Cheeni Kum poster

Cheeni Kum

wogma rating: Beg or borrow, but do watch (?)

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.

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Director: R Balakrishnan
Running time: 135 minutes
Genres: Comedy, Romance
More Movie Info

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.

R Balki (Balkrishnan), the debutant director, has done a commendable job, and not since Farhan Akhtar’s Dil Chahta Hai has a first directorial venture come out so impressively. Like Farhan in DCH, Balki has done the story himself and has come up with well-etched out characters. The characterization has been done so well that even cameos like the chef’s crew or medical store-owner impress.

The performances of Amitabh and Tabu are of the highest quality, though Tabu impresses a little more than Big B, and her screen persona at times reminds you of Shabana Azmi. Both lead actors impress with their comical timing (non-slapstick) and their Urdu diction is always spot-on - I wish the irritating journalists of ‘Aaj Tak’ could speak Urdu like this.

The movie also marks the return of music maestro Illaiyaraja, and he has done a tidy job. The mellifluous "Jane do na" number by Shreya Ghoshal has a lilting effect. Singer Vijay Prakash has done Amitabh's playback wonderfully well - thank god there is no Sudesh Bhonsle for a change!

Editing by Chandan Arora is slick and glitch-free. PC Sreeram’s Cinematography is impressive, and he has captured the locales of both London and Delhi beautifully. The dialogues of Cheeni Kum clearly take the cake, with the sarcastic repartee every now and then being the flavour of the movie.

Remember Ayesha kapoor? The girl who bagged all the awards for her role in Black. Well, she is not there in the movie, but she might have been one of Balki’s inspirations while writing the movie (more on this in the notepad section).

The movie is primarily a comedy, but it is neither devoid of a story, nor is it a palliative for the neurons. And what’s more, it has a message too, which the young at heart would surely love.

Vis-à-vis other movies of its ilk, Cheeni Kum comfortably scores over Jogger’s Park (though JP had richer & varied music) and Nishabd. Amitabh’s role is cleanly developed and thankfully there are no traces of the gaucherie of Sexy Sam.

All in all, Cheeni Kum is a movie that should certainly be watched. The movie has one or two small sequences (though comical), which may warrant parental discretion, so decide for yourselves if you would like to take your kids along.

Happy viewing!

This article is by guest author Anurag Anand. Anurag is a Chemical Engineer by accident, an HR practitioner by profession, and a lotus-eater by choice. Based in the historical city of Panipat, he is passionate about bollywood (in fact, the music more than the movies). His other passions include cricket, equity analysis and reading.

26 reviewers(?) - 12 yays 11 so-so 3 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by N K Deoshi, Apun Ka Choice : ... The movie... Not just entertains you with its sarcastic humour, it also touches your heart with its emotional moments. ... It charts a narrow course by telling a bittersweet tale of romance...... full review

Thumbs up, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...But there’s no doubt Cheeni Kum marks the arrival of a fresh voice – if only for how much of it feels like the work of a writer-director (and not merely a director)...Balki really knows how to subvert your expectations of a scene. I rolled my eyes when Zohra Sehgal is shown enjoying a WWF-style show on TV... full review

Thumbs up, by Sanjay Ram, Business of Cinema : ...Cheeni Kum accomplishes a lot more than one initially expects it to. The story and screenplay is fresh. The film’s variety of characters and thought levels takes you to a new plane all together. The bond between each character has been beautifully scripted and expressed through the medium of cinema.... full review

Thumbs up, by Martin D'Souza, : ...CHEENI KUM is a cool film laced with good humour. I would call it a mature romance between two very mature adults who know very well what they are getting into and why.... full review

Thumbs up, by Abhijit Mhamunkar, : ...R.Balki mixes a perfect blend of happy and sad emotions. ... The freshness Balki brings in his approach towards handling the most important moments of the film will be appreciated by all.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sarita Tanwar, MiD DAY : ...Director Balki has stepped away from the way romance is usually portrayed in Hindi films and succeeds in making the otherwise difficult-to-swallow love story between an older man and a woman thirty years his junior, edible.... full review

Thumbs up, by Manisha Vardhan, Movie Talkies : ...There are no explanations offered and neither do we bother to ask why this old man didn't get married and why does this woman choose to fall in love with him? It just happens and it is such a change from the laboured, saccharine sweet love stories of yore.... full review

Thumbs up, by Prachi Singh, MovieWalah : ...The debutant director (R. Balki) has weaved out a lovable blend of storytelling, though the ending could have been a little more constricted… (But hmmmmm…, never mind!!!!)…... full review

Thumbs up, by Ashok Nayak, Now : ...On the whole, Cheeni Kum is less of sweetness but definitely is a delicious dish. The concept is more likely to attract elite and modern class of audience and lovers of offbeat subjects would relish.... full review

