Chef – Film Review. #writebravely


Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Padmapriya Janakiraman, Milind Soman, Neha Saxena. Svar Kamble, Chandan Roy Sanyal. Dinesh Prabhakar.

Director: Raja Krishna Menon.

Genre: Drama.


The story: 

An adaptation of Jon Favreau’s film by the same name,  Chef is the story of  Roshan Kalra (Saif Ali Khan) and his  search for true happiness and  rediscovering his passion in life.

A fight with a diner at the eatery where he is a chef leads to Saif losing his job. He flies  to India to spend some  time with his teenaged son, (Svar – good choice!).  There he meets Bijoy (Milind Soman – looking hot in a Mundu), his ex-wife’s (Padmapriya – beautiful and restrained ) friend and his son’s favourite uncle. Bijoy  offers his old, rusty, broken-down double-decker bus to Saif to convert it into a swanky  kitchen on wheels and help him get back on his feet and  his passion.

The rest of the film is about how Saif bonds with his son, works on the bus, transforms it into a popular eatery on wheels and begins  life afresh. Oh, yes, thrown in for some desi tadka  (in typical Bollywood-style)  is Saif’s reconciliation with his estranged father who had disowned his son for running away  from home to fulfil his dream of becoming a chef.

Review:  Let me begin by asking if you have seen the Hollywood film, Chef, starring Jon Favreau; the film that revolves around food and the passion that the adorably chubby Jon has for food? If you have seen it,  I am sure you enjoyed it immensely, and not once were you not convinced that Jon was  not a real chef, isn’t it?

Okay, then, the review of the Indian Chef, is sure going to break your heart, because, our Bollywood Chef is anything but its Hollywood original. Sad, but true. Have you seen Saif Ali Khan’s Salaam Namastey? His character in and as Chef is just an extension of that in Salaam Namastey (SN), with a few changes made here and there, so watch the film at your own discretion.

I hadn’t seen SN when it released back then, but happened to watch parts of the film yesterday on TV. And, the one thing that struck me was the similarity in many a scene from the two movies. Saif was a chef with a bad temper in SN and Saif is a chef with a bad temper in Chef. Saif chopped onions in SN and he  chops onions in Chef. He was an unruly kid  with an attitude in SN, and he is an unruly kid with an attitude in Chef, with the only difference being that now he has a teenage son, who comes across as much more matured and understanding than the father!

So, that’s Saif’s character in Chef in a nutshell. This review may come across as extremely critical of Saif, but frankly, I expected better things from this actor who wowed the audience with his portrayal of the wicked Langda Tyaagi in Omkara. I also saw shades of his character from Cocktail/Hum Tum and, of course, SN in the Roshan of Chef.  I failed to see the passion in his eyes for food, his culinary skills and his maturity as an actor, the kind that I saw in Jon Favreau.

Of course, it is also the director’s fault that he showed Saif preparing just a couple of dishes (pasta and Rottza  only) in the entire movie, chopping only onions and chillies and blanching some tomatoes. The scene in the original Chef, when Jon prepares a toasted cheese sandwich for his son is imprinted in my mind, and the memory makes me ravenous! In fact, I drool over every scene that has Jon  in his kitchen,  at the sight of the food and at the sight of the chubby chef! That so did not happen in our HIndi Chef, and all that disenchantment  is the reason this review may not come across as favourable to Saif Ali Khan fans.

There are a couple of songs – the main ingredient in any Bollywood film, but that’s okay, or rather, expected. Padmapriya  and Milind Soman come across as patronising; like they have taken it upon themselves to get Saif back on track! I wish Saif had been shown in a better light, standing up for himself and not being treated as a kid with no direction in life!

The scenes between him and his son, the young Svar, make for some warm moments in an otherwise bland plot. But, my main gripe is about the  lack of scenes revolving around the main subject of the film. I wish Saif had been shown cooking much more, and with an obsession that I know foodies possess. Yes, he did master the art of chopping and flambeing, but there was a lot more expected from a foodie film.

My verdict: I can watch the English Chef countless times and still drool over it, but not the Indian version. So, sorry Saif, but this film gets a thumbs down from me. I would much rather watch you in Omkara and be in awe of the fine actor that you really can be!


