Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Padmapriya, Svar Kamble
Director: Raja Krishna Menon
Producers: T-Series/Abudantia Entertainment
Rating: 3/5 stars
Jon Favreau’s 2014 sleeper hit Chef gets a remake from the (very able) hands of the Airlift director Raja Krishna Menon, who chooses to add ingredients like the suave Saif Ali Khan, the magnetic Padmarpiya and the adorable Svar Kamble amongst many other ingredients of his own. The remake has turned out to be a graceful one and we seldom had any complaints. Here’s our complete take on it.
Chef introduces us to Roshan Kalra (the younger version Saif Ali Khan’s character), a Chandni Chowk based aspiring chef who runs away from the clutches of his patriarch father at the age of 15 to pursue his dream. Fast forward to years later where Roshan is the head chef in a New York-based Indian eatery with passion hiding under his ego. He gets fired due to anger issues and comes back to Kochi (the director’s beautiful native town) to get some space and try to revive his fractured relationship with his son (played beautifully by Svar Kamble) and also his ex-wife (played by a confident and smart Padmapriya), from there on, the story is on the similar lines of the original Chef.
Although the opening scene didn’t make all that much sense and Saif aka Roshan’s anger in his opening sequence felt a bit exaggerated, it was almost entirely uphill from there. The film went on at a decent pace and the strengthening father-son relationship can be felt. Although there were a few editing flaws, there was nothing so sinister about that. Padmapriya has kept us invested as Saif’s ex-wife but still a friend. It showed that the director had no apprehensions in showing such kind of dynamic and that too in such a mature manner. Kudos to that! Although utterly confident, Padmarpiya misses to emote at places, but you can overlook that easily.
Saif looked a little unconfident in delivering his lines at times, but he was saved by smart writing and his charisma and on-point comic timing. He really worked hard to get the knife work and the art of making a Rotzza (a crossover of Roti and Pizza). Also, the scenes where he paid great attention to every minute detail of his dishes were quite mouth-watering. Saif delivers a pretty good performance overall.
Debutant Svar Kamble managed to do real good justice to his part of a son who never really had a father around when needed. Here’s hoping to see more of him.
Talking about Svar, one such scene delivered by him truly left the mark. It was when Saif tried to discipline him but overdoes it and later goes to apologize but Svar says ‘I’m sorry, but I’m not used to learning from you’. That, in a nutshell, showed the perils of not being for your child when he/she needs a parent the most.
The character of Robert Downey Jr. has also been aptly recast in this remake, and we can assure you that you won’t be disappointed.
In the second half, it all becomes about the father and son and the food was just the dressing to keep in line with the theme. Saif’s driver, known as Alex had some prominence but the father-son bonding, amidst all the delicacies that were being served as hot cakes, became a little bland, but, there were some really charming moments. There was also a scene which will take all the fans of the classic hit Dil Chahta Hai on a nostalgia trip and the scene itself would make you give you a feel that Chef is some kind of a spin-off on Saif’s character from that film.
Overall, director Raja Krishna Menon takes a few ingredients from the original dish, adds his spices, his own idea of Malayali flavor and cooks up a dish with amazing consistency. Although one would really like to know as to what ultimately led to the couple’s separation, but instead the director choses to sum it all up in a song (Darmiyan). But, that will not stop you from enjoying this slice-of-life drama.
We recommend that you make time for this delicious film!