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Mirch Masala (1985) - (Movies To See Before You Die - Drama)

01 Mar, 2010 | Movies To See Before You Die / Drama

Mirch Masala - Bobby Talks Cinema.com

One of the finest artistic movies made on the suppressed lives of Indian villagers living in the British Raj, “Mirch Masala” is a pure cinematic masterpiece from director Ketan Mehta. The film proudly represented Indian Cinema all over the globe in those golden years of art cinema in the 70s-80s and is till date remembered for its well-written engrossing theme, perfect execution and incredible performances.
The film realistically highlights the life of poor-dependent villagers in that pre-independence era, living on the mercy of their tax collector called ‘Subedaar’. Acting as their Gods, nobody dared to oppose these middle-men fearing severe punishments in return and this fear only becomes the base of ‘Mirch Masala’ revolving around the cunning ‘Subedaar’ enacted by Naseeruddin Shah. Treating the helpless villagers as his slaves, Shah feels no sympathy for them even in the times of poor harvest and drought. But his cruel reign comes to an end when he crosses the limits of human dignity like a demon, demanding a village lady (Smita Patil) for his own personal pleasure. The instance triggers an unexpected revolt in the village, surprisingly coming from its women community who decide to oppose the disgraceful demand getting together in a ‘Mirch Factory’. Depending upon the only help coming from an old caretaker (Om Puri) having a gun to safeguard them all, the women refuse to open the doors leading to a powerful climax completely justifying the film’s title as Mirch Masala. And Ketan brilliantly uses the unique backdrop of a ‘Mirch Factory’giving a pleasantly fresh and meaningful feel to the film making a strong impact.

With a huge ensemble of talented actors in its cast, this is a precious cinematic gem with many worth watching sequences canned superbly. It skillfully portrays the miserable life led by the women of that era, when they were merely treated as a means of entertainment and were not permitted to study or move out of their small kitchens. Among the best scenes of the movie include the one where the villagers see a gramophone record for the first time, the traditional dance by the village women in their colourful dresses (edited in fast cuts) and the well directed climax sequence with its famous surprise twist using the ‘chilies’.
‘Mirch Masala’ makes you feel the rural environment of those times with a fine use of traditional-folk music and its dance forms. In fact the opening five minutes only take you into a different world altogether with the visuals of red chilies spread all over the field and tension building between Smita and Shah without wasting any time on the usual introductions.
Along with getting wide appreciation in many international film festivals, the film won the National Award for Best Feature Film, Best Supporting Actor (Suresh Oberoi) and Best Editor (Sanjiv Shah) in 1987 proving to be a must watch classic for all lovers of thought provoking, realistic movies,especially the young cine-lovers who are not aware of the Parallel Cinema Wave beginning in the decades of 70s and 80s.
Original Source and Adaptation
Based on a short Gujarati story of Chunnilal Madiya, the original premise of the story was around a tobacco factory as revealed by director Ketan Mehta in his interview, which he later changed to a ‘Mirch factory’, after getting fascinated by the visuals of heaps of red chilies lying on the ground witnessed through his train journey passing through Gujarat. Later he came to know that this chilly-powder was in reality used by women for their self-defense in the pre-independence era too quite widely, that in turn became the basic premise of his film aptly titled ‘Mirch Masala’.
Interesting Facts
Probably the only movie featuring Dina Pathak, Supriya Pathak and Ratna Pathak (mother-daughter trio) together on screen, there is another interesting revelation made by the director about the making of the film around the mid-80s. Incidentally the project got sanctioned by NFDC at a time when the season of chilly-farming was just about to end in the next two months. So returning back from the location knowing the urgency, thankfully all dates of the entire star cast could be reshuffled with their mutual co-operation and the film got shot in time, otherwise they would have been forced to wait for an entire year before the next season offering the stunning visuals.
Title : Mirch Masala (Meaning: Hot Spice / Chilies Powder)
Produced by NFDC
Directed by Ketan Mehta
Lyrics – Babubhai Raanpura
Music – Rajat Dholakia
Starring : Smita Patil, Nasseruddin Shah, Om Puri, Raj Babbar (Guest Appearance), Dina Pathak, Deepti Naval, Mohan Gokhale, PareshRawal, Suresh Oberoi, RatnaPathak, SupriyaPathak, Benjamin Gilani & more.

Tags : Mirch Masala, Ketan Mehta, Smita Patil, Nasseruddin Shah, Om Puri, Raj Babbar, Dina Pathak, Deepti Naval, Mohan Gokhale, Paresh Rawal, Suresh Oberoi, Ratna Pathak, Supriya Pathak, Benjamin Gilani, Movies To See Before You Die, Must See Movies List by Bobby Sing & www.bobbytalkscinema.com, Movies on Love Theme, Must See Movies List By Bobby Sing, Not Be Missed Flicks at bobbytalkscinema.com, Not Be Missed Movies at bobbytalkscinema.com, Must See Movies List by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com
01 Mar 2010 / Comment ( 0 )
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