Mississippi Masala (1991)
Mississippi Masala is a tale of how prejudice makes victims and instigators of us all. In 1972, Indian Jay (Roshan Seth), a resident of Uganda, is forced by the bigoted Amin regime to take his family and flee the country. He vows to hate and distrust all blacks--at least until he is able to reclaim the real estate stolen from him by the Ugandan government. Flash-forward to 1990: Jay and his family have settled in Mississippi. Seth's daughter Mina (Sarit Choudhury) makes the acquaintance of African-American Demetrius (Denzel Washington), the prosperous manager of a carpet-cleaning business. At first attracted to Mina because he is fascinated by her African background, Demetrius slowly falls in love with her. The situation causes Jay to exercise the same racial prejudice by which he was himself victimized. Ironically, Demetrius behaves just as foolishly, blaming Jay's ethnic chauvinism for a drop in his business. Both Jay and Demetrius must learn to bury their pasts and their prejudices to go on with their lives. … More
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Critic Reviews for Mississippi Masala
It may be longwinded here and there, but Mississippi Masala jumps with life.
An utterly infectious romance between an African American and an Indian African emigre, this seductively funny film measures the pull of roots against the tug of heartstrings.
Unlike Lee's Jungle Fever, which also deals with interracial romance, Nair's film is non-judgmental, taking neither moral ground nor faulting any group. Released when national boundaries were crumbling it was a poignant work about the meaning of home.
Washington and Choudhury definitely make for an attractive ethnic couple in Nair's cross-cultural love story. However, this staid romancer doesn't escape the distinction of its conventional makeup.
Challenges us to add more respect and tolerance to America's cultural stew of many colors.
Zesty, spicy, sexy!
Nair and her screenwriter, Sooni Taraporevala, sometimes lose their focus trying to juggle half a dozen subplots. But it's nice to see a movie with a broad reach.
Audience Reviews for Mississippi Masala
Very Romeo and Juilet like love story seeped in cultural differences and misconceptions. Great film. Mira Nair is fantastic.More
The merging of cultures makes for an enchanting love story that gets waylaid by issues of race and color in a believable way. Mina (Sarita Choudhury) is the daughter of an Indian family who fled Uganda for Mississippi. She develops a relationship with Demetrius (Denzel Washington), a local man. Her family does not approve of her dating a black man, and Demetrius' friends don't like him dating an Indian woman. Lighter-skinned than the blacks, the Indians abhor the notion of interracial romance. The love affair between these two draws out the anger of their two communities and the whites in town. Nobody, it seems, approves of this unusual mix or as the film title implies, this Mississippi Masala.
Denzel Washington is an actor of immense and natural charm, and he makes a good match with Sarita Choudhury.
There is too much going on in this movie. It is really a masala of three movies. A story about leaving Uganda, a love story, and a story about living in the south. Any one of these stories would have been enough for a movie. But it is still heartwarming and funny. Beautiful shots of Mississippi.More
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