Wednesday, February 18, 2009


CHICK FLICK DATING TIP: When you’re on a long-anticipated date with that sexy Indian guy or gal in your life, take it easy on the Apu impressions.


Doc Jordan pitching for the other team, a hip-hop Samir Nagheenanajar, a Grade-A whitey goofball, insemination through turkey basting, plenty of low budge HLA, and too much popcorn, not enough chutney. Whatever that is.

More details here.


Reena (Nisha Ganatra) is a would-be photographer, a talented hena tattoo artist, and an Indian-American lesbian. She struggles with her traditionalist mother Meenu (Madhur Jaffrey) who is in denial about her daughter’s sexuality, and Mom’s obsession with marking every single occasion with a religious ritual. In Meenu’s eyes, Reena cannot do anything right and will be miserable her whole life if she refuses to marry and have children. On the other hand, Sarita (Sakina Jeffrey) is Reena’s perfect sister who married chowderhead white boy Mitch (Nick Chinlund), settled down to family life, and is on her way to pumping out grandbabies. Thing is, she can’t. And so Reena, who is accused of being self-involved and irresponsible, tries to make-up for her ill-deserved reputation and offers to carry a baby for plumbing-challenged Sarita, to the shock of Ma Meenu and Reena’s live-in girlfriend Lisa (Jill Hennessy). Reena’s well-intentioned decision disrupts all the relationships in her life, from her brother-in-law to Mom to her UPS delivery girl. But the most affected is Sarita whose womanhood and ego is bruised and crushed. Ultimately, she rejects Reena’s well-meaning offer which causes turmoil in her relationship with Lisa who doesn’t want children and is intimidated by Reena’s resolve to have a baby. Sarita is further frustrated when Mitch refuses to have sex with her because he doesn’t want to waste his sperm and wants to save the best for Reena’s injection. No, really. In the end, when Reena indeed becomes pregnant, she must decide whether or not to continue with her decision as her choice will change her life and decide the fate of her odd-tasting snack-eating family.


Chutney Popcorn has all the polish of an average student film with the good intentions of a more matured work. This thing had some serious technical problems which at times ruined any entertainment or education value it wanted to lay out. Seriously, I had a hard as hell time trying to hear this thing as the sound was almost impossible to decipher. But as far as the subject matter is concerned, the dramatic conflicts between family, religion, and sexuality is well-trodden territory and is a pitfall the movie often finds itself mired in. But the actors are able to overcome this familiar feel with appealing performances by the unknown cast as well as the established actors such as Hennessy. The only real flaw is the casting of writer-director Ganatra as Reena, the main character. As an actress, Ganatra is awful. She delivers an expressionless, one-note, emotionally blank performance that made it really difficult to sympathize or identify with her. At times the movie smacks of a vanity project and if there’d been a shred of something special revealed in the storytelling, it would be forgiven. But there isn't, however there is evidence of some talent here, and perhaps Ganatra should have stepped back and let someone else take on the role. The movie approaches the theme of family values sensitively and humorously, respecting expectations by parents and the choices made by their children while embracing the unpredictability of familiar love and relationships. Chutney Popcorn is hobbled by a weak main character and amateurish feel, but succeeds as refreshingly light feature that lays the groundwork for better chicks who like chicks chick flicks from this filmmaker.

But one question remains - what the hell is chutney?

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