Chef (2017): Movie Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews 

Svar Kamble with Saif Ali Khan

Directed by Raja Krishna Menon, who previously directed the Akshay Kumar blockbuster Airlift, Chef, is a film about an Indian chef, working abroad, named Roshan Kalra, who gets fired for assaulting a white man after the latter complains about the quality of food served at a food joint he was overseeing. Kalra, who has a son back in India, travels to Kochi to spend some time with him. In Kochi he learns that his ex-wife, a dancer by profession, is dating a rich landlord. What ensues is a journey of self-realization for Roshan as he tries to start afresh while desperately trying to mend the old relationships. The film costars Padmapriya Janakiraman, Sobhita Dhulipala, Svar Kamble, Milind Soman, and Chandan Roy Sanyal. Chef is a remake of a 2014 American film of the same name, directed by Jon Favreau.

Although Chef is made in the vein of modern slice-of-life films it offers much more. Without relying heavily on flashbacks, the movie succeeds in presenting us with the back stories of the key characters. Like, for example, we are told very clearly how a young Roshan had run away from his house with the dream of becoming a cook. How he had struggled day in and day out to survive until he could finally fulfill his dream. This is achieved quite effectively through voiceovers and dialogues and without any flashbacks. It is precisely what a film like Jab Harry Met Sejal lacked. Today, Bollywood films are trying to find new ways of telling the stories and in doing so they are breaking free of the old conventions while experimenting with more unconventional narrative tropes.  

Sail Ali Khan as Roshan in Chef

Chef is a cute little film about life and what it takes to follow one's dreams. Saif Ali Khan shines in this flawed film marred by occasional pacing issues. The acting is solid all around. Chef features some memorable performances from the likes of Padmapriya Janakiraman, Svar Kamble, and Milind Soman. The film features a cameo from a promising young actor named Abhishek Kumar who is quite active on the Delhi theatre circuit. He is certainly one exciting actor to look out for. Perhaps, the only weakling in the acting department is actress Sobhita Dhulipala who fails to match the intensity she exuded in Raman Raghav 2.0. The screenplay is rather weak but the direction and cinematography more or less make up for what the film lacks in the writing department. Chef is not your run-of-the-mill commercial entertainer but it is certainly a film that has enough to keep one engaged for the most part.

Rating: 7/10

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Chef (2017) - Official Trailer (YouTube)

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