My expectation to see this movie was low after reading a The Hindustan Times poor review written by ex-Times of India film critic, Khalid Mohammed. I need to say in the beginning that Khalid is a poor movie critic who has sustained his job only through sheer style and gay chut-paz!
Cheeni Kum is exploring a different theme in the most unconventional way, yet managing to the commercial format of story telling. The story is about a 64 years old London based chef Buddhadev (Amitabh Bachchan) of an Indian restaurant, who is arrogant and proud of his Indian gourmet knowledge and cooking; and a 34 year old lady tourist to London, Neena Verma (Tabu), who lands up in the restaurant to be in argument with the chef over Hyderabadi Jafarani Biryani. This starts a series of intelligent and interesting meetings between these two characters that leads to them falling in love. The second half of the movie is devoted to how Buddha tries to convince Neena?s father Omprakash (Paresh Rawal), who is a hypocrite 58 year old Gandhian and against the relationship of his daughter and the chef. Omprakash uses Gandhian ways to stop the affair. What happens in the end I will leave it on you to see.
There are two small sub-plots and story lines that needs brief mentioning. One is of Buddha?s mother (Zohra Sehgal) and other of Buddha?s 8 year old cancer patient neighbor named Sexy (Swini Khara). Both, even with the huge age differences hold unique relationship with Buddha.
The movie script is good and the first time advertisement agency director R.Balkirshnan has done a wonderful job. Ilaya Raja has lifted melodious music and songs from his South Indian films. Acting wise ? Tabu as usual scores high and holding herself in front of the Bollywood giant Amitabh. The pair looks very pleasing to the eyes and both of them have performed their roles brilliantly. Paresh Rawal?s character was itched nicely but still it does not look convincing. The reason is the lengthy treatment to the Gandhian fasting given too much importance.
Overall it is a refreshing new theme worth watching.
(Star 6.5 out of 10)