If you don’t know what rustic philosophising really is, see this movie and know it. The movie takes you straight into the heart of metaphysics that ordinary people repeat and believe in… more so in the untutored villages of Punjab where they whole-heartedly mix and grind it all with slap-stick humour to offer you a chutney of a way of life that seems to work perfectly fine!
‘Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana’ is one movie that I wouldn’t want to miss watching… well, I watched it only yesterday, more than an year after it was released, and had a really enjoyable Saturday afternoon at home. The story doesn’t demand you to sit with a pen and paper jotting down complex manoeuvres to help you keep track of what is happening on the screen. It simply takes you flying out of London into the heart of a village in Punjab! Well, Omi, the hero of the movie is another one of those young guys who manage to reach London (and the movie just tells you how one night he drugs his grandfather to rob him of a few thousand rupees to fund his way into what he defines as his dreams) where he watches his dreams (and I still don’t know what they were, in the first place… but don’t bother… just stay with the action on the screen) sway in drunken horror as some ruffian Indian gangster there dispatches him back to get the fifty thousand Pounds that he now owes him.
The story thus actually begins and ends in the village where Omi suddenly appears, after years of disappearance, and gets accepted by his family. No questions asked… barring a few cynical remarks made by his uncle that his aunt slap-sticks effortlessly! The theme that the movie revolves around is some secret chicken recipe that the entire village loved once and which is now trapped in the silent senile labyrinthine synapses of Omi’s grandfather. The absence of the recipe has ensured that the family change the course of their business… and the once famed dhaba now lies in ruins! The movie is about how Omi stumbles upon that secret recipe and how he finally discovers his own version of it!
It was always the recipe that was at the centre of attention throughout the movie… and I loved the version that Omi finally gives it! No, I’m not going to share the final recipe that was as good, if not better, than the secret recipe that was discovered by him. But then what matters is the effortless way the movie meanders through life in a small village of Punjab and gives us some really hilarious moments of unadulterated mirth! The way the village folk dance during Lohri is actually the way they would do in real life… and it doesn’t look at all like some synthetic choreography pushed in by some over-ambitious choreographer!
The areas where the movie really shines is the straight-forward filming of a way of life that slips, stumbles, slides, gets muddied and greasy as life often would in a village. And if you’re the sort who’ll be looking for village belles going around with exposed midriffs and singing lilting numbers in rather sensuous ways, you’ll be surprised to find none of them here… in their place, we have Huma who drives the audience in a frenzy by her restrained projection of a lady doctor in the village and a school-time lover of Omi.
The movie has humour that is never really out-of-place, songs that somehow fitted what was going on in the movie, melodrama that always came with a bit of humour to bring you back to a smiling sanity, and philosophy that enters without any of the snootiness of a moral lecture! No pretensions to transform India into a land of whatever-you-want-to-convert-it-into… there is a love for the country shown by the simple fact that Omi stops even mentioning that he wants to return to London. Love comes without the usual laboured sentences that our lovers are asked to mouth… I mean, Huma just lunges to kiss the hero at point when I too thought was appropriate. The family never makes a drama of accepting a Bengali daughter-in-law or even accepting Omi despite his failures. You have a real story going on there on the screen and it does come with its own slap-stick brand of end-of-the-story twist where friends finally meet… and the audience is left with their own interpretation of what might have happened to the London gangsters who come back to the village in search for their ‘pounds’!
This is one movie where the entire cast adds to the light-hearted side of life in a village that it wants to project. The dialogues too include the funny bits… but more than that is the way they have been said by the actors and the way they have been filmed.
I’d say this movie finally tells us Indians that deep inside we are a funny nation with funny notions and funny potions (this is the nearest I am going to get to revealing the secret recipe of the grandfather) – and that we love to love and love to share and love to accept!
Initial release: May 18, 2012
Director: Sameer Sharma
Cast: Kunal Kapoor, Huma Qureshi, Rajesh Sharma, Vipin Sharma, Vinod Nagpal, Dolly Ahluwalia
Producers: Anurag Kashyap, Ronnie Screwvala
Published in ‘The Education Post’ dated 24 June 2013