nd best school in India, or is it first in Delhi but because of personality and attitude or whatever reasons people who studied in Coimbatore, Salem have better written english grammer wise and well doing far bettter than me, be it dealing with life or be it handling situations, job or task… and if I ever get a kid or well something similar they will have to work their way on their way without this priviledge stuff… they have to show they deserve the facilities they get or else I will seriously leave them to fight the situation themselves, ofcourse with all the support…also they have to help the less priviledged once a while…but it is easier said than done!! … no getting seat with money etc, no doing all the work for them, no protecting them from uncomfortable situations… but will have support ofcourse… then all of us will be equal, if we do what we do usefully, not taking things for granted.

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  4. Hmm, the plot sure sounds interesting, given that its something many parents would be able to relate to today. But based on your review, I’m guessing the execution isn’t good enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A bit different than the ususals I feel. Atleast it’s far better than the rotten Hindi movie stories back n again. And the name is pretty captivating too 🙂 good match, but then yes I too sense the execution is not done proper enough (post reading ur review)

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