Pankaja reviews John Upchurch’s film about a Sikh and a Muslim on a journey in a rickshaw.
Mazahir Rahim (writer) and Hamza Rahim (screenplay), starring Ram Gopal Bajaj, Pankaj Tripathy, Sameer Kochhar.
Mango Dreams is the story of a widowed doctor who has been running away all his life from the horrors of his childhood, where he lost his entire family during the partition of India and Pakistan. His son comes over from America for a short visit, and realising that his father is suffering from dementia decides to put him in a nursing home. But the old doctor is having none of it, he walks off on his own to return to his place of birth and visit the places which hold both happy and nightmare memories. Picked up by a Muslim rickshaw driver whose wife was also killed, the pair go on a heart warming road trip across much of north India – and find healing in their unlikely friendship.
The film is hilarious as well as touching; Pankaj Tripathi as the rickshaw driver is such a familiar figure to those of us who have spent many hours in rickshaws that I just wanted to hug him – he has been nominated for best supporting actor and is absolutely wonderful. The interplay between the two characters is very funny; when the rickshaw driver shouts, ‘It’s 500 kilometres – my rickshaw can’t …’ the old doctor, played by Ram Gopal Bajaj – who has been nominated for best actor – in his single minded innocence just starts to walk off down the road!
What to do? The rickshaw driver follows the old guy and picks him up, complaining all the while…offended when the doctor doesn’t want to wait while he prays by the side of the road…shaking his head and shrugging his shoulders when the old man throws out the roof of the rickshaw because it makes him feel claustrophobic (I totally agree there!)…very pleased with the new shirt the doctor buys him at a posh hotel – paid for with – er – the son’s credit card.
Tracked down at last the doctor refuses a lift in his car, refuses to go and live with his son in America, and the unlikely caravan ends up at the border with Pakistan. The old man’s birthplace is just on the other side.
What is amazing is that this film was directed by John Upchurch, a young American from North Carolina who found his producer and writer Mazahir Rahim through connections from his local Indian restaurant! His wife is Indian, and her stories must have inspired him tackle this subject, and he’s done an amazing job – especially since he had never directed a feature film before.
Mango Dreams needs distribution in India and everywhere else…it’s more easily accessible to a non-Indian audience than that charming movie The Lunch Box, so I do hope it does as well.
Review by Pankaja for Osho News