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The Mistress of Spices 2005
Description: Tilo, the titular "Mistresses of Spices" is a shopkeeper and an immigrant from India who supports customers satisfy their needs and desires with spices. Her life changes when she falls in love with an American man.
Released: 21 Apr 2006 Director: Paul Mayeda Berges Writers: Gurinder Chadha (screenplay), Paul Mayeda Berges (screenplay), Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (novel) Actors: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Dylan McDermott, Nitin Ganatra, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje Genres: Drama, Romance
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The Mistress of Spices Reviews:

I saw this movie at the 2005 Toronto International Movie Festival.Mistress of Spices is based on the novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, and is the directorial debut for Paul Mayeda Berges. Berges has worked previously with his wife, Gurinder Chadha, on a number of movies including Bend it Like Beckham and Bride and Prejudice. Chadha co-wrote the screenplay here with her husband.The film follows Tilo, played by Aishwarya Rai, who is a member of an old, mystical cult that worships spice in all its forms. She is sent to Oakland to launch a store and support folks using the mysterious powers of the spices. Tilo, who also has the power to see visions of the future, later ends up supporting a entire coterie of characters: a boy (Anupam Kher) who is distressed over his granddaughter (Padma Lakshmi), a girl who has grown up in America and adopted western ways, much to his dismay; Jagjit (Sonny Gill Dulay), a teenager who is having problem with the children at school; Haroun (Nitin Chandra Ganatra), a cab driver that has a cloudy future; Kwesi (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), a boy trying to victory the heart of a woman.But to be successful, Tilo gotta follow three rules: one, she gotta never leave the store; two, she gotta never touch the skin of other person; three, she can never test the spices for her own gain. One day a boy (Dylan McDermott) falls off his motorcycle outside her shop and they are both immediately drawn to one another, challenging Tilo's devotion to her cause and threatening her control over the spices.This is a nice, light film, reminiscent in many methods of Chocolat, with Aishwarya Rai in the Juliette Binoche role. Rai is luminous on screen, and the chemistry between her and Dylan McDermott is good. I didn't think the voice-over narration of Rai's character's inner thoughts was entirely successful, although I can't see how else you should really do it; funny enough, the voice-overs reminded me of other spice-related movie, David Lynch's Dune. The film explores a bit of the mixing between east and west and the conflict between old and new, but not quite as successfully as some of Berges' and Chadha's another films, but that is probably due more to the limitations of creating an adaptation.


In India, Tilo (Aishwarya Rai) has the ability of foreseeing the future. When their parents are killed by bandits, she is kidnapped but escapes and is raised by the First Mother (Zohra Segal) in a sort of traditional cult of spices. She becomes the Mistress of Spices and is sent to the Spice Bazaar in San Francisco, with the point of following three primary rules: support her clients to accomplish their desires with the spices, but never hers; never leave the store; and never be touched in the skin. When she meets the handsome American architect Doug (Dylan McDermott), she feels a nice attraction and desire for him, breaking the first rule and being punished by the spices."The Mistress of Spices" is a predictable but pleasant movie that uses the concept of films like "Chocolate", "Woman on Top", "Como Agua Para Chocolate" blending romance with meal or spice or chocolate or cookies. Therefore, the flawed storyline has no originality and is quite boring and messy in many moments. However, the cinematography is wonderful, with superb colors highlighted on DVD. Further, the superb Miss Globe 1994 and Queen of Bollywood Aishwarya Rai makes this tiny movie worth with her beauty and participating in most of the scenes. My vote is six.Title (Brazil): "O Sabor da Magia" ("The Flavor of Magic")


I had almost decided not to watch this movie, what with all the folks word-bashing its senselessness. But go I did... fortunately.Yes, it's not nice cinema... of nice courage, making you cry... making you angry. But it is nice cinema... and a faithful representation of the book. The ebook is a fairy-tale, easy to the core, and so is the movie.And who tells Aish cannot act? Just look at the finer nuances of her eyes and eyebrows when she is needed to emote, and you will realize that this woman knows what it takes to enact a hero which has already been "written about" in a book. Yes, she underplays the role... but that is what her hero is, right? A girl who is poised, but sometimes the deepest feelings search their vent. I am surely impressed by Aish's restrained expression of feelings... and folks who mistake this for an incapacity to act, God give them the subtleties of discernment.Go watch this movie... not to come out exhilarated or flustered... but to play a nice fairy tale, for that's what it is.



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