American Chai

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American Chai
Directed by Anurag Mehta
Written by Anurag Mehta
Starring Aalok Mehta
Sheetal Sheth
Paresh Rawal
Aasif Mandvi
Distributed by Dream Merchant Pictures Fusion Films
Release dates
  • January 25, 2001 (2001-01-25) (Slamdance Film Festival)
  • April 5, 2002 (2002-04-05)
Running time
92 minutes
Country United States
Language English

American Chai is a 2001 film written and directed by Indian American director Anurag Mehta. His brother, Aalok Mehta, played the starring role opposite Sheetal Sheth, who had previously starred in the similar genre film ABCD. The film also had a minor role played by Paresh Rawal.[1]

The film deals with an Indian American student who wants to pursue his love of music over the more "typical" academic endeavors of Indian Americans (e.g., medicine, engineering, and law).[2]

The film won the Audience Award at the 2001 Slamdance Film Festival, with the New York Post describing it as a "slight but sweet film".[3] The movie was Mehta's directorial debut and his only film to date.[1]


Sureel is a first generation Indian American college graduating senior music major whose controlling father still believes that he is pre-med. His desires in life conflict with both his family's traditional values, and the usual Indian way of assimilating into America by becoming a doctor or engineer. As graduation approaches, he has an opportunity to be nationally recognized for his music which will simplify telling his father the truth.


  • Aalok Mehta - Sureel
  • Sheetal Sheth - Maya
  • Aasif Mandvi - Engineering Sam
  • Josh Ackrman - Toby
  • Ajay Naidu - Hari
  • Paresh Rawal - Sureel's Dad
  • Bharti Desai - Sureel's Mom
  • Akshay Oberoi - Neel
  • Rajiv Reddy - Young Sureel
  • Jamie Hurley - Jen
  • Reena Shah - Sejal
  • Anand Chulani - Raju
  • Jill Anderson - Lisa
  • Kyle Koehl - Young Boy
  • Marlee Kattler - Young Girl

The Philadelphia-based hip-hop band Fathead also appears in the movie.


External links[edit]