COVER STORY RESTAURANT SPECIAL

The reel connect

Some Indian films that had food as a central theme

57-cheeni-kum

CHEENI KUM
(Hindi, 2007)

Tabu is not happy with the zaffrani pulao served to her by chef Amitabh Bachchan at his top London restaurant, so she makes a better one, then and there. What follows is a roller coaster romance where the two are separated by their age, background, ego, preferences and demeanour, and united by their love for good food. Don’t be fooled by the title, there is saccharine sweetness all over in this R.Balki romance.

USTAD HOTEL
(Malayalam, 2012)

Dulquer Salmaan plays Faizal, whose father doesn’t like the idea of his son becoming a chef abroad, so he confiscates his passport. A frustrated Faizal has no other option but to stay back in India and join his grandfather’s beach-facing restaurant Ustad Hotel, much to his father’s chagrin. He learns, from his grandfather, life lessons like the relationship between food and love, putting one’s heart and soul into whatever one does, the importance of helping others and how good food always brings people together.

STANLEY KA DABBA
(Hindi, 2011)

A teacher who steals his students’ food, raucous kids, school bells and lunch tiffins. If that doesn’t set you on a nostalgic trip, what will? The film tells the poignant tale of a boy who works in a roadside dhaba (food stall) with food all around, but never much for himself.

THE LUNCHBOX
(English and Hindi, 2013)

Internationally acclaimed, this bittersweet romance unravels around a mistaken delivery in Mumbai’s lunchbox delivery system. The lunchbox packed by frustrated housewife Nimrat Kaur for her husband is wrongly delivered to a brooding widower (played by Irrfan Khan). Soon, a love story develops over a shared affinity to food, through the notes they pass to each other through the dabba (lunchbox), and sadly never meeting each other. Or do they?

SALT N’ PEPPER
(Malayalam, 2011)

Aashiq Abu’s Malayalam film Salt N’ Pepper, about a telephone call to a wrong number leading to two people finding love over a shared interest in food, was a sleeper hit in Kerala. It was remade in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. Net result? Every self-respecting bakery and cafe in south India had to have a Rainbow Cake (featured in the movie) in their menu!