Reviewed by Adam Donato
India Sweets and Spices is about an ambitious young woman, Ali Kapur (played by Sophia Ali), who comes home for the summer from college. When she comes back, she has to deal with tons of family drama at their seemingly endless amount of dinner parties. The film is written and directed by Geeta Malik, whose only other feature is Troublemaker, which came out a decade ago. With an official selection at the 2021 Tribeca Festival, is this movie going to lead to more opportunities for Malik and Ali?
This movie is delightful. Big credit goes to Ali for showing that she can lead a movie. Her most notable credits are from television shows and a side character in Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare. She’s got personality and can handle even the heaviest of scenes in this movie and it will be exciting to see her going forward, even if her next movie is Uncharted. All of the family friends at the dinner party are completely pretentious and full of gossip. Her character is so admirable in this movie as she is constantly surrounded by such toxic energy and she persists throughout.
The core of the story is a very standard one, but how it explores Indian culture makes it feel fresh. The role of women, classism and arranged marriages are all some pretty interesting topics that are explored in this movie. All of these things are tackled head-on in the finale in the most satisfying way possible. Speaking of the culture, most of the characters in the movie are rich so it makes sense, but the wardrobe was beautiful in this movie. There are about a dozen family dinners, which provides ample opportunities to show off.
The movie is listed as a comedy on IMDb, but plays more like a drama. There are funny moments in the movie sure, especially when all of the tea comes to a head around the climax. Besides that, what really keeps this movie afloat is the drama. The script is where most of the responsibility lies as everything feels wrapped up all good at the end. The movie has plenty to say and plays as a wholesome good time.
India Sweets and Spices is definitely a movie worth recommending. This would play really well as a streaming movie as it doesn’t sport any of the name or brand recognition that theatrical releases seemingly require these days. It’s also not heavy enough to expect any major awards appeal in a couple months. That being said, it’s a pleasant surprise and it will be exciting to see what Malik does next.
India Sweets and Spices hits theaters on November 19.