Rotten Tomatoes
Cancel Movies Tv shows Shop News Showtimes

Spices

1986 2h 8m Drama List
Reviews 79% Audience Score 250+ Ratings
In colonial India, an all-powerful tax collector (Naseeruddin Shah) rides into a rural village with his troop of soldiers. They're here for the village's money and women. The tax collector has his eye on feisty Sonbai (Smita Patil), but, when she publicly rejects his advances, she must hide out in the local spice factory. The terrified villagers would be all too happy to sacrifice Sonbai to spare themselves, but the factory's principled watchman, Abu (Om Puri), guards her valiantly. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

View All (2) Critics Reviews
Anupama Chopra Film Companion Mehta really uses the colour of Gujarat well - the red of the spices and the red of the clothes the women are wearing. The cast is made up of a who's who of art cinema. May 18, 2020 Full Review Jimmy Cage Jimmy Cage Movie Reviews (YouTube) MIRCH MASALA is a really strong and visually totally fascinating and immersive work that really scores with its great setting, striking colors and impressive performances. Rated: 8/10 Apr 8, 2022 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (13) audience reviews
Audience Member Such a cast and fine performances with a story depicting the vulnerability of women in the times. Clearly none of the recent movies can out do the gems created by Shyam Benegal, Mani Kaul, Satyajit Ray and the others mirroring our society on a range of issues. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/09/23 Full Review Audience Member It takes about an hour for the crux of the story to start, but once it does it's an intriguing power struggle both mental and physical. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/06/23 Full Review Audience Member MIRCH MASALA is a film that I watched for my World Cinema class this semester and it certainly is a good one. It tells the story of a woman, Sonbai (Smita Patil), who is sought after by a subedar (tax collector). She continually resists his advances and ends up hiding in a spice factory as the subedar doesn't intend to take her rejection of him. Thematically, the film deals with resistance to (colonial) oppression, with the subedar serving as the symbol of British colonialism and Sonbai representing the ordinary Indian citizen. And since the story largely focuses on women, it could be thought of as a feminist film to a certain degree. What the film does well is develop its characters in terms of personality and motivation. The most attention is paid to the tax collector, but with the intention of having you hate him. There was a particularly well-done scene in which he overreacts to someone who accidentally breaks one of his phonograph records. In this one scene you get a sense of this man as someone who looks down on his fellow countrymen who aren't in service to the British, as well as someone who is quick to anger when something happens that he doesn't like. There is also his singular motive to sexually claim Sonbai, a married woman, and which provides the main narrative thrust (no pun intended). Generally speaking, I thought that the themes were handled well, if a little broadly and "on the nose" at times. What didn't always work for me was a lot of the acting, which seemed kind of stagey. I also didn't care for the sound mix on the DVD. I understand that a lot of films from the 1980's and before (especially foreign films) were post-synced, but there didn't seem to be a good balance between various sound elements. Also, for all of the build-up to the finale, I thought it went by a little too quickly. Overall, MIRCH MASALA has a good, socially conscious message, but it hasn't aged too well in my opinion. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/22/23 Full Review Audience Member well directed as well as acted. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 01/21/23 Full Review Audience Member oh i fuckin' loved it.... Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/16/23 Full Review Audience Member Nice film by Ketan Mehta, but it is not WOW. I liked it, especially Naseeruddin Shah's performance. Smita Patil is good also, along with Om Puri, and Deepti Naval. Climax of the film is good, watch it once. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/02/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Spices

My Rating

Read More Read Less POST RATING WRITE A REVIEW EDIT REVIEW

Cast & Crew

Movie Info

Synopsis In colonial India, an all-powerful tax collector (Naseeruddin Shah) rides into a rural village with his troop of soldiers. They're here for the village's money and women. The tax collector has his eye on feisty Sonbai (Smita Patil), but, when she publicly rejects his advances, she must hide out in the local spice factory. The terrified villagers would be all too happy to sacrifice Sonbai to spare themselves, but the factory's principled watchman, Abu (Om Puri), guards her valiantly.
Director
Ketan Mehta
Genre
Drama
Original Language
Hindi
Release Date (Streaming)
May 22, 2017
Runtime
2h 8m