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Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Padmapriya Janakiraman, Svar Kamble, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Milind Soman
Director: Raja Krishna Menon
Producers: Bhushan Kumar, Krishnan Kumar, Raja Krishna Menon, Vikram Malhotra, Janani Ravichandran
Writers: Ritesh Shah, Suresh Nair, Raja Krishna Menon
What's Yay: Saif Ali Khan, Svar Kamble, Cinematography
What's Nay: The narrative slows down at certain places, underwhelming climax
Popcorn Refill: Interval
Iconic Moment: The scenes involving Saif and his ex wife's close friend played by Milind Soman are garnished with wry humour and worth watching.
Roshan Kalra (Saif Ali Khan) is a Michelin three-starred chef at a plush Indian restaurant in New York. However, when one of his customers finds fault in his food, Kalra loses his temper and ends up punching the guy's nose.
While everyone around 'Roshan K' believes that he has lost his Midas touch, the man refuses to get a reality check. As repercussions of his actions, he ends up getting fired from his job.
Meanwhile, his good friend and ex- colleague Vinnie (Shobita Dhulipal) convinces him to use this hiatus to visit his ex- wife Radha (Padmapriya Janakiraman) and his son Armaan aka 'Arri' (Svar Kamble) who live in Cochin.
The rest of the film revolves around how this 'life-changing' trip brings him closer to his son and helps him rediscover his knack for cooking.
Raja Krishna Menon almost ends up whipping a delicious dish. His slice-of-life film touches upon many subplots with food as a backdrop. It talks about mid-life crisis, a failed marriage, a fractured father-son relationship and single parenting.
This Saif Ali Khan offering is a Hindi adaptation of 2014 Jon Favreau starrer Chef. While we don't get see many food films in Bollywood, Chef makes up for an interesting watch solely for the concept and some good performances. What works for the film is that Menon has set his drama in his native land which makes it all the more believable.
On the flip side, there are a few loose strings at a couple of places in the writing. Saif's decision to be a culinary sell-out by starting a food truck is a bit swift. The backstory about why he got divorced is also hurriedly explained with just a song. Not to forget, the dramatic, undercooked climax that just refuses to fit into this lip-smacking dish.
Saif Ali Khan is quite effortless before the camera. It's refreshing to watch him play a divorced, middle-aged man as he delivers one of his most matured performances in recent times.
Padmapriya Janakiraman as Radha is superlative and carries herself with elegance on screen. Svar Kamble is a burst of talent. Chandan Roy Sanyal is fun and lends a good support.
Uff! and did we tell you that there's a deliciously salt-and-pepper Milind Soman who would leave the females go ohlalaa over his sexy avatar in a well-draped mundu! Even in his limited screen-time, he keeps you captivated.
Chef tantalizes your food buds with its visually appealing shots of 'khaana'. Right from chhole bature, tamatar ki chutney, idiyappam, pasta to a sumptuous langar meal, there's plenty for you to dig into!
Priya Seth's cinematography captures the picturesque backwaters of Kerala with finesse. The film is a slick production and scores high when it comes to visuals. Shivkumar. Panicker's editing could have been a little taut.
Barring Shugal Laga Le, none of the tracks leave a mark.
This Saif Ali Khan starrer reminded me of George Bernard Shaw's famous quote, 'There is no love sincerer than the love of food'. Chef has all the right ingredients. At times, a few of them may fall a little less or a little more. But, it still makes up for some comfort food for the soul, for sure!