Mississippi Masala (1991) - Rotten Tomatoes

Mississippi Masala (1991)

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Movie Info

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.
Rating:
R (adult situations/language, nudity)
Genre:
Art House & International , Comedy , Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Cast

Denzel Washington
as Demetrius Williams
Joe Seneca
as Williben
Mohan Gokhale
as Pontiac
Mohan Agashe
as Kanti Napkin
Tico Wells
as Dexter
Yvette Hawkins
as Aunt Rose
Anjan Srivastava
as Jammubhai
Dipti Suthar
as Chanda
Varsha Thaker
as Kusumben
Ashok Lath
as Harry Patel
Natalie Oliver
as Alicia LeShay
Karen Pinkston
as Mrs. Morgan
Willy Cobbs
as Skillet
Mira Nair
as 1st Gossip
Rajika Puri
as 2nd Gossip
Rick Senn
as Piggly Wiggly Checker
Jim Haffey
as White Truck Driver
Dillon Rozell Gross
as Police Officer
E.W. Colvin
as Grandcraw
Joyce Murrah
as Lady at Lusco's
Kevin McNeil
as Clarence
Mahlon Bouldin
as Student
Buddy St Amant
as Biloxi Cop
James Dale
as Businessman
Ben Burford
as Bank Manager
Sam Sherrill
as Phinias T. Turnbull
Sadie Carr
as Mildre
Richard Crick
as White Customer
Shung Moo-joo
as Chinese Customer
Jaimini Thaker
as Kanti Bhai
Hollis Pippin
as Sylvester Artiste III
Dewey Buffington
as Evangelist
Tony McGhee
as 1st Rapper
J.D. Barrett
as 2nd Rapper
Tre'demont Spearman
as 3rd Rapper
Argentina Moore
as 4th Rapper
Nora Boland
as 1st Shop-at-Home Anchor Person
Patsy Garrett
as 2nd Shop-at-Home Anchor Person
Sahira Nair
as Young Mina
Michael Wawuyo
as Soldier on Bus
Phavin Parbario
as Young Jay
Emanuel Mudara
as Young Okelo
Immaculate Byakatonda
as Okelo's Mother
Amrit Panesar
as Mrs. Bedi
Jimmy Din
as Bharat
Sammy E.D. Senkumba
as Taxi Driver
Mayambala Ssekasi
as Prison Captain
Joseph Olita
as Idi Amin
Muteta Wilberforce
as Soldier at Roadblock
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Mississippi Masala

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (5)

It may be longwinded here and there, but Mississippi Masala jumps with life.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Surprisingly funny and cheerful at times.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | October 4, 2006
EmanuelLevy.Com

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.

May 28, 2003
TheWorldJournal.com

Challenges us to add more respect and tolerance to America's cultural stew of many colors.

Full Review… | August 29, 2002
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for Mississippi Masala

½

With a heartfelt charm and a boasting and bashful Denzel clicking with an up-&-coming Sarita, Mississippi Masala shadows its flaws by accentuating exotic vibes and solid storytelling. Director Mira Nair's solemn yet enriched direction is highlighting throughout this indie film. 3.5/5

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer

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.

Juli Ryan
Juli Ryan

Super Reviewer

½

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.

Deb S
Deb S

Super Reviewer

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