Metro Weekly

Mango Soufflé

Reel Affirmations 2003

Review by Sean Bugg

Rating: starstarstarstar (4 out of 5)

Saturday, 10/25/2003, 4:00 PM
Feature presentation, $9 at Lincoln Theatre

Mango SouffleSECLUDING HIMSELF among the mango groves of his family farm, Kamlesh calls together a handful of his closest friends to make an announcement — he’s leaving India for Canada, unless his friends can help him erase the memory of his ex-lover, Ed. As they prepare to perform a ceremony to symbolically break off his relationship, Kamlesh’s sister Kiran arrives, bubbling over with happiness at her impending marriage to Ed.

A slight problem: She doesn’t know that her Ed is his Ed.

Mango SouffleA groundbreaking film in its native India, Mango Soufflé is an appropriately sweet and frothy comedy of sexual identities that surprisingly doesn’t lose the underlying bite of its social criticism. It opens with a despondent Kiran, who has been rejected for an arranged marriage, sending her into a spiral of depression and damaged self-worth. And as events unfold, a traditional marriage happening next door to Kamlesh’s home provides an effective counterpoint to his own family’s travails.

While the acting is uneven, the story maintains a welcome grip through skillful use of flashbacks and intercutting of plotlines to slowly reveal how this brother and sister end up loving the same man. The script’s origin on the stage is apparent — director Mahesh Dattani adapted his own play for the screen — in how precisely some scenes are choreographed, yet Dattani keeps the whole enterprise running at a smooth, quick and thoroughly enjoyable clip.

Mango Soufflé
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Sean Bugg is Editor Emeritus for Metro Weekly.