Chef Film Review: Savour The Simmering Delights

| October 7, 2017 | 0 Comments

‘When I know the time is right for me
I’ll cross the stream, I have a dream’.

ABBA song poetically and succinctly conveys the emotion and intensity of anyone’s passion for pursuing his dreams and the price one has to pay to realise them.

Chef tells the story of Roshan Kalra(Saif Ali Khan),who had this nose for food since childhood and always wanted to learn cooking instead of fulfilling the aspiration of his father who wanted him as an engineer.

Roshan runs away from home at age fifteen and eventually becomes a Michelin rated chef in upmarket Indian Restaurant named Galli in New York. His rise from the ranks has also given him arrogance.

After an altercation with a customer over quality of food,he is fired from his much assured job that not only took care of his upper middle class preoccupations with EMIs, SIPs, but also made him save money for his son Armaan’s education in future.

Now the twist is that Armaan aka Arry(Svar Kamble) lives with his divorced wife Radha (Padampriya Janakiraman) in Cochi, India.

To get handle on his disintegrated personal and shatteted professional life,Roshan comes to India to spend some time with his son during his school vacations,before flying back to the Big Apple to join his girl friend Vinnie (Sovitha Dhulipala, effective)

The brief reunion leads to rethinking by Roshan of his priorities, realising his emotional depth,rediscovering his mojo,rekindling his passion for cooking and bonding with his growing up son.

Roshan’s interaction with his ex-wife Radha and her friend Biju (Milind Soman) brings out the lingering possessiveness,practicality and moving on in mature relationships.

While in Cochi, Roshan is persuaded to start a food truck called ‘Raasta Cafe’ selling his innovation Rottza (it’s no pizza),that has its roots in his childhood memories in the bylanes of Chandni Chowk.

His journey from Cochi to Delhi on the food truck ,alongwith his son and a chela-colleague Nazru(Chandan Roy Sanyal), that is having its popularity snowballing with the help of trending hashtags on Twitter (tech savvy son handling this publicity bringing out a generational smartness and divide in sharp focus), rekindles the buried memories,eventually leading to mending of strained relations and family reunion of sorts.

Screenplay adaptation by Suresh Nair,Ritesh Shah and Raja Krishna Menon of Jon Favreau’s movie Chef(2014) has been smartly done, giving it Indian sensibilities. The ambience and cooking sequences are in synch with the milieu.

Camera glides over backwaters of Kerala,gloats over long stretches of countryside,gushes through the black tarred roads and then pats,strokes and ignites the frames that take you on a journey of making of a delicious dish.(cinematography by Priya Seth).

From spotlighting the regional likes,sensibilities and tastes to underlining the concept of serving food in Guru Ka Langars propounded by Sikh religion,as a selfless service to oneself first and then to others,it lays a varied spread of flavours,insights and moral messages.

Though there are definitely few strains that jar due to their half baked endings or simply being left in cold.

Director Raja Krishna Menon has overall done a good job of blending the whole scenario with commendable performances across the board.

Saif Ali Khan as a middle aged father,high-on- ambition,arrogance, uncaring ex-husband, who mellows over a period of time to value the relationships is in fine fettle.

As an ex wife and single mother Padampriya brings out the nuanced balance between her emotions towards her ex husband and her growing up son.

Chandan Roy Sanyal as Man Friday lends a value added support to Saif’s Roshan.

Svar Kamble in the role of a son,looking up to his father as a role model is so natural.Another performance as Aziz, the food truck driver,Dinesh P Nair attracts attention.He is an actor to watch in coming years.

With life enhancing lessons, Chef is a delectable offering that makes you savour the relationships in their varied forms and tastes. It does succeed to an extent, in activating the juice ducts in its capture and filming of making of varied dishes.

Where it falters is at its abrupt change of scenes and tastes,pat endings,simmering on low fire proceedings, and convenient all is well that ends well resolution.

As I came out the auditorium I was munching on this thought what if your passion for work, does not make you famous and renowned! Will your father be as forgiving?Will your wife forget those lonely nights and uncaring days when you were following your dreams( in the process crushing dreams of your loved ones) and living your passion.

What if it all does not have a happy ending?.But then I think that would be suicidal for the box-office.You have to live with certain tropes and formulas to survive.

After all, a meal rounded up with a scrumptious dessert leads to full satisfaction.

To provide that Chef is a recipe and remedy too.Cherish your dream. Savor it at your leisure.


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Category: Reviews

About the Author ()

Dhieraj Mohan is Hindi cinema's keen observer. With earnest interest in its dynamics and constantly changing milieu he revels in dwelling on the discrepancies, idiosyncrasies,contradictions,masala and the formula that defines Bollywood.He is a poet and a screenwriter too,who simply adores Hindi cinema's chameleon like traits.

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