Manisha Koirala and Deepti Gupta are two actresses who are as much loved in Pakistan as in their respective countries. While millions still dance to the songs of the former’s blockbuster films like “Love-story 1942”, “Bombay” and “Dil Se”, the latter is a well-known name in Pakistan owing to multiple drama serials she has done for HUM Television.
Deepti Gupta made her first entry into the Pakistani drama industry with Mehreen Jabbar’s thirteen episoder, “Pehchaan” and continued to work with top-notch Pakistani directors such as Babar Javed and Roomi Insha, assuming significant roles in “Mastana Mahi”, “Maaney Na Yeh Dil”, “Ishq Junoon Deewangi”, “Malal” and “Neeyat”.
Recently, the two actresses appeared together in an Indian American film called “India Sweets and Spices”, premiered at Tribeca Film Festival, 2021. Written and directed by Geeta Malik, the comedy film also stars Sophia Ali, Ashley Nicole Blake, Anita Kalathara, Adil Hussain, Emily Towles, Rish Shah and Thomas Kasp along-with several others. As the reviews tell, “India Sweets and Spices” addresses generational gaps in South Asian families, emerging for the most part from the elders’ infinite love for their traditions.
The film awaits its cinematic and web releases, as it is currently being screened at film festivals only, those too based in the US. Here, in this corner of the world, viewers are desperately waiting for “India Sweets and Spices” to be released on the web if not in the cinemas, for the cast boasts of two performers that are as much dear to Pakistanis as their own celebrities.
Pakistanis have been die-hard fans of many actresses from Bollywood films of the 90s’ decade, Manisha Koirala being one of them. A predilection for Koirala stems from the fact that she has mostly performed in films which have addressed issues central to both Pakistan and India, such as 1947’s partition, religious extremism, terrorism and patriarchy.
Talking about Deepti Gupta, the Indian American actress appeared specifically in those Pakistani drama serials which played a prior part in reviving the country’s drama industry and were therefore super-hits of their time. Besides, what “India Sweets and Spices” has to offer thematically is something that all Pakistanis can relate to: the personality complexes engendering from a sudden accumulation of wealth, ideological differences between parents and children, and a deep veneration for at times illogical traditions.
Let’s hope that the film makes it to web platforms soon, so that South Asians, including the ones hailing from Pakistan, can enjoy the comedy drama film with their families.