Direction: Salim Ahamed
Cast: Mammootty, Jewel Mary, Siddique, Sreenivasan, Salim Kumar, Shaheen Siddique, Viji Chandrasekhar and Joy Mathew.
Plot premise:The plot features the life of Pallikkal Narayanan who migrated to the Middle-East during his teenage years in the early 1980s, when the Kerala Gulf boom was at its peak. He belongs to a very poor family and was forced to take up the responsibilities at a young age. He plans to leave Gulf and settle in his hometown when he comes for every vacation; but is always forced to go back.
Even adventure enthusiasts would think twice before crossing the Arabian Sea on a dhow without ample gadgets. 50 years ago, desperately poor Malayalees with no hope, little skills and a growling belly, hung on to the billowing sails that took them to an unknown land of plenty. The newly gushing oil wells of the Persian Gulf were beckoning cheap labour in the mid-1960s.
The first generation of migrant Malayalee workers who ended up in the deserts of West Asia knew not where they were headed for. They only knew their Dravidian tongue, the virgin paddy fields, the bountiful rivers and the sound of the never-ending rain, but soon they were all Malayalees of Arabia, turning their desert dreams into mansions back home, building a new Kerala.
Pathemari” or “the dhow” recreate the journey of a young, desperate Malayalee from the Kerala coast to the Gulf in an old cargo vessel. Malayalees’ Mega Star’ Mammooty, play the role of the carpetbagger. Interestingly, 35 years ago, Mammooty had played a small role in Vilkkanundu Swapnangal(1980) the first Malayalam movie on the Gulf migration. Mammootty’s voice was dubbed by Sreenivasan.
Every Keralite has at least one friend or relative who is struggling to support his/her family by working tirelessly in Dubai. Pathamari” is about such struggling Malayalis in Dubai. As it is a familiar story for many of us, there is no suspense element in it, but we still sit firmly on our seats just to see what happens next.
The way the movie ends is also quite nice and this adds to the overall good when Narayanan’s coffin is brought in, his best friend proposes that it be kept on the verandah of the new house that was being built, that had been the man’s dream. When his sons think otherwise, Narayanan leaves home once again, never to return.
SALT MANGO TREE: 3.5/5
SALT (chemistry):The story is not new, but the way it has been presented along with the right casting makes it a must watch. Hats off to director Salim Ahamed for bringing such a real life story to reel life, helping many realise the struggles of each and every pravasi
MANGO (what’s fresh?): Refreshing to see Sreenivasan in a role that tells a tale or two of its own.
TREE (strength): After critically praised C.K. Raghavan in Munnariyippu(2014) & the disturbingly real Venu in Varsham(2014). Mammooty’s Pallikkal Narayanan is yet one more of his most hard-hitting performances during recent times, it is a treat to watch the hero, who portrays the character in a dedicated manner.
- Courtesy : various sources