Reena, an Indian-American is a henna tattoo artist and lives with her lover Lisa. She and her sister Sarita were single handedly brought up by their mother. Like most Indian families, the mother and even Sarita are obsessed with babies. Few months into her marriage, Sarita finds out that she can’t get pregnant and about the same time Reena’s family make her feel that she is selfish and doesn’t do much for her family. Without discussing with Lisa, Reena offers to be the surrogate mother of the baby for her sister and her husband Mitch. Narita is not to keen on the idea but because Mitch seems really excited, she goes for it. After numerous attempts, when Reena can’t get pregnant, Sarita has hd enough and wants it to stop and wants to not be a mother. As destiny would have it, Reena does get pregnant and even though Sarita doesn’t want the baby now, reena wants to keep it for the family. This creates friction between Reena and Lisa because being a surrogate for 9 months is very different from having a baby and then keeping it. In between some wisecrack jokes by the mother and occasional ‘dyke’ stereotypes thrown in by Lisa and Reena’s group of friends, the film continues its light-hearted journey till Reena delivers the baby. Lisa comes around and takes care of Reena and now they are all a big happy family.
'Chutney Popcorn' seems entirely predictable until the moment Sarita changes her mind about wanting to bring up the child, and Reena, without thinking twice, announces that she wants to have the baby anyway. But despite this, it does make for an engaging watch, mostly because of the mother. I loved the scene when she does the 8th month pregnancy ceremony. So sweet !! None of the characters are easy to play and as I said , specially given that it is the Indian context, my favourite had to be the mother. She could easily have been a snob, homophobic character, instead she conveys the pain of a devoted single mother who only wants best for her child. The characters do get evolved over the period of time. Everyone in the film has done a decent job of acting and as I said, it cam out in 1999, so you do have to keep that in mind. Apart from that the film is a delightful mix of culture clashes, sibling rivalry, and good, old-fashioned dyke drama.
I know I haven’t put in much lesbian film reviews on my blog, but I do hope that over a period of time, I will eventually grow up. This is definitely a feel good, subtly humourous film that shows family is still the single most important thing for everyone. (6/10)