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The best romance movie ever made!
Perhaps Mr. Washington underperformed here. It certainly feels slightly empty, this film.
Good movie! Well, anything with Denzel in it is good!
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
Mira Nair, highly overrated director.
Monday, September 9, 2013
(1991) Mississippi Masala
ROMANTIC DRAMA/ POLITICAL
Directed by Mira Nair a movie made after her critically acclaimed "Salaam Bombay!" which part of the storyline is based on fact centering on East Indians who used to live in Africa but were forced to leave during the early 1970's. The movie then jumps to the 1990's in Mississippi focusing on a particular East Indian family, the father Jay(Roshan Seth), the mother Kinnu (Sharmila Tagore) and their only daughter Meena (Sarita Choudhury) who has since then grown up and is old enough to marry, but still remembers the final days before she left Africa which was shown during the first 5 minutes. One day as Meena's delivering milk for a traditional East Indian wedding, she ends up crashing the car she was driving behind a 'carpet cleaning service' van driven by a young African American, Demetrius Williams (Denzel Washington). I still have to point out his race even though Washington's a household name since the movie is about his race. And the other thing I also want to mention is that I remembered the movie that had won the 'Best Picture' Oscar called "Crash" which I think the Don Cheadle character remarks that their is a lack of communication between other races and that it would require a simple car crash to start a conversation. In this case it's African Americans hang around with African Americans and East Indians only hang around with East Indians. Because it's Meena who caused the accident the other East Indians wanted to avoid as much litigation as much as they can so they suck up to Demetrius by granting him lots of work since the car she was driving belonged to the person who owns the motel. After the wedding, the mother wanted their daughter Meena to build a rapport with a young East Indian man, and he drives her to a club where Demetrius happens to hang out. It is during this dance club that she begins to build a rapport with Demetrius. And that was when we get to know why the movie was called "Mississippi Masala". "Mississippi" happens to be the city when as a child she moved to from Africa, and Masala is the name she was given when she was living there.
What's great about this film is that none of the characters have been dumbed down whereas we get to see genuine points of view from both sides about why East Indians marry East Indians and why some African Americans would be against this kind of interracial relationship too. Interracial relationships can cause friction and this happens to be one of them. And this love story set up is just the tip of the iceberg since it also deals with many other cultural issues and they're revealed with such understanding that theirs no real right and wrong. The other thing I liked is that I'm a little tired seeing many misunderstood stereotypical African American movie characters where they're always breaking the law and doing many bad things. Here is one movie where it showed a hard working typical African American family as regular citizens doing regular things other people can relate about such as eating meals together as a family, and the Washington character living and caring for his father which is similar to what people can see in Asian families but untypical to see this happen in the US. I know many already grown up children who continue to live with their parents since they can save them 'time and money' and hard aches from looking for babysitters looking after their children as well as to do their washing and cleaning while the parents are working.
And because "Salaam Bombay" doesn't really have a solid ending nor does it really need one, it sort of continues to be shown here too even though "Mississippi Masala" deserves it, we can still appreciate what we're able to get from watching it.
3 out of 4 stars
Uncommonly perceptive about the complexities of brown/black courtship, which I honestly have never even seen in another film. Mira Nair, as usual, directs with sensual flair and perhaps if anything, is overgenerous is providing not only a mature romance with discussion of race issues, an immigrant story, and practically enough material to make a totally different prequel about the political history of Uganda.
And if I'm making it sound all too academic, did I mention in between her usual cross-cultural examination, Nair somehow got Denzel Washington to do a sexy shirtless scene?
Funny, romantic and fresh, with some powerful things to say about racism (in its own subtle way).
One of Denzel Washington's first movie. Small town hick meets immigrant from Uganda and falls in love.
Only worth watching for Denzel