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Fire (1996)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  22 August 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 4,532 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 54 user | 35 critic | 14 from

Ashok runs a family business that sells takeout food that also has a video rental store at the side. Ashok's extended family includes his wife Radha, his brother Jatin, their ailing mother ... See full summary »



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Title: Fire (1996)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Karishma Jhalani ...
Ramanjeet Kaur ...
Young Radha's mother
Dilip Mehta ...
Young Radha's father
Javed Jaffrey ...
Jatin (as Jaaved Jaaferi)
Vinay Pathak ...
Guide at Taj Mahal
Kushal Rekhi ...
Ranjit Chowdhry ...
Alice Poon ...
Ram Gopal Bajaj ...
Ravinder Happy ...
Oily man in video shop
Devyani Saltzman ...
Girl in video shop (as Devyani Mehta Saltzman)
Sunil Chhabra ...
Milkman on bicycle


Ashok runs a family business that sells takeout food that also has a video rental store at the side. Ashok's extended family includes his wife Radha, his brother Jatin, their ailing mother Biji and their manservant Mundu, all living under the same roof. Jatin, at the insistence of Ashok and their mother, Biji, agrees to marry the beautiful Sita in an arranged marriage, although he is actually in love with Julie, a Chinese-Indian. At first glance, you see a happy middle-class family going through the normal paces of everyday life. However, as the layers are slowly peeled back, we find a simmering cauldron of discontent within the family, with almost every family member living a lie. Both marriages in the family turn out to be emotionally empty, without love or passion. While Ashok is an ascetic who has taken a vow of celibacy, Jatin is a handsome ladies' man who is still openly seeing Julie even after his marriage to Sita. Ashok has pledged his total devotion to a religious holy man, a... Written by Hariharan

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

marriage | fire | servant | friend | bell | See All (83) »


Drama | Romance


Unrated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

22 August 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fire - Wenn die Liebe Feuer fängt  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$14,384 (USA) (22 August 1997)


$402,749 (USA) (10 October 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


On its opening day in India, some movie theaters were attacked by Hindu fundamentalists, and the movie was eventually banned for religious insensitivity. The film was banned in Pakistan for the lesbian relationship that the movie plays around. See more »


Radha: Where's Jatin?
Sita: Meeting his girlfriend.
See more »


References The Joy Suck Club (1994) See more »


Om Jai Jagati
Performed by Mr. Pundit, Shubhojit Mahalanobis, Bajhir Alam
See more »

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User Reviews

13 April 2003 | by (Philadelphia, USA) – See all my reviews

I was so pleased to discover this movie. The box here in America makes it sound like it is soft core porn with descriptions such as "erotic heat" and the like.

But I was moved by the relationship of these two women and how it reflected their place in society. I was so impressed by how Shabana Azmi (Radha) showed her character growing as she began to understand what she really needed in her life.

Also, early in the film I began to worry that maybe it would just be a movie about how younger women influence traditional families by bringing in new ideas, but the first time Radha and Sita make love, Sita (Nandita Das) seems innocent and unsure about what has happened (even though she initiates it.) I realize that as a character she is going through her own development that starts with a woman who is unsure of expressing her opinion to one who can give voice to what she thinks.

Also, how the family is portrayed seems real in that people do not just immediately change when presented with new ideas. What I mean is that in American movies, we have the tendency to have all the main characters "work things out" by the end of the movie. So when Radha's husband finds Radha and Sita together he doesn't just say he was wrong to ignore Radha and make it up to her. He struggles and falls just like real people do.

This was great work. Radha and Sita have a true romance and the world they occupy is believable and impressive.

P.S. Also a reviewer before me described several parts of the movie and said negative things about it, but couldn't have been watching it too closely since the reviewer confuses the names of all the principle characters. It is Radha that catches on fire not Sita, and Radha who is the elder wife.

Also, I disagree with the characterization that the movie portrays men as the bad guys. I feel it shows very human people. Even the eldest female character Biji turns a blind eye to the pain and feelings of her caregiver Radha. People (men and women) are not perfect and the mistakes made by Radha and Sita's husbands are real things that men actually do and think their wives should just go along with because they are the wives. Does that make them bad men? No. But it does make it a bad system, which I believe is the real foe in this film.

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