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Chutney Popcorn

3.9 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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(Aug 14, 2001)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description


Chutney Popcorn takes up where quirky lesbian-themed comedy Go Fish left off. The twist? Reena (director Nisha Ganatra) is of Indian descent, but her girlfriend, Lisa (Law & Order's Jill Hennessy), is not. This isn't a problem in and of itself. Reena's mother, however, views her daughter's sexual orientation as a "disability" and describes Lisa as Reena's "college roommate." Then there's Reena's uptight sister, Sarita, who discovers she can't conceive and draws even further away from her sibling. When Reena offers to be a surrogate, things just get worse. Lisa flees for fear that a baby will ruin her relationship with Reena, while Sarita changes her mind--but it's too late: Reena is pregnant (via artificial insemination). There's a happy ending, of course, but fortunately it isn't too happy--you get the sense that Sarita still has a way to go before she can accept herself as fully as her unconventional, artistic sister. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Cara Buono, Nick Chinlund, Saylor Creswell, Eliza Foss, Jill Hennessy
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Wolfe Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 14, 2001
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005KJP1
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,794 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Chutney Popcorn" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David Kleist on November 27, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
For unknown reasons, I could hear in my head the vindictive (and hopefully fictional!) voice of a fundamentalist preacher condemning the "unnatural acts of sinful love" of this film's main characters.
In actuality, this is a movie about the true meanings in contemporary America of "love," "family," and "culture," and it grapples admirably with the changing social and personal-relationship patterns brought about by modern notions of democracy and freedom. Lisa and Reena are truly in love, and their families truly love them as well; but how are all these individuals to deal with Reena's choice to carry to term the baby she is producing through artificial insemination (using her brother-in-law's sperm)? Reena's sister has decided that she no longer WANTS a baby (she herself, biologically, cannot provide the egg for the child-to-be); however, Reena has decided SHE wants the baby, while Reena's female lover doesn't wish to become part of a "traditional" nuclear family.
The moral dilemmas here are both comic and real, absurd yet earnest, and the film explores all sides of its issues with grace and poise and humor. I'm astonished at the clever blocking of the film (such clever tricks for a low-budget effort!), such as when Reena is shown in half-profile before a mirror, or when Lisa falls off the sofa. This is a highly satisfying piece of cinema which I discovered purely by accident among the sale tapes at my local Blockbuster.
I look forward to more films by this original, brave, and highly intelligent director. CHUTNEY POPCORN reminds me of WHATEVER in its sensitive telling of a young woman's story in a complex world bearing no resemblance to anything which has come before in human history.
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Format: VHS Tape
In the stereotypical Indian mother who refuses to accept the fact that her daughter is a lesbian and continues to refer to her daughter's lover (Jill Hennessey delivering an excellent performance!) as her 'college roommate,' "Chutney Popcorn" finds a touch of humor, stark reality and soul. Reena (Nisha Ganatra directing herself) is a photographer with a penchant for temporary mehndi tattoos, lives with Lisa whom she loves dearly, has a newly wed sister, and is plunged into a situation she quickly loses control over.
What is particularly brilliant about this film is the evolution of characters as the movie progresses, exquisitely offset by the humdrum of life, given how the developing plot is always inadvertently eavesdropped on by the neighborhood paan-seller. The film deals with some serious issues without ever becoming a discourse on values and morals; "Chutney Popcorn" never looses touch of the obvious reality and the subtle innate humor of the situation; a truly exceptional, and beautiful film.
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Format: DVD
Nisha Ganatra's new film, "Chutney Popcorn," is a delightful mix of culture clashes, sibling rivalry, and good, old-fashioned dyke drama played out in modern day New York. Multi-talented Ganatra (writer, producer and director) stars as "Reena," very much the black sheep of the family, not only due to her vocation (she's a photographer), but also because of her lesbianism. Her newlywed sibling, Sarita, played by Sakina Jeffrey), finds out she is infertile and that's when the games begin!
Entangled in the fertility games is Reena's commitment-phobic girlfriend, Lisa (Crossing Jordan's Jill Hennessy), Sarita's husband, Mitch, and the girls' mother, an ever-meddlesome, traditional Indian woman. Momma is horrified when Reena decides to step up to the plate and offer herself as a surrogate for Mitch's sperm, Lisa feels the commitment rope tightening around her throat at the announcement, and Sarita begins to have second doubts about the baby.
The ensuing tale is a delight as Reena and Lisa begin the "turkey baster" ritual, and the cast of characters decide to share their infinite wisdom regarding a dyke bringing a child into the world. Scene after scene is filled with belly laughs, especially after one poignant "turkey baster" moment between Reena and Lisa.
Of course, any lesbian movie worth its salt must have a few moments of dyke drama, and "Chutney Popcorn" doesn't disappoint. It's only a matter of time before Sarita really has a problem with her dyke sister giving birth to her husband's child, and Lisa feels the burden of a baby is entirely too much for her. Add in pressure from Momma to "get a husband," backlash from her politically-correct dyke friends and her own journey of self-awareness as the baby grows, and you have a melting pot of emotion, laughter and tears.
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Format: DVD
Just saw the movie yesterday with some girlfriends - and I thought it was pretty good. Let's face it; as far as lesbian movies are concerned, there aren't many Oscar contenders out there, and I'm willing to take a pretty good movie when one comes along. This one was a pretty good movie!
So a few scenes are choppy, the audio is a bit rough in places, and the soundtrack is typical lesbian coffee house/bookstore acoustic guitar... it's an Indie, not a blockbuster. All in all it's not bad at all if you're just looking for pleasing cinema. If you're looking for Camille, keep looking.
Kudos to the filmmaker for following through with it! Bravo!'
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie.
The black & white images of women wearing mendhi were beautiful, as were all the scenes depicting the careful applications of mendhi... how sensual is that? Please! I loved it! Watching her decorate her lover was very sexy. The two leads were great, and played off of each other well, and the mother & sister were fantastic - and are actually mother and daughter in real life.
The dialogue left a little to be desired, but there's some law written somewhere that dialogue in lesbian movies HAS to be horrible, so it wasn't a huge disappointment.
If you liked Rose Troche's "Go Fish" you'll love this movie.
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