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The Mistress of Spices (2005)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance | 21 April 2006 (UK)
An immigrant in San Francisco brings the Indian magic with her thru spices. To keep the magic, she can never leave the spice store or touch another's skin. One day, a handsome architect bachelor enters her store.


Paul Mayeda Berges


Gurinder Chadha (screenplay), Paul Mayeda Berges (screenplay) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan ... Tilo (as Aishwarya Rai)
Dylan McDermott ... Doug
Nitin Ganatra ... Haroun Rehman
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje ... Kwesi
Caroline Chikezie ... Myisha
Anupam Kher ... Geeta's Grandfather
Shaheen Khan ... Jagit's Mother
Sonny Gill Sonny Gill ... Jagjit (as Sonny Gill Dulay)
Nina Young ... Doug's Mother
Toby Marlow Toby Marlow ... Young Doug
Padma Lakshmi ... Geeta
Zohra Sehgal ... First Mother (as Zohra Segal)
Paul Bhattacharjee ... Satish - Geeta's dad
Ayesha Dharker ... Hameeda - Haroun's neighbor
Rebecca Bowden 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


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:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


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


During the scene when Doug tells Tilo about his relationship to his mother, the glass of lemon soda that she gives him is full, then when he sets it down it's empty. Then he raises it again to his mouth, and it's full again. See more »


Tilo: She lifts a bowl of kheer and her thoughts, flittering like dusty sparrows in a brown back alley, turn a sudden kingfisher blue.
See more »


Referenced in The Contractor (2007) See more »


Aap Ki Nazron Ne Samjha (Flute Mix)
Performed by Bally Sagoo
See more »

User Reviews

A good fairy tale...
2 May 2006 | by legofrodSee all my reviews

I had almost decided not to watch this movie, what with all the people word-bashing its senselessness. But go I did... fortunately.

Yes, it's not great cinema... of great courage, making you cry... making you angry. But it is good cinema... and a faithful representation of the book. The book is a fairy-tale, simple to the core, and so is the movie.

And who says Aish cannot act? Just look at the finer nuances of her eyes and eyebrows when she is required to emote, and you will realize that this girl knows what it takes to enact a character which has already been "written about" in a book. Yes, she underplays the role... but that is what her character is, right? A woman who is poised, but sometimes the deepest feelings find their vent. I am surely impressed by Aish's restrained expression of feelings... and people who mistake this for an incapacity to act, God give them the subtleties of discernment.

Go watch this movie... not to come out exhilarated or flustered... but to enjoy a good fairy tale, for that's what it is.

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USA | UK | Isle Of Man | India



Release Date:

21 April 2006 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Mistress of Spices See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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