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Year: 1991
Language: English
Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 105 min
Director: Srinivas Krishna
Producer: Camelia Frieberg, Srinivas Krishna
Writer: Srinivas Krishna
Cinematographer: Paul Sarossy
Editor: Srinivas Krishna, Michael Munn
Sound: Ross Redfern, Steve Munro
Music: Leslie Winston, Asha Bosle
Cast: Srinivas Krishna, Saeed Jaffrey, Zohra Segal, Sakina Jaffrey, Heri Johal, Madhuri Bhatia, Ronica Sajnani, Les Porter
Production Company: Divani Films

Set in the East Indian community of Toronto, Masala explores the dilemma of the rebellious young Krishna (Srinivas Krishna), who is struggling to come to terms with the expectations of the New World and the obligations of his cultural background.

Traumatized by the tragic death of his parents in a plane crash five years earlier, Krishna believes he is living on borrowed time. His struggle is measured against the tumultuous lives of two of his relatives and their families: the reticent Mr. Tikkoo (Saeed Jaffrey), who, with the help of his mother (Zohra Segal) and Lord Krishna (Saeed Jaffrey), comes into possession of a priceless postage stamp; and the gregarious and wealthy Lallu Bhai Solanki (Saeed Jaffrey) who is determined to gain control of the international sari trade by supporting rebellion in the Punjab. Finally, Rita (Sakina Jaffrey), the attractive young daughter of Mr. Tikkoo, tries to draw the disenchanted Krishna out of his emotional isolation and back into the family fold.

A brash and sprightly comedy, Masala (the Hindu word meaning a combination of spices or, more figuratively, any spicy combination of elements) is a delightful and ambitious mixture of East Indian film genres and Western film conventions. Both exuberant and fatalistic, the film plays with the Western notion of self-determination and the Eastern concept of karma. Though at times uneven in its tone, Masala is a colourful and invigorating film with equal doses of irony and compassion, tragedy and humour. Featuring the wonderful Saeed Jaffrey (My Beautiful Laundrette, Gandhi), who earned a Genie Award nomination for his deft handling of three major roles, the film received generally positive reviews upon its release in Canada and major American markets.

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