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Chef  : Lays Out A Spread
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Friday, October 6, 2017
Raja Krishna Menon
Saif Ali Khan, Padmapriya, Dhanish Karthik, Lynn Marocola

While the concept of a divorced father making up for lost time with his young son andbonding over a restaurant on wheels comes from Jon Favreau’s Chef, director Raja Menon turns it into a brochure on God’s own country. Menon sets his relationships story against a backdrop of Kerala backwaters, boats, elephants and men in lungis with some Bharat Natyam and coconut water thrown in.


But there’s nothing traditional about the Hindi version of a Michelin star chef as this caters to a chic, urban audience peppered with dialogues in English and a lifestyle that’s completely contemporary.


Losing his temper and then his job in New York gives chef Roshan Kalra the time to fly down and touch base with his son Armaan who lives with mother Radha in Kerala.It’s a change from being a Skype dad.


It’s leisurely unfolded that Roshan, the quintessential Chandni Chowk guy weaned on chole bhature, had run away from home to become a chef and lost touch with his father.En route he wedded and divorced Radha who has her own life as a dancer and has perhaps moved on in her personal life too. There’s a Richie-rich businessman Biju Uncle hovering around in Radha’s and Armaan’s lives.


It’s rather pat that Radha has to leave for Europe which throws Roshan and Armaan together and from Kerala it turns into Kalra time. This includes a visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar where the daily langar, the free food for all, had taught Roshan about khaana, khilana and seva years ago.


The pace drops in quite a few places as Roshan’s Raasta Café goes down a predictable road with Armaan, buddy Nazrul who’s flown in from New York to help him and champion driver Abdul. There’s a pitstop in Goa too where musician Raghu Dixit comes in for some song and guitar strumming in a lungi.


While the theme has metropolish, the convenient screenplay stops this sweet film from being a super experience.


But the performances prevent a visible slump. It’s Saif Ali Khan’s first mature role in years as he plays a 41-year-old, a bit stocky with no flat abs. Saif looks comfortable with the kitchen knives as Roshan Kalra. Padmapriya as ex-wife Radha is endearing with large beautiful eyes.


Chandan Roy Sanyal as Nazrul and Dhanish Kharthik as driver Abdul are good as support pillars. With lungis in abundance, Milind Soman also turns up in one as Biju Uncle.


For a film that’s refreshing in its visuals and stylish in execution, Chef gets a 3* rating.


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author
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