After finishing another year at College, Alia (Sophia Ali) is home for summer with hopes of relaxing. As Alia attempts to settle back in and reconnect with various family members and friends, she discovers a few major secrets about her parents and that elements of her past might all be a lie. Alia also finds a new romance at the local Indian: Sweets and Spice convenience store. With secrets coming to the surface, Alia begins to do some soul searching, raising many questions about her family, extended family and the friends who surround her. Who is telling the truth, and what will the outcome be as secrets come to light for the first time in her family?
India Sweets and Spices is best described as a drama film with little moments of well-timed comedy. The film’s themes are great, and many topics here feel relevant today. For Alia, it would seem her family is living their best life, but we learn this isn’t true behind the scenes. The power of gossip, wealth and remaining fearful of what others think of you are also touched on throughout the film, which I wasn’t expecting and found quite surprising. The film felt familiar to Crazy Rich Asians with some key, minor changes. Naturally, I was quite surprised when I found this film had one of the same producers as that film too. It’s familiar, sure, but thankfully some moments feel different and engaging.
The family drama on-screen are some of the best moments throughout the film. I found these moments relatable, entertaining and surprising with their reveals. The film also introduces a corny, lustful romance that feels more forced, unnecessary, and weak. While viewing, I was so invested in Alia’s family dramas that I lacked the same investment during the romance scenes. They generally did not impact the film’s core plot and storyline.
Overall, this film certainly has drama and heart relating to family. The topics and themes are relatable, believable, and rather touching. While there’s a lot of cinema joy to be had, I am disappointed to admit that I didn’t care for the romance elements, which felt highly forced, weak and weren’t required to tell a compelling story. Fans of Crazy Rich Asians, this is certainly one for you. India Sweets and Spices (2021) is Available in Cinemas from February 3rd.