Movie Review: Chef

RATING: 3/5

OVERVIEW: From his childhood in Chandni Chowk, Roshan Kalra (Saif Ali Khan) had a passion for food, so much that he ran away from home to follow up on it. Now in his forties, Roshan is an acclaimed chef in a New York restaurant with three Michelin stars. He is also a divorcee with a son Armaan aka Arry (Svar Kamble) who is staying with his ex-wife Radha (Padmapriya) in Kochi.

Off-late, he has lost his innate passion for cooking, treating it more as a livelihood, and has become more aggressive in nature. As a display of his new-found aggression, Roshan punches a restaurant patron who was critical of his food. He lands in jail and later loses his job too. On his friend’s suggestion, he goes to Kerala to bond with his son. As he mends his relationship with Arry, it also gives him an opportunity to regain his passion for the art of cooking. How this reignited passion takes Roshan and his son on a life-changing cross-country trip from Kerala to Delhi is what the rest of the movie is all about.

REVIEW: Any non-Indian film whose typical scene breakdown is “food, food, life lesson, food, snappy musical montage, food” is begging for a Bollywood do-over. Director Raja Krishna Menon takes the warm vibes of Jon Favreau’s 2014 Chef (this is an official Hindi version) and makes them warmer.

It helps that there are actual actors on hand this time: Padmapriya does beautifully by Radha, Roshan’s ex-wife (the character’s been fleshed out from the bit part Sofia Vergara played in the original) and Favreau’s strangely offhand attitude towards his son is replaced by a much more convivial relationship between Roshan and Armaan (Svar Kamble).

Raja Krishna Menon binds the story very well. Choosing the tough way of avoiding cut-copy-paste, he does justice to the script and shows us how an official adaption should be treated like. He hits some and he misses some but the bottom line is – Chef is a delicious treat to your cinematic taste buds.

Today after going through Hans Zimmer’s magic in Blade Runner 2049, Raghu Dixit keeps the musical level high with Chef. Every song is very well placed but my personal picks are Darmiyaan, Banjara & Shugal Laga Le. If you don’t suffer from ‘log kya kahenge’ syndrome, you’ll find yourself get up and dance to Shugal Laga Le. Raghu Dixit, please stay regular in Bollywood.

Final verdict of the film is it is majorly a story of values, family and love.Aided by Saif, Padmapriya and Svar’s performances and Menon’s confident direction, Chef merges family drama with food appreciation in a nearly seamless manner.Chef is a breezy watch that will leave you with a desperate craving for food.