October 16, 2020
“You can be dark and have money or you can be fair and have no money, but you can’t be dark and have no money and expect to get Harry Patel.”
These words, spoken by a gossiping auntie and among the most iconic lines in director Mira Nair’s Mississippi Masala (1991), alluded to the female lead Mina, who was, in fact, dark, curvy, and without money. Actor Sarita Choudhury — who played Mina — can still paraphrase the dialogue to this day. The film introduced Choudhury to global audiences: in her very first scene, Choudhury, as the adult Mina, moves her fingers just so through her long, wavy hair as she pushes a shopping cart of 25 gallons of milk and buttermilk through a grocery store in Greenwood, Mississippi. It’s August 1990.