Bengali immigrant Sushila Sen (Shabana Azmi) lives in London with her son Manek (Navin Chowdhry) who is musically gifted. She supports them both as a caterer of Indian food, while Manek studies the piano with Madame Sousatzka (Shirley MacLaine), who is a Russian-American immigrant. Madame Sousatzka, while highly talented, never succeeded as a pianist and thus lives through her students, particularly talented ones such as Manek. Manek is soon forced to choose between Madame Sousatzka and his mother who both compete for his attention.
Shirley MacLaine as Madame Sousatzka
Navin Chowdhry as Manek
Shabana Azmi as Sushila
Peggy Ashcroft as Lady Emily
Robert Rietty as Leo Milev
Twiggy as Jenny
Leigh Lawson as Ronnie
Lee Montague as Vincent Pick
Best Actress - Drama - Shirley MacLaine - WON
Venice Film Festival
Volpi Cup for Best Actress - Shirley MacLaine - WON
The film was released in U.S. theaters on 14 October 1988. Some time after its theatrical run, the movie was released on videocassette by MCA Home Video in 1989. The movie was released on DVD in the U.S. by Universal Studios Home Entertainment under their Vault Series banner on 28 August 2014.
A region 2 DVD was released by Network in 2007 (catalogue nr. 7952723). The extras are a trailer and some production stills.