Mississippi Masala is a film that is equal parts romance and drama. The film tells the story of a family that is expelled from their native India. The family is forced out of their country when a dictator comes to power. They move to a small town in Mississippi where relatives of theirs run a small hotel. The mother, Kinnu, gets a job working in a liquor store. The daughter, Mina, works for her uncle's hotel chain cleaning hotel rooms.
One day Mina is involved in a car accident. The accident allows her to meet Demetrius, who is also a carpet cleaner. Demetrius is not at all upset about the car accident; instead he asks Mina out on a date. She and Demetrius begin to fall in love. Demetrius is African-American, and Mina's family is very unhappy with their relationship. The couple tries to sneak out of town for a romantic getaway, but they are discovered by their families. The families discover Mina and Demetrius in a hotel room in Biloxi, a city known for its gambling. Both families are upset by the relationship, and drama erupts. Even Demetrius' friends are upset that he is dating an Indian woman. Demetrius' carpet cleaning business is also badly affected because he soon loses all his Indian customers.
Mina and Demetrius try to persuade their families to respect their relationships, but neither set of parents is willing to budge. The two escape from their small town, driving away together. Mina's father, Jay, is devastated by the loss of his daughter. He decides to head back to India with the hope of living there again someday. He is forced to go to court in an attempt to get back his house, which was confiscated when he and his family fled to the United States. The court proceedings go very poorly, and Jay is forced to admit that he has lost his life in India for good.