Coming from writer/director Geeta Malik and Bleecker Street is the story of going home to INDIA SWEETS AND SPICES.
Ending the school year Alia Kapur (Sophia Ali) is dreading going home to her Indian family. Not home five minutes before dad Ranjit (Adil Jussain) suggests she help at his clinic and mom Sheila (Manisha Koirala) tells her it would be rude not to go to a family gathering. The only one she really wants to see is bestie Neha (Anita Kalathara). Going around the room serving samosas, she gets a peak back into the home gossip.
The next day mom Sheila sends Alia to the store and there she meets Varun (Rish Shah) who are the new owners of the grocery story. Mom wonders why she would do that and now her nerves on edge. The night of the party, Varun and his family arrive, and they feel a tad out of place. What makes it more interesting is that Varun’s mother Bhairavi (Deepti Gupta) went to college with Sheila.
Immediately they are all uncomfortable but there is obviously a story between Sheila and Bhairavi. The other aunties cuddle up to her to get any information they can about the situation. Rahul (Ved Sapru), Vahru and Alia watch the adults dancing but its what they see at the top of the stairs that is not worth dancing about.
Alia can not seem to get past it, Rahul wants to act like nothing is happening and Vahru just wants to be supportive as much as he can. Each gathering brings the secret out more and more because the Aunties can not stop talking about it!
Ali as Alia is a young woman who has a life off at college but when the real-world hits back home, she must learn about the past in order to understand.
Koirala as Sheila is a woman who has gone in the opposite direction of the life she once knew. There is so much in her past that is now coming out and she continues to act as if she is embarrassed. Koirala is beautiful in playing the role of a woman who comes from a difficult culture. Gupta as Bhairavi is a woman who has stayed to true to herself. Imagine her surprise at seeing Sheila again and the second surprise at seeing her be someone completely different.
Shah as Varun is a young man who helps his parents with their store and is ready to go to university himself. There is an attraction between he and Aila that is lovely as they learn there is more to their parents than they could have imagined.
Jussain as Ranjit is a bit of a narcissist and does not seem to understand why his family is having difficulty. He is the cause and does nothing to fix it. Sapru as Rahul also does not seem to want to deal with the issue. He plays the game just as good as the others in the community.
Other cast include Christina Burdette as Mindy, Kamran Shaikh as Kamlesh as Dutta, Richa Chandra as Swati, Thomas Kasp as Sterling, Moses Das as Nitin Varma, Raj Kala as Gurvinder Singh, Krishna War as Shilpa, Ashritha Kancharla as Reema and Rupal Pujara as Bina.
Bleecker Street is a New York City film company that has brought outstanding films to the public. Their library includes TRUMBO, DENIAL, THE LOST CITY OF Z, BEIRUT, HOTEL MUMBAI, ORDINARY LOVE and THE ROADS NOT TAKEN. For more information on the titles from Bleeker Street please visit www.bleeckerstreetmedia.com.
INDIA SWEETS AND SPICES is a story of family and the pasts that parents have that their children have no clue about. It is also a story about the culture Aila and Varun’s family, but they are not so different than our own. We all have our shortcomings and images that we do not realize until too late that it has a ripple effect.
The story of each of these main characters are presented because it is time for the past to be forgiven, the present to be celebrated and the future to be whatever it will be. In the mix are the rich traditions of the Indian community filled with food, aunties and everything that comes with it. I love that about this film.
In the end – let the aunties talk!