Directed by Ketan Mehta
Spices is a
spirited, feminist fable from India, where women have few rights and little power. This
story of oppression and rebellion was shot in rural Gujarat with both actual villagers
India's top name stars. It explores a community's reaction to a woman's plight as an
impoverished beauty named Sonbai spurns the amorous advances of a local tax collector
(called sudebars) and takes refuge in a pepper factory. Few of the villagers have the
courage to defend her, least of all its men, who are blind to injustice against women.
Sonbai's eventual victory is not simply over the villainous sudebar, but over tyranny
itself and the subservience that sustains it. The fiery Sonbai was Smita Patil's (two-time
winner of India's National Best Actress Award) last role. Originally titled Mirch
Masala. Hindi with English subtitles. Color.