Jon Favreau’s chef was a light hearted film that radiated a positive vibe even after being a template self discovering inspiring film. Staying close to the driving emotions of the film was the key thing that made Favreau’s Chef a hearty movie. When it comes to the Hindi version (Indian version would be the more appropriate word) by Raja Krishna Menon, the tone of the treatment is the same. But the elaborateness isn’t really helping the film. Even though the film is an easy breezy happy one, the pace will bother you.
Roshan Kalra is a chef in the US and the divorced man is going through a mid life crisis period and he doesn’t have the same kind of passion towards cooking which he had in the beginning years. After being thrown out of the job, the only option he had was to visit his son who is living with his mom in Kerala. The film shows us how this journey to Kerala and then to Delhi helps Roshan in reinventing himself in being a better human being.
Any story when remade in India does tend to go a little more cheesy and preachy. The same thing happens here too. We like having back stories and the writing team of Chef has added too many subplots and back stories to give a background to Roshan. Favreau’s chef never lingered on such emotional baggage and it was certain subtle things the characters spoke that gave us an idea about the characters. Raja Krishna Menon’s Chef is positive in its attire, but that subtlety is not there. The tempo of this movie is a little too sluggish.
Saif Ali Khan gets to do a role that isn’t necessarily in his comfort zone. He is playing a 41 year old, who is a panting unfit egoistic guy and it is nice to see a Bollywood Khan doing such stuff with conviction. It was funny when he made a reference about his character in Dil Chahtha Hei at one point. The gorgeous Padmapriya elegantly plays the role of the mother. Young Svar Kamble was fine and Chandan Roy Sanyal was the perfect replacement for John Leguizamo. Milind Soman, Dinesh Prabhakar and a few more are there in the cast.
Airlift fame Raja Krishna Menon doesn’t try to make the film extremely preachy. But when compared to the original it looks a bit too verbal. Like I said in the beginning, the writing that tries to build backdrops for characters by going into so much of details reduces the vibrancy of the story. Some of the major things in original like the food critic thing were understandably taken out as it was an alien concept here. But the replacements to those aspects weren’t that appealing. The sort of realness in treatment of each scene keeps you occupied for sure and that is the best part of this film. The landscapes of Kerala and visuals of well made food make the cinematography of the movie a really good one. The music also works in favor of the film and I loved the Raghu Dixit track.
Chef is a Bollywood film and for that reason it has this extra thick layer of melodrama and blatant pitching of a self discovery theme. It is inferior to the original version made in 2014, but still a pretty decent film that does keep you engaged.
Chef is inferior to the original version made in 2014, but still a pretty decent film that does keep you engaged.