Experiencing Interruptions?

Mango Dreams

A Hindu doctor with dementia and a Muslim auto rickshaw driver form an unlikely friendship as they journey a thousand miles across India in a rickshaw.

As a child, Dr. Amit Singh (Ram Gopal Bajaj) survived the British partition of India. Since then, he has been running forward his whole life, running from the horrors of his past - his family murdered by Muslims and the personal guilt he feels for the death of his brother. Now, with the onset of dementia, Amit must return to his childhood home and confront the memories he has been trying to forget before dementia robs him of his last chance for peace. But, Amit’s son Abhi (Samir Kochhar) has come from America to commit his father to an old age home. Amit runs away and encounters Salim (Pankaj Tripathi), Salim is a Muslim auto rickshaw driver whose wife was raped and burned to death by Hindu rioters. Amit had earlier saved the life of Salim’s son. Salim offers to drive the doctor anywhere, as a way of repaying his debt. When Amit asks to to be taken home, Salim cannot imagine how far he will end up going for the the doctor, or where the journey will lead both of them. Along the way, Amit and Salim forge an unforgettable friendship and help each other discover the peace they both have been longing for.

  • John Upchurch
  • Mazahir Rahim
  • Hamza Rahim
  • John Upchurch
  • John Upchurch
  • Mazahir Rahim
  • Ram Gopal Bajaj
    Key Cast
  • Pankaj Tripathi
    Key Cast
  • Samir Kochhar
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 33 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    February 13, 2016
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • 2016 Arizona International Film Festival
    United States
    April 23, 2016
    Special Jury Award for Bridging Cultures
  • 2016 Cebu International Film Festival
    August 23, 2016
    Asia Premiere
    Humanity Award
Director Biography - John Upchurch

Although Mango Dreams is my first feature film, I have been working at being a storyteller my whole life. I was born and raised in rural America, a farming town in North Carolina. Growing up, the best entertainment could always be found at the feet of local storytellers -- my grandparents, the farmers at the hardware store, my barber, etc. I love how their stories sparked my imagination, opened my mind to new ideas, and encouraged me to care about the world around me. I grew up wanting to touch people the same way the storytellers of my childhood touched me. I started out by passing down their stories to others. Eventually, I began to create my own stories. I learned early that a good story does more than entertain. A good story provokes thought between laughter, promotes healing between tears, transmits a message of hope -- a good story enlightens as it entertains. The greatest thing I can ever hope to do in this life is tell a good story.

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Director Statement

Arbitrary lines should not divide us. We should focus on building bridges, not walls.

Commercial Indian Cinema often attempts to address the tensions between India and Pakistan (Hindus and Muslims) in the context of either a romantic relationship or a sports rivalry. I'm a big fan of Indian Cinema. After so many years of watching Hindi films, I’m struck by the number of films featuring a love affair between an Indian boy (Hindu) and a Pakistani girl (Muslim). These films can be very satisfying as romances, but I have always thought the star-crossed lovers archetype is not the best backdrop for bridging cultural and religious differences. I feel a better storyline is one that treats the sides equally, with no implied dominance of one over the other. This was the seed that eventually grew into Mango Dreams, and the frame for the final climax of the film.