Transnational Identity and At-home Turmoil

Most interesting to the film, Mississippi Masala, is the dichotomy of Mina’s life within and outside the home. With her parents, we see her attend large wedding ceremonies, with the keynote speaker telling them “though they are 10,000 miles from India, they should never forget their roots, forget their tradition, or forget their culture.” I find this intriguing because Mina had never actually liked within India, but instead in communities in England and Africa. Likewise, we see the scene of prayer at their motel-based home. These are two ideas established by the film as inherently Indian, one that a western-based viewer would be familiar with.

Conversely, we see her life outside the home, where she spends the majority of her time with Denzel Washington’s character, Demetrius. She goes to parties, has dinner with his family, travels with him to Biloxi, etc. In turn, she ends up falling in love with him, much to the dismay of her parents. She has “brought shame to their heads” by associating with a non-Indian. Her response to their claim marks the true premise to her identity: “this is America, no one cares … I love him; is that a crime?” Technically, no, but her parents essentially view it that way. It’s this conflicting ideology that highlights a transnationalist identity, and marks the inherent generational difference between Mina and her parents, which is likely due to her spending the majority of her life living outside of Indian communities.

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