: Fahadh's Pallickal is not your regular hero, he is affable and often docile. The director also doesn't resort to any sort of gimmick to bring out his heroism, but rather lets his passive personality shine.
Set in the suburbs of New Orleans, Monsoon Mangoes showcases a different visual experience from what the Malayali audience is accustomed to. Director Abi Varghese, the creator of sitcom Akkara Kazhchakal, makes that point clear right from its first few scenes which depict a black-and-white short film canned by its protagonist and US Malayali youth D P Pallickal (Fahadh Fazil).
The movie, set in the late 90s, centres on Pallickal and his quest to make his first Malayalam movie. The youth's passion is often overlooked and scoffed at by his parents and friends. To make his dream come true, albeit on a shoe-string budget, Pallickal ropes in a washed-up Bollywood actor Prem Kumar (Vijay Raaz). The struggles that ensue and whether or not he manages to achieve the feat, completes the plot.
Monsoon Mangoes has a warmth to it, courtesy the varied colour tones and small settings. It doesn't have any of those bright, loud visuals that the Malayali audience are so used to, which could perhaps be the reason why the audience wouldn't immediately connect to the story.
Fahadh's portrayal of a driven, but confused, aspiring filmmaker is bang on target. The actor continues to impress with his subtle humour and expressions. Fahadh's Pallickal is not your regular hero, he is affable and often docile. The director also doesn't resort to any sort of gimmick to bring out his heroism, but rather lets his passive personality shine.
Vijay Raaz gets to show off his range, especially in the movie within the movie when his character is asked to portray different emotions. Nandu, who plays Pallickal's dad, and Vinay Forrt, who heads Pallickal's production crew, have done a commendable job.
Monsoon Mangoes also has a lot of witty moments minus crass or slapstick comedy. The challenges that spring up on the first day of an amateur crew's shoot and the scenes where the director and actor argue after ending up in jail, spread genuine cheer.
The script, though, lacks depth for a full-length feature film and the characters, even the leading two, are not fleshed out. The first half is slow but the movie picks up pace in the latter half.
A massive contribution to the film is its music, ably executed by Jakes Bejoy. All the songs have been brilliantly used to tell the story and the score, especially towards the climax, is nothing short of soul-stirring.
The film is not for those who seek laugh-out-loud comedy or strong storylines. But if it's a simple, breezy tale about a young man and his dreams that you want, then Monsoon Mangoes is as juicy as it gets.