Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana

The case of the missing ‘masala’

Pic Source: Wikipedia

Bollywood has made a habit of churning out irresistibly fun trailers for films that are ordinary at best. The funniest parts of the films are incorporated in the two-and-a-half minute preview and the rest of the 118-minutes dull minutes are served after you shell out a hefty sum for the ticket. That’s the problem with director, Sameer Sharma’s first film, Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana (LSTCK). It is not a bad film but does not live up to what one expected after watching the trailer.

LSTCK has a very interesting premise with a man looking for his grand-father’s secret recipe for the famous dish of Chicken Khurana (Hollywood can think about making Ocean’s Fourteen where Clooney and friends go about stealing the secret recipe of KFC’s fried chicken or Coke’s formula). With this interesting premise and a few interestingly written characters, the film is watchable and enjoyable in parts. But it lacks the chutzpah of a fun film with Punjabis as main characters like Vicky Donor, Khosla Ka Ghosla or Oye Lucky Lucky Oye.

Kunal Kapoor plays Omi, a Punjabi guy in London who returns to his village in Punjab to get some money from his family to pay off his debts – a family that he abandoned ten years ago. However, he finds that the source of his family’s fortune – the famous dhaba (highway restaurant), Chicken Khurana, named after his Daarji (grandfather) and his popular chicken dish – is now shut. Daarji (Vinod Nagpal) now suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and no one else has the secret recipe for the dish. He also meets his cousin Jeet (Rahul Bagga) who has a secret of his own; his childhood sweetheart, Harman (Huma Qureshi) who is now engaged to Jeet; his maternal uncle, Titu Mama (Rajesh Sharma) and a great-aunt, Buaji (Dolly Ahluwalia) who is a self-proclaimed spiritual guru.

Writers (Sharma and Sumit Batheja) have developed some good characters but been unable to give them enough witty lines and situations. There is a scene where the whole family expresses concern over Omi not having a change of underwear; then there are a few with Titu Mama that leave you laughing out loud. But that’s about it; the emotional scenes do not do much for you and Omi and Harman’s romance also does not have that spark. The revelation of Chicken Khurana’s recipe is an interesting twist though.

Casting (Mukesh Chhabra) for the film is perfect except for one major role which is Omi’s. I like Kunal Kapoor a lot and his sincerity and charm worked well in Rang De Basanti. However, he seems a misfit in the role of a rascal in this film. Rajesh Sharma as Titu Mama is the highlight of the film and Huma Qureshi has an amazing screen presence. Music by Amit Trivedi is largely based on Punjabi folk and goes well with the film but nothing memorable.

Overall, LSTCK is an average entertainer but I wonder if you’d choose this one over Mr. Bond’s next adventure that hits the theatres on the same day.

Vicky Donor

A surprise package…  

Pic source: Wikipedia

I did not expect much from this film made by a not so successful director, a new producer (John Abraham) and a cast led by a TV anchor and a soap actress. However, director, Shoojit Sircar’s Vicky Donor surprised me with good writing, fine performances and its overall entertainment value. Full marks for writer, Juhi Chaturvedi who handled a taboo subject like sperm donation so well and came up with a witty screenplay that never gets insensitive or vulgar.

Vicky Donor is a young Punjabi boy, Vicky Arora’s (Ayushmann Khurrana) story who aspires to get a respectable job but like many youngsters today, is lazy to go out and do something about it. He stays in Lajpat Nagar with his mother Dolly (Dolly Ahluwalia) who runs a beauty parlor and Biji (Kamlesh Gill), his grandmother who wants a 32GB iPhone and 42inch LCD TV. Vicky is pursued by Dr. Baldev Chaddha (Annu Kapoor), a fertility expert, to donate his sperm as he is a true ‘Aryaputra’ (of Aryan descent). Vicky sees easy money in this scheme and after a lot of convincing by Dr. Chaddha, he agrees to become a sperm donor. His life starts changing when he falls in love with a Bengali bank executive, Ashima Roy (Yami Gautam).

Both Yami and Ayushmann are confident and have great screen presence; they also look good together and are relatable. Their love story has loopholes, like the girl and her family being completely blind to what the guy does, but all that can be ignored. However, trouble begins in the second half where the story falters a bit more. The conflict and the final resolution are nothing great and pale in comparison to the stellar first half. Juhi Chaturvedi has written fabulous dialogues and there are funny moments throughout the film, therefore she can be forgiven for the silly climax. The supporting cast is absolutely brilliant, especially Kamlesh Gill as Biji who is progressive and has a great sense of humour. Annu Kapoor is good but gets a little irritating as the part where he convinces Vicky is really stretched. Actors playing Ashima’s father and aunt are also good; there is a fabulous sequence of Bengali vs. Punjabi conflict and they shine through against the ‘uncultured’ business minded Punjabis.

Shoojit Sircar has a done a fine job with the film and it would have been perfect if he got the editor (Shekhar Prajapati) to cut it short by at least 20-minutes.

Go watch Vicky Donor this week in theatres, you won’t regret it.