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Chutney Popcorn

DVD cover
Directed by Nisha Ganatra
Produced by Susan Carnival
Nisha Ganatra
Written by Susan Carnival
Nisha Ganatra
Starring Nisha Ganatra
Jill Hennessy
Sakina Jaffrey
Madhur Jaffrey
Music by Karsh Kale
Cinematography Erin King
Editing by Jane Pia Abramowitz
Release date(s) July 9, 1999 (Outfest)
September 22, 2000 (United States)
January 15, 2001 (United Kingdom)
Running time 92 min
Country United States
Language English

Chutney Popcorn is a 1999 comedy drama film directed and co-written by and starring Nisha Ganatra.[1] Ganatra plays a young lesbian Indian American woman called Reena. Jill Hennessy plays her girlfriend Lisa and Reena's mother and sister are played by real life mother and daughter Madhur Jaffrey and Sakina Jaffrey.[2] The film explores the conflict between Reena's sexual and national identities as well as her mother Meenu's attempts to come to terms with the Western lives of both her daughters.[3]



Reena is a young Indian American lesbian who lives and works in New York. Her sister Sarita, who is happily married, discovers that she is infertile. Reena offers to be a surrogate mother for her sister's baby, hoping to improve her relationship with their mother, who disapproves of Reena's sexual orientation. Sarita and her husband accept Reena's offer but Sarita begins to have second thoughts. After Reena becomes pregnant, her relationship with her girlfriend Lisa suffers. When the baby is born, Reena and Lisa are reunited, as are Reena's family.[4]



Chutney Popcorn won several film festival awards between 1999 and 2001 including at the San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, the Paris Lesbian Film Festival and L.A. Outfest.[5] It was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding TV Movie in 2001.


  1. ^ Ember, Carol R. (2004). Encyclopedia of diasporas. Springer. pp. 381. ISBN 0306483211.  
  2. ^ Winter, Jessica (March 2000), "Raging Against The Raj", Interview,, retrieved 2009-06-13  
  3. ^ Singh, Jaspal Kaur (2009). Representation and Resistance. University of Calgary Press. pp. 165. ISBN 1552382451.  
  4. ^ Welsch, Janice R.; J. Q. Adams (2005). Multicultural films. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 44. ISBN 0313319758.  
  5. ^ Caswell, Michelle. "Chutney Popcorn: An Interview with Nisha Ganatra". AsiaSource. Retrieved 2009-06-13.  

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