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Film / India Sweets And Spices

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Alia Kapur (Sophia Ali), an Indian-American student at UCLA, goes home to her family in New Jersey for summer vacation. Back at home among her family and community, Alia has to bear their drama. She meets Varun, a poorer Indian-American man whom she's drawn to, but knows that her rich parents won't approve. Alia begins to see him secretly nonetheless, but then finds out their mothers have a history which neither knew about.


  • Affectionate Nickname: Alia is sometimes called "Ali" by her friends.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Alia's little brother annoys her a lot, doing things such as diving in the pool when she's there or waking her up loudly.
  • Arranged Marriage: These are common in the Indian community. It turns out that Alia's mother married her father because her family wanted her far away because she'd "disgraced" them with her activism, and he was going to the US. They married and left very quickly when her father arranged it.
  • Bald Head of Toughness: Sheila and her fellow feminists all shaved their heads defiantly given they were viewed as "weak women" unable to accomplish things. Her daughter Alia later shaves her head too in a tribute to her.
  • Brutal Honesty: Alia starts to use this about halfway into the film, telling a couple other Indian girls exactly what she dislikes about them both and not to pretend they like each other (both naturally insult her back for it).
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Alia is in the bathroom and hears as the aunties are bad-mouthing her just outside the door in the hall.
  • Generation Xerox: Alia, like her mother was, is a social justice activist who defies her community to do what she feels is right. Unlike her mother though, she keeps on doing so. However seeing her inspires her mother to stand up for herself more too, encouraging Alia to keep up with her activism.
  • Gossipy Hens: The local aunties (older Indian women) are all notorious as gossips.
  • Important Haircut: Alia cuts off all of her hair (after having previously cut it short) to defy the more conservative norms of her community, in homage for her mother who once did this years ago.
  • Interclass Romance: Alia comes from a wealthy family, while Varun's own a grocery store (he works there with his sister and parents). Though she doesn't mind, everyone else in her circle is disparaging toward them. He wrongly thinks Alia is the same, and breaks up with her. It's implied the pair may get back together though at the end.
  • Love Triangle: Everyone perceives Alia and Rahul as basically engaged, though she just sees him as her friend. After she begins to date Varun however, it gets between them as Varun's intimidated by this. He breaks up with her partly over it. The ending doesn't have her with Varun, but it implies they may get together again.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Alia is pretty and likes to swim, which provides the viewer with multiple scenes where she's in her swimsuit (although they aren't very revealing).
  • Pool Scene: Alia likes to swim, and is seen a couple times doing so or sunbathing in her swimsuit while at her backdoor pool.
  • Saying Too Much: Mr. Singh defends having gone to prostitutes by saying his wife hasn't been interested in sex ever since his testicle retracted, slowing down as he's doing so and realizing what he's said.
  • Secret Relationship: Alia sees Varun although she knows that her parents won't approve of them being together since he's from a much poorer background, sneaking into his room regularly to have sex with him.
  • Slut-Shaming: The aunties talk disapprovingly of how Alia sees a lot of boys, and what a shame it is. Later a couple other Indian girls also call her a slut after she tells off them both. Alia isn't fazed.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Alia is established in her very first scene as a social justice activist at UCLA, having a party with her fellow activists to reward them for their hard work fundraising over the year. She's quick to stand up for herself against her community's disapproving conservatives later too, and is interested later after learning her mother was once a feminist activist. She's very impressed by how fierce her mother was in her feminist activism, and is pretty disappointed by how she has settled into the life of a rich housewife upon coming to the US. Both are portrayed positively for their activism.
  • Workout Fanservice: Two Indian girls who Alia dislikes jog around in very revealing outfits, with their stomachs bare, cleavage showing and in skin-tight leggings.