Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana gives you exactly what is promised in the trailers. A warm Punjabi family, subtle humor, a little romance, a little suspense, and a predictable base plot. Fine performances and some fresh, earthy dialogue keep the momentum and interest in this otherwise plain plot.
From the earth of Punjab come people who are charmingly simple because they are open-hearted and uninhibited. We know this because of the unrepressed dialogue given to these Punjabis. Punjabis who for a change don't shout and are not dressed in loud silks. Yet, you cannot escape the lack of depth in the basic plot. I guess you can't get it all.
You know the protagonist Omi (Kunal Kapoor) is going to end up looking for a secret ingredient in his grandfather's recipe. After seeing the trailers, the main reasons that bring you to the theater are - to find out not what happens but how it happens and to see that 10% deviation from your prediction of what it is going to be. You can't but resist the hope that at least something will be different because of the name Anurag Kashyap associated with it, right?
Unfortunately, you wait and wait for it to happen, but it doesn't come. That small twist or that extra conflict over what has been exposed in the trailer or that 'ah-ha' moment that the film is nicely and lovingly building up towards - but it just doesn't come. It teases you every once in a while with the protagonist, Omi (Kunal Kapoor) considering to behave according to what his character is made out to be, but ultimately, you are only teased. And as with many, many films, the end is a little contrived and convenient.
Fortunately though, warm performances by every member of the cast, the dialogue they are given, Amit Trivedi's music and the rugged, dusty ambiance created are the four strong pillars that Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana stands on. The chemistry between various combinations of characters is charming and the brewing romance has its own flavor of cute. From the twinkle in grandpa's eyes when he first sees Omi after 10 years to the tune the title music breaks into halfway to the dust on the walls of the houses to a lot of things in between - everything works in adding value to the experience of watching a story.
However, a predictable basic plot is a predictable basic plot and can only provide only so much of a firm foundation however strong the pillars. This once, my belief that if the how you get to the end of a story is done well, the what you find there doesn't matter as much has been proven slightly wrong. For whatever Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana has achieved is because of the "how"s going right. If only, a little of this "how" was also about some meat in the story part of the writing.
Also, ever since the missing ingredient is revealed, I had this nagging feeling of having seen this before or read it somewhere. An internet search hasn't brought much to light except that the concept of a missing ingredient/recipe has been looked for umpteen number of times, which we always knew. But the sense of 'tune that haunts you because you can't think of the words' just won't leave me. Hopefully, it'll come soon.
- meetu, a part of the audience
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