India Sweets and Spices will be added to the long list of movies in the genre following the successes of –The Namesake, Bend It Like Beckham, Meet the Patels, Salaam Bombay and Monsoon Wedding, Bhaji on the Beach, Bride and Prejudice and so on.
In all these films, whatever the plot may be, you will find each one of them carrying an imprint of being inspired by overlapping cultural experiences.
One may even call portrayal of a “visual art clash” of cultural beliefs in ways respective writers and directors deemed appropriate.
And now with Bollywood galloping its way to make gargantuan forays to shoot physical scene more and more liberally, India Sweets and Spices is a feature film you can watch with your family without flinching or feeling uneasy.
Well conceptualized story and screenplay, writer and director Geeta Malik has kept the portrayal true and within limits using some of the best talent available which make a good case for going to see the film opening in cinemas tomorrow.
India Sweets and Spices has Women’s Movements across India as its central and core issue and how it becomes character defining for Sheila Kapoor (extremely well-acted by Manisha Koirala).
The film follows Alia Kapoor (played by American Pakistani Sophia Ali) as she returns home from university where she has lived full and not to the rules observed by her family and revered in her culture.
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As a student living away from home, she drank, she had sex, and she was able to be herself. Back home she is uneasy with her reserved (read unemotional) mother’s strictness and classism while finds a communion in father Ranjit Kapoor’s (played by Adil Hussain) more laidback approach to life, who to her disgust later, turns out to be a philandering Casanova.
Her parents and their set of “classy” friends follow a regular Saturday night dinner-party tradition. Each weekend is used as an opportunity for the hosts to show off their wealth and riches to their friends with —more food, more help staff, more elaborate and somewhat decadent outfits, more lavish interiors.
One day Alia ventures into the local Indian grocery store and meets Varun (played Rish Shah). She invites them to the party at her house.
Varun’s mother Bhairavi happens to be Sheila’s old college mate who Sheila refuses to acknowledge.
Sheila does this to hide her past.
That stirs Alia up and the story takes off. How Alia discovers what her mother had been hiding from her for years forms the basis for the movie climax.
Some may feel the film resembles many others in the genre in temperament but if you like good camera work and direction and above all brilliant histrionic skills – go and see it for Deepti Gupta and Manisha Koirala’s work. Fabulous work.