ApunKaChoice : Bollywood


Mistress Of SpicesThe Mistress Of Spices : Review
29th Apr 2006  06.00 IST
By Nikhil Kumar  

The Mistress Of Spices is a bland, wishy-washy film with amateurish direction and merely passable acting performances.

The film, starring Aishwarya Rai with the 44-yr-old American actor Dylan McDermott , is the directorial debut of Paul Mayeda Berges, the husband of Gurinder Chadha .

The movie tells the story of a woman who is trained in the art of using spices to heal people. She has a spicy prescription for almost every problem, except love that strikes none other than her own ascetic self when a handsome stranger enters her life accidentally (literally) and stirs up all her dormant emotions.

Tilo (Aishwarya) has the special powers to help people through spices. She runs her store 'Spice Bazaar' in San Francisco. The store is like her little universe in which she 'talks' to her spices and prescribes magical remedies to her coterie of clients.

In her practice of this art, Tilo follows a few strict rules. She never touches another person's skin, she never leaves her store and she never lets any other emotion take precedence over her love for spices.

But then, one fine day, a handsome man named Doug (Dylan McDermott) meets with an accident right outside her store. The coming of a stranger into her life stirs up all the emotions she thought had never existed in her.

Doug, obviously smitten with Tilo's beauty and subtle mystique, pursues her. Thereby begins the tug-of-war inside Tilo. Her heart wants to fall in love, but her head tells her she must not, for she would lose all her magical powers.

Then, one by one her rules are broken. Tilo and Doug touch, he later asks her out on a date and she leaves her store and spices unattended. On the other hand, her prescribed remedies begin to backfire and her clients face the wrath of the spices, the wrath incurred by the change of the mistress's heart.

Tilo finds herself in a dilemma. She must choose between her magical art and her heart.

Adapted from Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's novel of the same title, the movie sort of condenses Divakaruni's story in such a way that the layered characters of the book end up having no depth on the reel. The result is a visually beautiful movie that merely scratches the surface, and that too irritatingly.

On top of it, Aishwarya Rai, the much-vaunted face of Bollywood for the West, simpers through most of her part in the movie and delivers her dialogues in an accentuated English. And the other actors offer little respite.

Dylan McDermott gives a little more than easy demeanor to his character. His performance is pretty plain and blithe.

On the sidelines, Anupam Kher is just about ok, Padma Lakshmi is forgettable and Zora Sehgal immensely likeable. Ayesha Dharkar has a fleeting appearance.

In a nutshell, 'The Mistress Of Spices' is a bummer.

Mistress Of Spices
Aishwarya Rai
Dylan McDermott
Gurinder Chadha
Anupam Kher
Padma Lakshmi

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