Jon Favreau’s “Chef” was one of the most endearing slice of the life and lip-smacking delicious film of the year 2014. The moment I saw the trailer of the official Indian remake of the same film set across Kerala, India- it intrigued me and led to the thought that it would be a better remake than what Bollywood does. Did it really satisfy my appetite? Let’s find out.
Set in Cochin, India (Kerala, the Southern State)- Roshan Kalra (Saif Ali Khan) is a renowned Michelin star rated Chef in the USA and is back in India to spend time with his son Armaan (Svar Kamble). He along with a small group including his son sets up a Mobile Restaurant on persuasion of his estranged wife (Padmapriya). I must say, this is one of endearing and heartfelt remake in recent times.
The film works on two things: 1. Food and 2. Relationships and fails because of one particular thing: bland writing. The writers Ritesh Shah, Suresh Nair and Raja Krishna Menon fail to justify the characters due to bland writing. No doubt what is on screen looks cinematic-ally delicious but the dish fails to smack lip-smacking punch like the original. Let’s take the protagonist Roshan Kalra who is supposedly a Michelin star rated Chef who should be passionate about food and shall have some amazing culinary skills- but here we only get him either chopping something or making a pasta. Even the screenplay sometimes falls off, an emotional scene is followed by a low-key sequence.
Nevertheless, the film doesn’t fail to satisfy your appetite with its flaws. The film could have been set anywhere in India, glad that the makers choose Kerala- touted as God’s Own Country. It also stands as a metaphor for the broken and distant lives of the characters. In a particular scene, Roshan exclaims the reason about starting the food bus in Kerala as, “It’s difficult to please Malayalis and receive their love”. The film is a fun-filled lovely journey although we feel it focuses on food but it majorly focuses on flavoring relationships. I wish that the food quotient was high like the original one.
At par excelling cinematic technicalities, especially Cinematography by Priya Seth, what a delicious camera work. I also enjoyed Raghu Dixit’s “Shugal Laga Le”, what a celebratory and enthusiastic song. Saif Ali Khan justifies the role totally, a chef reinventing himself which is need of the time for the actor. Padmapriya, a fine Malayalam actress looks awkward in most of the scenes. The child actor Svar Kamble does a fabulous job while Chandan Roy Sanyal (playing Bangladeshi yet again) and Dinesh Prabhakar are playful. So good to watch Milind Soman back on big screen, though with a limited screen-time but he is phenomenal.
“Chef” is celebration of family, food and remake which is garnished well by its technical excellency but the writing shimmers and makes the dish watery.
Release: 6 October, 2017
Director: Raja Krishna Menon
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