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Times of India
CHEF WORKS ON YOUR HUNGER FOR EMOTION
Roshan Kalra(Saif) is a three-star Michelin chef who gets fired from New York's Gulli restaurant after he punches a customer. Forced to take a break, he flies to Kochi to spend time with his son, Armaan (Svar) and his estranged wife Radha Menon (Padmapriya). It's a fruitful trip because he manages to mend broken family ties. In a bid to help him get his mojo back, his wife suggests he put up his own food truck and begin afresh.
Taking inspiration from Hollywood's delectable film of the same name made by Jon Favreau in 2014, director Raja Krishna Menon gives us a slice-of-life film that satiates the palette and tugs at your heartstrings. Chef works on two levels. First, it takes you on a gastronomical adventure; one in which the protagonist's culinary skills will have you reaching out for your apron, knives and heading to the kitchen in a bid to try making some of the finger-licking food shown on screen.
But most importantly, the film is an emotional journey that ties up all the loose ends between fathers and sons, whose ideologies may differ but who still share a deep bond that is impossible to shake off. This is handled so deftly; it leaves you teary-eyed on occasion. Chef also throws up the merits of co-parenting, which is a constant state in today's urban society.
Leading the performances is Saif Ali Khan. The actor is in brilliant form, both as the hot-headed 'menopausal' man and later as the caring father/husband who is keen to cement ties. Padmapriya is like luscious chocolate who leaves you with a craving. Svar is a preteen you can identify with. Sobhita Dhulipala (Vinnie), who shows up briefly as Roshan's co-worker and friend is good.
The film takes you on a fun-filled road trip with food and family as the focus. There are few dramatic confrontations but Ritesh Shah's dialogues are smart and witty. The pace though is a bit slow; the feeling is similar to the one where you are sitting famished at the lunch table and the order arrives after a part of your hunger has dissipated.
So what's the final take? Well, though, Chef is predictable in parts, the journey is an enjoyable one. Choose what you wish to eat while watching it. Popcorn or some of that delicious pasta which Roshan K whips up in a jiffy.
Our overall critics rating is not an average of the sub score below.