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...... Zee Classic will air ‘Mirch Masala’, a movie directed by Ketan Mehta, on 7 January at 10 pm. Starring Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Smita Patil, Suresh Oberoi and Deepti Naval, ‘Mirch Masala’ will be telecast under Zee Classic’s continuing property ‘India’s Finest Films’. Set amidst the turbulent times of colonial rule in India, ‘Mirch Masala’ is a pioneering example of artistic mastery and exceptional aesthetics. Set in the colonial India in the early 1940s, it rotates around the gender divide in the society. It is the story of Sonabai’s (Smita Patil) struggle to protect her sanctity from an evil Subedar (Naseeruddin Shah) and a village full of sexist men. Set in the barren landscapes of Kutch, the visuals in the film are an illustration for the values of a class-dominated Indian culture. Speaking on the film, director Ketan Mehta says, “Mirch Masala was inspired from the story of a tobacco factory owner in Gujarat. I was once travelling through the state when I came across Mirchi factories which fascinated me. Later I learnt that Indian women used to use Mirchi powder for their self-defense in the pre-independence era. This thought coupled with the basic idea led to this film. But I had only two months to finish shoot as the season for Mirchi was limited. Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri and Smita Patil were all big stars by then so getting their dates was a worry. But everyone was generous enough to shuffle schedules to shoot ‘Mirch Masala’ at one go in original locations.” ‘Mirch Masala’ opened to huge critical acclaim and praises poured in for its outstanding portrayals. For his exceptional performance as Mukhi, the village supervisor, Suresh Oberoi won a National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor in the year 1986. On the centenary of Indian cinema, Forbes magazine included Smita Patil’s performance in the list of ‘25 Greatest Acting Performances of Indian Cinema’. ....