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The Mistress of Spices (2005)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance | 21 April 2006 (UK)
In India, Tilo 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 in a sort of traditional ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Tilo (as Aishwarya Rai)
...
Doug
...
Haroun Rehman
...
Kwesi
...
Myisha
...
Geeta's Grandfather
Shaheen Khan ...
Jagit's Mother
Sonny Gill Dulay ...
Jagjit
...
Doug's Mother
Toby Marlow ...
Young Doug
...
Geeta
...
First Mother
...
Satish - Geeta's dad
...
Hameeda - Haroun's neighbor
Rebecca Bowden ...
Bougainvillea Girl
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Storyline

In India, Tilo 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 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 mission of following three basic rules: help 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, she feels a great attraction and desire for him, breaking the first rule and being punished by the spices. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

One spice for passion. And one woman who knows its name.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violent images and sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| | |

Language:

Release Date:

21 April 2006 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Condimentos para el amor  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£85,563 (UK) (21 April 2006)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jill Hollon was originally cast for this role but had to step down due to scheduling conflicts See more »

Goofs

Towards the end, Doug hits red chili peppers with his shoulder. The chili start turning. In the next shot they are still, and in the following one they are swinging. See more »

Quotes

Tilo: Each spice has a special day to it. For turmeric it is Sunday, when light drips fat and butter-colored into the bins to be soaked up glowing, when you pray to the nine planets for love and luck.
See more »

Connections

References Chocolat (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Shake Me Up
Written and Performed by Tanita Tikaram
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User Reviews

 
Review from 2005 TIFF
18 September 2005 | by (Toronto) – See all my reviews

I saw this film at the 2005 Toronto International Film 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 films including Bend it Like Beckham and Bride and Prejudice. Chadha co-wrote the screenplay here with her husband.

The movie 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 open a shop and help people using the mysterious powers of the spices. Tilo, who also has the power to see visions of the future, soon ends up helping a whole coterie of characters: a man (Anupam Kher) who is distressed over his granddaughter (Padma Lakshmi), a woman who has grown up in America and adopted western ways, much to his dismay; Jagjit (Sonny Gill Dulay), a teenager who is having trouble with the kids at school; Haroun (Nitin Chandra Ganatra), a cab driver that has a cloudy future; Kwesi (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), a man trying to win the heart of a woman.

But to be successful, Tilo must follow three rules: one, she must never leave the store; two, she must never touch the skin of another person; three, she can never use the spices for her own gain. One day a man (Dylan McDermott) falls off his motorcycle outside her store and they are both instantly 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 ways 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 could really do it; funny enough, the voice-overs reminded me of another spice-related movie, David Lynch's Dune. The movie 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 other films, but that is probably due more to the limitations of creating an adaptation.


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