This is based on Jon Farveau’s 2014 caper with the same name, albeit a very desi and under-spiced version. Its actually got the casting spot-on with many hitherto unknown faces which deliver great performances. The story revolves around Roshan kalra played by Saif Ali Khan, who has a past, wherein he flees from his Chandni Chowk home to pursue his dreams, but somehow is caught up in upper-middle class rut in new York and time gets the better of him. His relationship with his son and imparting life lessons and experiences while working and exploring North Indian delicacies.
In one breakfast scene Armaan introduces Roshan to his favourite breakfast joint
How really does he find his feet and realise things which are important to him is what the films all about. Seems familiar, its exactly what the problem with this film is. Its just a tad too simplistic. So is all lost not really.
There are a lot of things which are going positive for Chef. Chiefly amongst them are Saif Ali Khan with a decent performance, padampriya janakiraman ( a fairly well known Malayali actress) who has a breezy screen prescence, followed by a young and easy on the eye Svar Kamble both essaying the roles of Roshan’s ex-wife and his son. Pleasantly surprised to see Riju Bajaj in a blink in a miss shot, good see him post his 90’s films namely “Sooraj’s Satavaa Ghoda” and other films. Special mention to actors like Chandan Roy Sanyal and Dinesh Prabhaker who have made impressive acting contributions. Besides the cast the cinematography and the music departments score. The music by Amaal Mallik and Raghu Dixit is very fresh and fairly captures the moods particularly well. Priya Seth too captures Kerala, Goa, New Delhi and other locales fairly well.
From a foodie perspective some interesting dishes are Idiappam(Steamed rice noodles), Ela Ada (A rice pan cake stuffed with jaggery and grated coconut) and Avial (a vegetable dish with cucumber, brinjal, drumstick and grated coconut) from Kerala. Prawn curry and Rawa Fish fry from Goa and Kachori and Chole Bhature from Delhi, Sandhya C Kumar a chef, food stylist and a food and beverage consultant based in Kochi who has in fact cooked the dishes.
There are some special moments specially the father son moments and the cooking experiments on the truck. Their invention which is named by Armaan as the Rotzaa! But such food magic moments are far and few. It is a decent attempt by director Raja Krishna Menon post his commercially successful film “Airlift”. However the writing is fairly ordinary and the lines are sometimes funny but often aren’t upto the mark.
Overall a watchable film which could have delivered more.