Sunday, November 04, 2012

Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana 

Punjabi Tadka

Words from the wise:  You want to see a comedy, go see the reissue of Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron.

Debutant Sameer Sharma’s film Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana is the one thing a comedy should not be –laboured.

It’s set in a non-Bollywood Punjab that’s not all mustard fields and soni kudis with flying dupattas. But one set of Punjab clichés is replaced by another. A bunch of loud, crazy characters and much ado about food.

A flatulent old man, Daarji (Vinod Nagpal), suffers from memory loss before he can reveal to his family the secret ingredient to a signature dish—Chicken Khurana. The family’s dhaba is in trouble unless the ingredient is revealed. A pretty flimsy premise to base a film on.
The senior Khurana’s prodigal grandson Omi (Kunal Kapoor), who had stolen from the family and run off to England, returns because he owes money to a gangster.  He comes back with a selfish motive and fake stories about his success in London, but you can predict that Punjabi generosity and love will reform the good-for-nothing.  Back home are the oddballs—his beleaguered aunt and uncle (Seema Kaushal-Jitendra Sethi), another nutty uncle Titu (Rajesh Sharma), wimpy cousin Jeet (Rahul Bagga), Omi’s old flame Harman (Huma Qureshi) and a godwoman (Dolly Ahluwalia). Jeet is engaged to Harman, but in love with another.  The romance rekindling between Omi and Harman is one of the better parts of the film, mainly because the actress looks the khaati-peeti type, like she belongs to the Punjabi pind.

This kind of one-idea situation needed a lot more spice in the writing, a snappier pace and much better supporting cast.  Of the lot Rajesh Sharma is the best, and lifts every scene in which he appears. Kunal Kapoor, whose travails you are supposed to be interested in, has even less zing than that mystery masala.
Still, Sharma can be commended for attempting a character-driven comedy, and showing Hindi film viewers a fresh picture of rural Punjab—there are a few laughs there, but not enough to rush and buy a pricey multiplex ticket.  Amit Trivedi’s music adds to the cheery mood.


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