Films | Luv, Shuv, Tey Chicken Khurana – Movie Review

Luv, Shuv, Tey Chicken Khurana – Movie Review

Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on November 2, 2012 | No Comments

FILM – Luv, Shuv, Tey Chicken Khurana
PRODUCER – Ronnie Screwvala, Anurag Kashyap, Siddharth Roy Kapur
DIRECTOR – Sameer Sharma
WRITER – Sameer Sharma, Sumit Batheja
CAST – Kunal Kapoor, Huma Qureshi, Rajesh Sharma, Rajendra Sethi, Munish Makhija
MUSIC – Amit Trivedi

Bring out the local flavour and delve into what was once considered a mundane everyday-ness for the humour – this seems to be the new formula Bollywood is latching onto. It hurts to call this kind of (attempted) realism formulaic but a spate of films that simply do not live up to the expectations created by select precedents compels the perception. Luv, Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana comfortably rests in peace in the former category.

Omi (Kunal Kapoor) returns to his hometown and foster family in Punjab after ten years looking for a resource to save him from trouble he has landed himself in back in London. Much has changed back home except the affection everyone, including his childhood sweetheart Harman (Huma Qureshi), had for Omi. His grandfather, once the owner of a much-loved dhaba and creator of the famous dish ‘Chicken Khurana’ is now senile and has forgotten the recipe only he knew. His sweetheart is about to be married to his unwilling cousin brother Jeet (Rahul Bagga) and his uncle (Rajendra Sethi) refuses to forgive him. Omi lies and cheats away, planning to sell the now-defunct dhaba to its competitor in return for lumps of cash and the chicken khurana recipe.

Through a series of slice-of-life moments we travel with Omi on his journey to find love and redemption. Flushed with humour and characters that are both, extremely normal and pleasantly quirky, the film builds up warmly. Events unfold slow and steady, because it is not as much about what happens but how. Unfortunately, this ‘how’ is what lets an otherwise enjoyable film down.

Relaxed and confident of its setting, the film establishes characters and relationships with a lot of heart. Omi and Harman’s slow bonding, Omi’s interactions with his aunt, Jeet and Titto mama and his easing into the life he had summarily and heartlessly rejected are delicious in their detailing. But his redemption, his growth and the flimsy tying up of loose ends brings the entire film apart like a pack of cards.

Even then, there is much to enjoy in the film. Light and pleasant it is firmly rooted in the earthy Punjabi milieu of the strictly middle class. There is no romanticising of this by-now over-exposed North Indian culture and it comes as a relief. Characters speak their local language fluently and intersperse it naturally with Hindi. Sets and shots caress nothing and no one and this kind of reality becomes charming due to the tone of the fluffy narrative. Coupled with Amit Trivedi’s heartfelt Punjabi tunes that are far more than just bhangda beats, it is a slice of locally-flavoured Punjab.

What raises the film out of mundane mediocrity are the performances. Huma Qureshi’s tough exterior and softer woman, Rajendra Sethi’s steadfast head of the house, the actress playing Omi’s ever-loving, garrulous aunt, Dolly Ahluwalia as the joint-smoking yogi and Vinod Nagpal as the senile Daarji, all contribute with authentic and hilarious performances. Rajesh Sharma as the cracked-up, half-idiot Titto never fails to crack us up and Rahul Bagga as the diffident younger cousin is extremely winning. However, Kunal Kapoor despite a meaty role, remains tepid and listless joined by Munish Makhija who kills the only decent scene he has in the film and with it, the film for us.

For Punjabis and non-natives, the authentic charm of the setting is delectable and so are several heart-warming moments. Just that the film fails to rise beyond those moments to make it a memorably enjoyable trip to cinema halls.

FATEMA KAGALWALA

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