On location Friday Review

Family matters

Lakshmi Chandramouli and Master Varkichan in a still from Salt Mango Tree directed by Rajesh Nair

Lakshmi Chandramouli and Master Varkichan in a still from Salt Mango Tree directed by Rajesh Nair

The apartment is abuzz as the crew prepares for a shot. Although evening has not yet set in, natural light is fading. Lights are being arranged as director Rajesh Nair supervises the arrangements.

Nandini Garden, an apartment cluster in the capital city, is the location for Rajesh’s new movie Salt Mango Tree . As is the trend now, right at the outset Rajesh says: “I can’t reveal anything about the storyline. It is a light-hearted, feel-good movie about a family, that of Aravindan T. P. (Biju), his wife Priya (Tamil actress Lakshmi Chandramouli) and their five-year-old son, Manu (Varkichan).”

In fact, all on the set are tight-lipped about the story line. The shot to be canned has Aravindan, Priya and Manu coming into the apartment after an outing. As the shot is being readied, Biju relaxes in his caravan, unwilling to be snapped with his ‘look’ for the film. “The movie talks about what happens in the life of a middle class family. I haven’t done such a lead role before. It is about the struggle of a couple to give the best for their son. It happens in all families and the subject is tackled in a humorous manner,” says Biju.

Lakshmi, a theatre artiste and a familiar name in the Tamil film industry, is happy to have got a lead role in Malayalam. “I love Malayalam films for the content. I got the role because the director was looking for an actress with a particular look. I am playing a mother for the first time and the experience has been wonderful,” says Lakshmi.

Meanwhile, Varkichan, who is making his acting debut, appears to be a favourite on the set. “He has a full-length role. He was among the 200 or so kids who had come for the audition,” says Rajesh.

Rajesh says that it was a unanimous choice to opt for the rather unusual title. “We wanted a title that complemented the theme of the movie. Roshan (one of the producers) suggested that it should be something like ‘Salt Mango Tree’ (remember the scene in Doore Doore Oru Koodu Koottam in which Mohanlal translates ‘Uppumavu’ as ‘Salt Mango Tree’ for his students?). Then I thought, why not we go with ‘Salt Mango Tree’ itself,” says Rajesh.

Also in the cast are Suhasini, Indrans, Sarayu, and Sudheer Karamana. The story is by Vinod and Vinod (Vinod Vijayakumar and Vinod Jayakumaran) and the film is produced by Roshan Chittoor, Abheesh V. P. and Shajoon Karyal.

Music is by debutant Hesham Abdul Wahab and Vishnu Sharma is the cinematographer. Stills are by Girisankar.

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Printable version | Jul 4, 2022 10:28:05 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/from-the-location-of-rajesh-nairs-biju-menonstarrer-salt-mango-tree/article7658845.ece