Mississippi Masala

(Mira Nair, USA, 1992)


Mississippi Masala is the kind of film that people tend to like, for a week or two, for all the wrong reasons – not because it is really a good or interesting movie, but because it displays a worthy content.

Mira Nair's film, written by Sooni Taraporevala, is a romantic comedy of multicultural life in America; specifically, about the interaction of Indian migrants and Afro-Americans. Sarita Choudhury and Denzel Washington play the star-crossed lovers.

Multicultural comedies of this sort by now constitute their own little genre, and Nair dutifully trots out most of its commonplaces: the charming paradoxes of vastly different lifestyles unfussily adapting to each other; the lure of traditionalism, and the nostalgia for homelands; the rejection of parental ways by the permissive, rebellious young.

The film, insipidly directed, offers little that is inspiring until it leaves the main storyline for an unexpectedly moving finale focusing on Roshan Seth as Choudhury's father.

MORE Nair: Kama Sutra, Monsoon Wedding, Vanity Fair

© Adrian Martin March 1994

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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