In colonial India, subedars (tax collectors) went from village to village with soldiers, often demanding more than taxes. A subedar commands Sonbai, a beautiful and confident woman whose ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Owner of the Pepper factory
Benjamin Gilani ...
Masterji
Mohan Gokhale ...
Villager
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Pepper factory worker
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Saraswati, Mukhiya's wife
...
Mukhiya
...
Pandit
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Maanki, factory worker
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Pepper Factory Worker
...
Pepper factory worker
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Sonbai
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Chowkidar Abu Miya
...
Villager
...
Subedar
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Storyline

In colonial India, subedars (tax collectors) went from village to village with soldiers, often demanding more than taxes. A subedar commands Sonbai, a beautiful and confident woman whose husband is away in the city, to sleep with him. She slaps him and flees for safety to a spice factory where women grind chillies into fine powder. The aged factory guard, Abu Mian, locks the door behind her, refusing to open it to the soldiers, to the cowardly village men led by the mayor, and to the subedar himself. The town's teacher, who follows Gandhi, and a few women, led by the mayor's wife, protest ineffectually against this village-approved rape. The stage is set for a final confrontation. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Drama | Thriller

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Release Date:

6 September 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

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Trivia

Mirch Masala is the only movie which features the mother-daughter trio, Dina Pathak, Supriya Pathak and Ratna Pathak. The film also features Naseeruddin Shah and Raj Babbar (in a guest appearance), husbands of Ratna Pathak and Smita Patil respectively. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Homestarrunner.com: Everything Else, Volume 3 (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Superb Film, Smita in full power as the brilliant actor she was
2 June 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It is a deeply moving, crisply logical (even as the peppers dried in the sun would be), beautifully thought out film. The range of Son Bai's character from the early playfulness, the innocent chanchalta of a happy, hard working village wife, the tender moments with her husband, her loneliness when the husband is gone to his job in the railways, and her fiercely effective rage towards her greedy attacker: the Subedar. Yet, there is no Mother India like (a film alluded to, in a complimentary way, throughout parts of the film's plot line) high drama in her rage; it is very authentic, sincere, not filmy, and the silent alliance between Abu Mian and Son Bai, their clear understanding of what is at stake is depicted powerfully -- with very few spoken words, only Ketan Mehta's brilliant cinematography and Om Puri's and Smita's excellent chemistry. Others, including such stars as my most favorite Indian actress, Dina Pathak (whose mother roles are as profoundly moving as Daisy Irani's, though fewer, child roles), Deepti Naval, Supriya Pathak, and of course, Naseerudhin Shah (only he could have acted the Subedar in just that precise, perfect way to make all other elements of the film work so extremely well), also Ratna Pathak is very good, nearly everyone who acts in this film has done excellently well. One of the world's ten most important films, a timeless classic and firmly grounded in historical time.


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