Cheeni Kum - Notepad

wogma rating: Buy the DVD already (?)
quick review:

Cheeni Kum comes across as the perfect recipe for the weekend. Great performances, great dialogues, hilarious situations, well-defined characters, great visuals…the ingredients are all there.

Reviews

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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Warning: this section has some details that could distort your experience while watching the movie. I strongly recommend reading this only after you have seen the movie or if you have decided not to see it.

Plot Summary

Buddhadev (Amitabh) is the 64-year old Chef-cum-owner of Spice 6, a London restaurant. He thinks his restaurant is the only place around that serves authentic Indian cuisine, though for his own dinner he opts for the food cooked by his aged mom (Zohra Sehgal). A customer Nina (Tabu) does not find the preparation of ‘Hyderabadi Zafarani pulao’ authentic, and later demonstates THE proper method of preparing it. Buddha and Nina get to meet frequently thereafter and romance sets in. They decide to get married, but Buddha must break the news to Nina’s cricket-crazy, Gandhian father Om Prakash (Paresh Rawal) first. OP vehemently disapproves of the association, but Buddha, aided by the blessings of his mom and timely advise from his 7-year old confidante Sexy (Swini Khara), manages to trigger a change of heart in OP.

What Worked

  • The mental struggle of an arrogant Buddha when he has to say “I am sorry” to Nina
  • The authentic potrayal of a restaurant kitchen (a quantum leap from the one in Manmohan Desai’s Naseeb)
  • The acerbic sense of humour of Buddha and Nina
  • The characterization of Sexy, the terminally-ill precocious neighbour of Buddha. Her interactions with Buddha are a laugh riot.

    My gut feeling is that the character might have been inspired by the on-stage conduct of Ayeesha Kapoor, the girl who bagged all the awards for her role in Black. Ayesha used to refer to Big B in first person and so does Sexy! And like Ayesha, I think Swini would bag all the film awards next year in the Child Actor category.

  • The dialogues given to poker-faced waiter Colgate (Krishna Bhatt) take off from where Rajpal Yadav left in Waqt
  • The movie’s second half actually has some vital moments shot in India. During the interval I was wondering whether it would be another all West & no India affair (a la Ta Ra Rum Pum), but the Delhi capsule was refreshing
  • OP’s Gandhian opposition to the Buddha-Nina alliance is so cute, reminds you of a few of Utpal Dutt’s performances in Hrishikesh Mukherjee films
  • The concern for detail demonstrated by the director in :
    • Having the protagonists get their urdu diction right.
    • Depicting a cancer patient (who is receiving chemotherepy) don a cap all the time

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • The overuse of Qutab’s miracle tower in the climax
  • The craving for chicken shown by a Gandhian OP
  • The interest shown by the mohallawallas in OP’s satyagraha

Nitty-Gritty

This section lists things that I think are not important to the overall impact of the movie. In most cases, it could be explained away by something like, "we noticed the glitch after the scene was shot and there were schedule/budget issues and thus we could not re-shoot it". I like giving the makers the benefit of doubt, but I am amused nevertheless. Hopefully, they will tickle you too.

  • How come Buddha’s restaurant is vacant when Tabu comes to return his umbrella, even though it is ususally rather crowded ?
  • Why does Buddha, now settled in London for over twenty years, quote the price of a bouquet of roses as two hundred “rupees”?
  • Why does Zohra Sehgal on her return from Haridwar choose to listen to her son’s entire tale of woe without disembarking from the train?