Police checkpoint scenes are a staple in movies about refugees. These scenes are always tense and always include the humiliation and harassment of the characters in their final dash for freedom. Mississippi Masala — his second of three collaborations with director Milanaia and screenwriter Sunitara Polevala — Sharmila Tagore’s character is banished by order of Idi Amin with her husband and young daughter I have to endure similar obscenities while fleeing my native Uganda.
Combining politics, romance, and, strange as it may seem, Mississippi Masala’s themes of generational trauma, family conflict, and cultural clashes, it has become a staple of Nair’s films.
Watching the film in 2022 — like Criterion’s vivid restoration — feels both urgent and surprisingly laid-back. For example, the scene in which Tagore’s character Kinnu is separated from her family and humiliated by enemy soldiers on the side of the road is perhaps as tense as the film. And this happens first. Other than that it’s pretty relaxing.
Exiled from his country, Jay (Roshan Seth) moves to rural Mississippi with Kinu and his daughter Mina. England), they set up a motel. On a trip across the American South, Nair discovered that the majority of such businesses in the region were for some reason run by South Asians. Most of them in search of a better life. Some came to America, like Jay and his family, who were refugees from Uganda.
Mississippi Masala cast newcomer and rebellious Sarita Chaudhary, who brings a rawness to her performance as Mina in contrast to her recent Oscar winner. Denzel Washingtonas the carpet cleaner Demetrius, had already shown signs of the charismatic intensity that would become a marker of his stardom.
Ostensibly an interracial love story in the twenties, Mississippi Masala quickly turns into a serious anti-war drama as the focus shifts from Mina and Demetrius to hometown-craving father Jay in virtually every scene. increase.
Over the course of the film, Jay returns to “home” and writes numerous letters to the authorities, demanding compensation for stolen land and rehabilitation without loss of dignity. It was a sad, almost pathetic ritual that reminded me of a letter that college professor Shiv Kumar Dar wrote to the President of the United States in a very similar film by Vidhu Vinod Chopra. shikara.
That film dealt with displacement in a different way, with both Shiv and his wife, Shanti, feeling a similar sense of devotion to their homeland. But in Mississippi Masala (a film told from the perspective of a young Mina), only Jay feels attached to his country of birth. Mina, on the other hand, is caught between cultures, forced to juggle her Indian parents and Ugandan roots as well as being raised in America. It’s probably more uncomfortable when you’re in the throes of passion.
Among other things, you may remember Nadia from Indian Matchmaking briefly speaking about the oddities of being a Guyanese Indian in America. Vice President of the United States Kamala HarrisMeanwhile, she also talks about her shared Indian and Jamaican heritage.
The underlying earnestness of Mina and Demetrius’ romance comes from the realization that both African Indian communities and American African communities are descendants of contract workers and slaves. In a heated exchange towards the end of the film, after both the Indian and black communities disapproved of their union, Demetrius told Mina’s father that they were both outsiders. But the politics of oppression will always punish black people more. “I know you and your daughter aren’t the tiniest shade from here.
They are in the same metaphorical ship, centuries after their ancestors were transported to a strange new land in physical lands.
Nair was considered a hot commodity in Hollywood after her debut film Salaam Bombay. — as it was then named, becoming the second Indian feature to be nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film category. She was romantically courted by studios to make her comedy, and after a few years she turned down her offer to direct a Harry Potter movie. For better or worse, her career has played out on her own terms. In her impersonal 2009 Amelia Earhart biopic starring Hilary Swank and Richard Gere, I could sense the only indication that she had ever compromised on her morals. If anything, her instincts were always right. Amelia is still her biggest bombshell and least favorite movie.
Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of last year’s West Side Story reminded audiences of how important it is to oppose the otherification of minorities. It shows a positive rise and is no longer confined to the periphery as it should be, broke into the mainstreamLike West Side Story, Mississippi Masala Romeo and Juliet retellingand at a time when Indians around the world are once again devoting troubling levels of energy to protesting interfaith love (and villainizing the marginalized), this film is necessary and ultimately serves as a somewhat idealistic reminder that love wins.
Post Credits Scene is a column that breaks down new releases each week with a particular focus on context, crafting and characters. Because once the dust settles, you always stick to something.
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