‘Chef’ is an Indian film released on 6th October 2017 in India starring Saif Ali Khan, Padmapriya and child actor Svar Kamble in lead roles. The film has been written by Ritesh Shah and Suresh Nair while it is directed by Raja Krishna Menon of “Airlift” fame.
So, what occurs to your mind when you hear the word “Chef”? “Food”, right? Naturally, your culinary buds are tinkled a bit and one tends to think that the movie would dishing out one after another delicious mouth-watering dish and that’s all what “Chef” should be about. Well, the answer is both yes and no. And we shall see how.
But before that we must salute the honesty of the filmmakers in telling us that it is an adaptation of the 2014 Hollywood movie by the same name by Jon Favreau. Our Indian “Chef” is the story of Roshan Kalra played by Saif Ali Khan and his journey to find out his true priorities and source of happiness.
A young boy Roshan, always wanted to be a chef but since at that time the Bollywood flick “3 Idiots” was not released so there was no movie to tell his father that Roshan should be allowed to pursue his passion and not be forced into becoming one more unhappy doctor or engineer just doing his “job” because he has that particular degree. Roshan tries a lot, sneaking out at odd hours and going to his nearby Ram Lal’s Chhole Bhature shop, convincing, being adamant but when nothing would budge his father’s stand, he runs away from home at the age of 15.
Roshan then realizes the value of food and hunger and stays at the Golden Temple, Amritsar and while serving at the large kitchen of the Golden Temple, he learns to cook at a nearby Dhaba (indigenous Indian restaurant) and also sleeps in the dangerous and unhygienic kitchen amongst rats. But life is not meant to be limited for the dreaming, impulsive and ambitious Roshan Kalra who goes on to become an internationally acclaimed Chef and works abroad in an Indian restaurant.
He does lose a lot of things in the process – his marriage with Radha (played by Padmapriya), his bonding and time with his son Armaan (played by Svar Kamble) but he’s too busy to calculate the losses.
Over a period of time, Roshan grows saturated with his life and leaves behind his innovative streak somewhere. That’s when a customer publicly criticizes his food. Not being able to take the criticism Roshan almost breaks the nose of the customer with a solid punch on his face. He faces charges and his owner bails him out. But by that time the video of the assault by Roshan goes viral and he loses his job.
His love for his son brings him back to Kochi and the beautiful landscapes of God’s own country – Kerala where his Mallu ex-wife Radha is staying with their son Armaan. The rest of the movie captures Roshan’s journey about finding his true happiness and grooming his bond with his son. What remains to be seen is, whether Roshan achieves it and if so, how?
Who would have expected that the man who made “Airlift” a period movie full of grip and tension in war torn Middle-East during the Gulf war could dish out something as chilling and sweet as “Chef”.
Raja Krishna Menon, the director along with Ritesh Shah and Suresh Nair, the writers present to you a visual treat of father-son bonding – a topic which is rarely touched. We just remember the society going ga-ga over Sridevi’s Mom which depicted a mother’s resolve to fight for justice for her daughter. But let’s hook up for a while and talk a little bit about the glaring importance of fathers in life.
Of course, we had a convenient ex-wife Radha who actually wants that her son should know his father and get the father’s love – his biological and natural right. Radha can surely play as a role model for many young women who are currently separated from their husbands – in the wake of rising divorce rates in India – and take a cue from Radha’s life and not play spoilsport in the bonding that the children share with their fathers.
But more than that, the movie scores at its human angle. Roshan is not a perfect husband, nor is he a perfect father and definitely not a perfect upper middle class man for he’s impulsive, emotional and slightly less practical. But here’s what, Roshan’s a human being, a human who makes effort and in the process, not only improves his own life but of his people around him.
Milind Soman’s fans will have a surprising treat here with his small role wherein he plays a crucial part of helping Roshan understand what he truly wants. The film has many light moments which will tell you that one can always enjoy the small things in life. It also shows how we lay traps for our own selves and then find a blame partner.
The father-son bonding angle isn’t just limited to Roshan and his son, but also extends to that of Roshan with his father.
The cinematography by Priya Seth is fresh and gives us a scenic view of Kerala and the highway from Kerala to Delhi as Roshan and Armaan embark on their journey to discover life. The stopovers at Goa and the intermediate villages is an eye candy and one enjoys the journey along with the father-son duo.
Very rarely does one see a simple and beautiful movie that also speaks of National Integration. So, a Punjabi Chef from Delhi marries a Malayalam girl from Kochi and goes along with his half-Punjabi half Mallu son along with a Malayalam driver (played by Dinesh Prabhakar), a Bengali cooking assistant (played by Chandan Roy Sanyal of Google App Ads fame) and meets Kannadiga musician Raghu Dixit on the way.
Along with new food dishes, the film also offers a range of emotions – disenchantment, wanting, repressed anger, suppressed emotions, happiness, sadness, belongingness which offer an overall smooth experience of watching this sweet movie.
Do watch this movie with family and friends for a memorable time.
This review has been contributed by our Guest reviewer