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Mango Souffle

Our first up close and personal look at the gay world.

Mango Souffle
Starring: Rinke Khanna, Atul Kulkarni, Ankur Vishal
Director: Mahesh Dattani
Rating: **

It claims to be a "not-so-straight movie". Mango Souffle might well be our first up close and personal look at the gay world. Based on Dattani's own play, On A Muggy Night in Mumbai, it marks another first in its unashamed celebration of the male body. It's a love triangle, not about two men loving the same woman but a brother (Ankur Vishal) and sister (Rinke) in love with the same man (Kulkarni). Mango Souffle has a slick, contemporary feel, has some witty, abrasive exchanges and a few nice, funny moments like the chase for a crucial giveaway picture. But the transition from the proscenium to the cinematic frame is not as effortless as in Let's Talk. The performances are marked by staginess and static energy. Save Rinke Khanna who is as natural as the unsure, edgy sister. Completely centred and oblivious of the camera, she becomes her character instead of playing a role. Mango Souffle does not titillate. But its dilemmas, concerns and prejudices—about masculinity and femininity, sexual mores and identity crises—are too obvious. And the end is highly moralistic and dramatic. Hopefully, Mango Souffle would be a step towards more evolved narratives on homosexuality, a sign that an Indian Strawberry and Chocolate and Kiss of a Spider Woman could just be round the corner.

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