Movie Review: "Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana"; Star cast: Kunal Kapoor, Huma Qureshi, Vinod Nagpal, Rajesh Sharma, Dolly Ahluwalia, Rahul Bagga and Vipin Sharma; Director: Sameer Sharma; Rating: **1/2 - lacks tadka.
"Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana" is a Punjabi tadka film. The milieu, the dialogues and humour is so akin to the region and its people. The setting is authentic and identifiable. It is loaded with eccentric characters, hero's vilayat dream, a don chasing him, wedding planning, subdued romance, underwear jokes, suspense, a funeral, a godwoman, lots of flatulence, brash humour and a crow.
The crux of the story is the frantic search for a much-coveted recipe of a chicken curry, named after its creator. It is also orphan, amoral Omi Khurana's (Kunal Kapoor) journey of romance and self realization.
To escape the wrath of desi don Shanty (Manish Makhija), Omi returns to Punjab from London to once again rob his grandfather, Daarji (Vinod Nagpal). On reaching his village in Punjab, he realizes how his family fortune and everything else has changed over the last 10 years.
Unrepentant and caught between the don and his greed for making a quick buck, Omi is forced to find the recipe of Chicken Khurana by Kehar Singh (Vipin Sharma), a rival restaurant owner.
Kunal Kapoor, in a straight forward performance, is good. For a moment or two, one sees shades of Aamir Khan in him but it passes off as he naturally fits into the skin of his character.
Vinod Nagpal of "Hum Log" fame is natural as ever, portraying his 'Daarji' part effortlessly. A treat to watch.
The cast, well-supported by Huma Qureshi as Harman, Omi's childhood sweetheart, is realistic and rustically Punju. Jeet, his lovable brother seems like a Rajesh Khanna clone. Seema Kushal as Omi's aunt is endearing. Rajesh Sharma as the uncouth and gross uncle, Titu mama is excellent. Dolly Ahluwalia as the pot smoking god-woman is good, but wasted.
Amit Trivedi's unconventional music score is fine. His compositions are fresh and are devoid of the run-of-the-mill, jarring bhangra beats.
Director Sameer Sharma, writer Sumit Batheja and producer Anurag Kashyap have very effectively showcased a nice romantic film with fine nuances of semi-noir characters. The highlight of this film is realism and the trio present rustic Punjab with great conviction.
Unfortunately the pace of the story telling is lackadaisical. With too many characters and sub-tracks, the screenplay lacks originality. What takes the cake is the denouement; it seems to be a straight lift from the TV show "Sach Ka Saamna". Here, instead of the TV studio, the revelation is done at the Khurana Dhaba.
Also the Bengali song sung by Jeet at the end is probably an obvious attempt at national integration.
While it has all the ingredients for an excellent film, it is not up to the mark. It probably required a stronger, spicier tadka to pep it up.
Watch it for Punjab. Or Vinod Nagpal maybe?