Director: Srinivas Krishna
Screenwriters: Srinivas Krishna

Institute History

  • 1992 Sundance Film Festival


Srinivas Krishna’s first feature is a portrait of Canadian Indian immigrants: caught between two cultures, they are citizens of neither. But it is not what Masala does, but how it does it that is intriguing and delightful. Like its title, the film is a spicy pastiche of genres: black comedy, social satire, road movie, fantasy, and even musical, with a few Indian deities thrown in for fun. The unifying figure is Krishna himself, who plays the lead. His family has died in a plane crash (the exploding plane is a recurring icon of homelessness and loss), and he is searching for a place to belong. He shuttles between two families, headed by men with opposite ideas about adapting to Western life. Avaricious, ambitious Lallu Bhai aims to corner the worldwide sari trade and become rich; traditional, down-to-earth Mr. Tikkoo just wants to be left alone with his stamp collection. Meanwhile wacky Grandma Tikkoo is browbeating the blue deity, Lord Krishna, via her TV set, where he appears to counsel her, and he is miffed because the Indians expect him to solve all their problems. Saeed Jaffrey has a field day playing three major roles, and Masala establishes Krishna as a versatile and astute new social satirist.

— Barbara Bannon

Screening Details

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