Tag: movie review

Movie Review: ‘India Sweets and Spices’ exposing secrets and lies

Still from India Sweets and Spices showing two young women in traditional Indian dress at a cocktail party

Alia (Ali) is a smart, fun, and sassy college student on her way home from her cross-country campus for the summer. Once back in New Jersey, she’s quickly swept (against her will) into the petty, snobby ways of her wealthy family and their wealthy friends in their leafy, green upper-middle-class suburb.

You know the type of place I mean. Where it’s so beautiful, so well-manicured and oh-so perfect on the outside… but it’s all so mind-numbingly dull. To relieve their endless boredom, every weekend, Alia’s parents Ranjit (Hussain) and Sheila (Koirala) and their friends take turns hosting swish evenings where they eat, drink, and preen.

Eventually, it’s her parents’ turn to host the following weekend, so Alia offers to shop for them. At the Indian grocery store, she meets the store’s new owners, including their handsome son, Varun (Shah). In a ply to get to know Varun better, Alia goes out on a limb, inviting Varun and his family to her parent’s party.

What could possibly go wrong, right? Wrong.

Over the course of the evening, some of Alia’s family’s most deeply buried secrets and painful truths are exposed, changing forever how Alia sees herself and her family.

Should I watch it?

You really should never judge a movie from the trailer. If you’d done so for India Sweets and Spices, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were about to watch a cute coming-of-age tale or a ‘clash of cultures’ rom-com.

But this movie is so much more.

While it’s true some rather distasteful secrets are exposed, the ‘big secret’ about Alia’s mum isn’t one of them. On the contrary, many of you would likely feel inspired if it were your mother. Maybe even wishing such a secret would be exposed in your own family. (I know if it were my mother, I’d burst with pride!)

But this is Alia’s story and she also has some reckoning to do with herself and how she wants to live her life.

Alia is a very modern, young American woman. She’s not struggling to mesh her Indian and American identities or cultures. However, it does appear she lives a slightly freer life when she’s on the opposite side of the country from her family. When she’s back home in New Jersey, although she does so begrudgingly, she slips back into type. Ever so slightly, but she does.

Once the far less wealthy (but equally as smart) Varun arrives in Alia’s life, she’s forced to face her own privilege and, ever her mother’s daughter, steps boldly into the woman she will surely become.

This is a well-written, well-acted movie. The shocks Alia’s parents have in store for her aren’t wildly unexpected, though the nature of them is. Especially the story of her mother’s youth.

While it won’t set the movie world on fire, it’s definitely worth a trip to your local cinema. The perfect movie to go and see with your girlfriends. 

I just wish my mother was as cool, in every way, as Alia’s mother.

3.5 stars

Watch the trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqtVoCj1sQk

Running Time:  101 minutes

Release Date:  Screening in Palace and Hoyts cinemas from 3 Feb 2022.

Cast: Sophia Ali, Manisha Koirala, Deepti Gupta, Adil Hussain, Rish Shah, Bhairavi Dutta