Resources // Blog

“Mississippi Masala” by Mira Nair

--Staff Picks

Mississippi Masala

Mira Nair
Published: 1991
Age Range: Rated R
Genre: romantic drama

Jay and Kinnu are a Ugandan couple of Indian descent living happily in Kampala with their daughter, Mina. In 1972, amid anti-Indian sentiment, Idi Amin orders all Indians out of the country, giving them 90 days to leave. Heartbroken, Jay, Kinnu, and Mina travel to England, and ultimately, a small town in Mississippi. Now present day (1991), Mina (Sarita Choudhury) is a young woman dutifully working at her relatives’ motel while her parents run a liquor store. She meets and falls in love with Demetrius (Denzel Washington), an African American man who has his own carpet-cleaning business. Though she meets and gets along with his family, she keeps Demetrius a secret from hers, knowing they will disapprove. When their relationship comes to light, both Black and Indian (and white) members of the community have a real problem with it, and poo hits the fan.

“Mississippi Masala” (1991) is a summer-tinged, sensuous treat of a movie exploring racial tensions between two cultures. In this way, it reminds me of Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” (1989). Both movies are smart, humorous in their exploration of complex social dynamics, have great soundtracks and excellent cinematography and settings. Sarita Choudhury and Denzel Washington are fantastic, as is the rest of the cast.

Run Time: 118 minutes.

Don’t MISS-issippi this flick—place a hold here.