Linking this post to The WriteTribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge.

#writebravely        #writetribeproblogger



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Published by shilpagupte

Do you know the secret to living a happy life? Eat. Pray. Love. Or, watch what you eat, wish well for all and fill your heart with love! That's precisely what I try to do through my blogs: 'Metanoia', the wellness blogazine, and 'Fictionista', my blog for fiction and non-fiction. Welcome to my virtual homes!

34 thoughts on “Chef – Film Review. #writebravely

  1. Yeah, Sid, just what I thought, too! Only pasta and that too with only onions and chillies…He should have learnt some more, prepared for the role some more – it would have helped him portray a chef convincingly!
    Yes, I did read your update about the movie on fb. I really felt so bad – for Saif and for myself! I went there with great expectations! 😜


  2. Believe it or not, I am yet to see the English movie Chef, and all these reviews have now convinced me to see that one, and NOT see this one. Thanks for sharing, Shilpa. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such an absolute pity. It could have been a fantastic film. The trouble with Bollywood is that it puts too much drama in everything. That said, I might still go watch it :-).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the original film Chef for the same reasons that you pointed out; Jon’s passion for food and how he feels about the restaurant owner discarding his ideas; or his explosion over the food critic – all of it brings out a chef style image! Yup that cheese sandwich makes me drool badly too and I can watch this movie umpteen number of times too!
    I didnt have much hope from Saif as I think his stellar roles were much before he hyped into this “Star” – Being Cyrus, Dil Chahta hai and ofcourse Omkara – just brilliant stuff from him! Thank you for this great review of the movie as I can ensure my friends dont waste money!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This was my fear that seems to have come true! Saddened..I love love the movie Chef with Jon and was scared the bollywood one would somehow taint it. The lack of passion is what I saw in the trailer too and let out a silent scream in my head begging them not to do this!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh Crap! I really wanted to watch this movie! I had absolutely loved the Hollywood film, but reading yours and Sid’s on Fb makes me want to just make a pass. Maybe I will watch it when it comes on TV.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Shalz, do that…don’t waste your money on it , instead watch some other, better film. I want to watch The Blade Runner. I am sure it will be a good watch! Definitely better than Chef! 😛


  7. I think this might be the new “craze”. making English films into Hindi. I hear The Fault in Our Stars is also being made in Hindi 😦 The soul of a good movie gets lost in the drama/masala that Indian cinema adds. I remember Hitch being made into Partner too. Thank you for the review. I will take the decision not to cook myself into a headache by watching the Hindi Chef.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hitch was made into Partner? That’s news, and I am sure they must have spoilt it completely! Why do they do that? And, now The fault in our Stars, too? Ufff….I am sure not going to watch that one!


  8. What I get from your post is to watch the Hollywood movie 😉
    I don’t watch many movies so I wasn’t even aware this was released.
    I liked your honest review and trust me, I’m as usual not going to watch the HIndi movie 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jon Favreau’s Chef is one of my favorite movies ever! The scene that you have mentioned where he prepares a sandwich for his son shows that the love he has for cooking is more than the love he has for his son. That shows the essence of the movie!

    The hindi chef went down the drain for me the minute I heard that it had a South Indian setting with a mallu ex-wife. While I don’t mind Milind Soman in a mundu, I don’t think I’ll want to watch this otherwise. I love food so much, I cannot see it being mocked in an average script.

    I’d rather watch Jon Favreau again 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Shilpa, you are so right about the original Chef. A chef should be in love with the food he prepares and love the process of making the delicious dishes. I can imagine Saif awkwardly holding the knife and acting like a star but what he should have done is forget his stardom and act like a true actor. The director plays a major role in getting his actors to perform to their true potential. Rajkumar rao would have done justice to this role, he can do any role because he is amazing. I am his fan since I saw Bareilly ki Barfi 🙂 I didn’t go to see the fake chef because I didn’t want to be disappointed after having seen the real Chef 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sulekha, for a change, Saif was holding the knife quite like a pro, but failed to deliver a good dish. I so agree with you, Rajkumar Rao would definitely have done a far better job. He is one talented actor whose passion shows in the work he delivers.


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