|The beautiful Manish Dayal making a DAMC with the beautiful Charlotte Le Bon, x|
(Maybe they aren’t so gratuitous after all?)
I know there are plenty of light-hearted, feel-goodTM, films out there involving food, music and the South of France, but surely one more couldn’t hurt right? Especially when the whole concept can be revitalized by adding a little spice into the mix? And by spice, I mean India. Just so we’re clear.
Sarcasm aside, it really is an entertaining movie, and I enjoyed the mix – Southern French and Indian (Mumbai style, to be specific) cooking mix very well together – visually, at least. I’m no culinary expert so I don’t know how the combinations might actually taste.
The movie centers around Hassan Kadam (though that might be hard to deduce from the movie poster) – a young man whose love of food, and deep, instinctive, and sensory cooking style was instilled in him by his mother (played by Bollywood darling, Juhi Chawla).
Helen Mirren, the head chef, and their arch enemy, finds she has much to contend with, in the form of Hassan’s cooking.
The blending of cultures and his knowledge is not a destination but a process without end. Or, to put it in a cliché, the journey is the destination.
The movie has shades of magical realism. There were suggestions of the mother’s continued presence in the family through father’s remarks about what she wants and doesn’t for them – she is obviously present in Hassan’s cooking, but there are also magical overtones with his use of the “special” spices from India. They seemed to be special for reasons more than that of having belonged to his mother previously, though their “speicalness” is never really specified, other than being there to emphasize how “exotic” they are. Spices are great, but the only magical powers they possess is that of cranking up the flavor in a dish. And despite Hassan having a small trunk of several different spices, they managed to mention cardamom about fifty million times.
Fair warning, though: make sure you watch this film on a full stomach. Even without missing any meals mine was grumbling by the time the credits rolled around.