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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 »



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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


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

Plot Keywords:

spice | bandit | india | mother | indian | See All (123) »


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


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:




| | |


Release Date:

21 April 2006 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Condimentos para el amor  »


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£85,563 (United Kingdom), 23 April 2006, Limited Release
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


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


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 »


Tilo: Fenugreek, Tuesday's spice, when the air is green like mosses after rain.
See more »


References Chocolat (2000) See more »


Don't Shake Me Up
Written and Performed by Tanita Tikaram
See more »

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User Reviews

Visuals 5, Story 3, But a Pleasure to Watch
21 June 2007 | by See all my reviews

THE MISTRESS OF SPICES has some of the most beautiful use of color and texture in the form a magical Spice Bazaar that has graced a DVD. It also has as its protagonist the very beautiful Aishwarya Rai and the love interest of the always-reliable Dylan McDermott. The story was created and directed by Paul Mayeda Berges (with help from Gurinder Chada) who has given us such fine films as "Paris, je t'aime', 'Bride & Prejudice' and 'Bend It Like Beckham'. So the question arises as to why this film just doesn't quite make it: the reason may be the tough marriage of fantasy with reality, assigning more importance to dialog between the Mistress and the spices than to the development of storyline.

Tilo (the ravishingly beautiful Aishwarya Rai) was taken in as a child by a spiritually inclined First Mother (Zohra Sehgal) who trains young girls the mysteries of spices - their magic, their meaning and their rigid life style imposed on the developing Mistresses. Those who gain the secrets of the spices are sent into the world, warned never to use the magic for them selves, never to touch human skin, and never to leave the shops where their spices are shared to help mankind. Tilo moves to the Bay Area and does good deeds for her customers until she meets Doug (Dylan McDermott) who needs her care after a motorcycle accident. They touch, their eyes speak of mutual desire and Tilo is thrown into conflict of being a mistress of spices or of having a love life. How situations and destiny work through the story is the meager line of the tale, the majority of the script is Tilo communicating with her spices!

The cast contains some fine character actors such as Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Caroline Chikezie, Anupam Kher, and of course Zohra Sehgal. And there is enough statement about immigrant status in America to keep the story topical. THE MISTRESS OF SPICES entertains and that is a pleasure. Just don't expect a film on the level of director Paul Mayeda Berges' other works. Grady Harp

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