Thumbs up, by Full2Faltu, Passion for Cinema : ...The movie manages to linger in your memory after the movie like the introduction between Tabu and Amitabh and the look on Amitabh Bachchan’s face when he gets the Pulao from Tabu... full review

Thumbs up, by Raja Sen, Rediff : ...The crackling first half coasts along wonderfully, relying almost solely on Bachchan's formidable charm. The second half sees trouble with a hammy third act.... full review

Thumbs up, by Satyajit, : ...The film may not be as hilarious or comical as 'Bheja Fry' or 'Pyar Ke Side Effects', but does deliver the needful in a two and half hour package. The film has towering and reliable acting talents who make this an entertaining show...'Cheeni Kum' works as a cerebral comedy... full review

So-So, by Deepa Gahlot, Cybernoon: ...All the characters drop clever wisecracks all the time and seem incapable of having a normal conversation. After a while when the charm of the May-December romance wears off, the one-liners turn into platitudes and the film collapses like a soufflé made by an apprentice cook.... full review

So-So, by Angel Rani, Deccan Herald : ...A little drama creeps in and dilutes the ‘sugar-free’ story towards the end. But with a fresh Bachchan and Tabu on the menu, the meal is appetising enough. Go taste it.... full review

So-So, by Taran Adarsh, : ...In a nutshell, a film like CHEENI KUM signifies the winds of change in Bollywood. An effort like this is sure to find its share of bouquets and brickbats. The elite wouldn't mind the film, the commoners might.... full review

So-So, by Renuka Vyavahare, indiatimes : ... I wish the length of ‘Cheeni Kum’ was ‘kum’ too, as it spoils the otherwise well crafted love story enacted by two brilliant actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Tabu.... full review

So-So, by Gayatri Makhijani, M TV : ...Worldy wise, the movie is at best a wondrous feel-gooder and at worst a dash of humour gone awry...R. Balakrishnan’s directorial debut should charm you, but be warned: hardly leaves besotted.... full review

So-So, by Amit R Agarwal, merinews : ...The problem with ‘Cheeni Kum’ is that it is a pure satirical comedy. People with a sense of humor will enjoy it, while those looking for slapstick will miss the humor (that makes for most of the Indians).... full review

So-So, by Lidia Ostepeev, Planet Bollywood : ...Cheeni Kum is definitely a vehicle for Amitabh Bachchan and this where the emphasis of the film is wrong. It should be a vehicle for the relationship between the characters portrayed by Tabu and Amitabh Bachchan. Other actors should not exist merely to showcase the star; they should be there to contribute to the internal logic of the narrative.... full review

So-So, by Hanumant Bhansali, Radio Sargam : ...Overall, the film can watched for some good performances. The film is due to bore you in the first half but the second half manages to pace up things.... full review

So-So, by Naomi Datta, Times Now : ...The problem with Cheeni Kum is that it takes too much time to set up the plot, so it plods along gently and a little too unhurried for our liking. And from time to time, you do want to tell them to just get on with it!... full review

So-So, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ... The two actors complement each other beautifully as they build up the unconventional attachment. The only weak link in this drama seems to be Paresh Rawal... The film suddenly loses its drive when the dad goes on a silly satyagraha to drive home his protest.... full review

Thumbs down, by Khalid Mohamed, Hindustan Times : ...Perhaps the most overwritten script to hit your year drums in ears (see what so much excessive dialogue can do), R Balki’s Cheeni Kum is a curio – you like it in moments, you hate it in many more moments... full review

Thumbs down, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...Well, what happens eventually is that the director and the writers fall so much in love with their own clever lines that they completely overdo it.... full review

Thumbs down, Upper Stall : ...Cheeni Kum's biggest asset also turns out to be its biggest liability - Amitabh Bachchan. Make no mistake. The actor is in fine form and delivers yet again but writer-director Balki seems to have forgotten that Bachchan apart, there are other elements too that make up a film in totality - a coherent screenplay for one.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

5 readers - 4 yays 1 so-so 0 nays

Want to Watch, by Hemant : It is average

Yay! Thumbs Up, by devis pour fenetre pvc

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Rifaie : less

Yay! Thumbs Up, by TimELiebe : Chef Amitabh Bachchan and Thirtysomething Tabu Woo One Another - well-written, acted, Recommended!

Yay! Thumbs Up, by

So-So, by : The performances of Amitabh and Tabu are of the highest quality, though Tabu impresses a little more

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


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?

Cheeni Kum - Cast, crew, links

Background Score:
Music Director:
Running time:
135 minutes

Comments (7)

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Yep, I too loved the film, and for most parts worked for me!

My review is here:

its not a social film and not suited to be watched with family especially with elders...

its not a movie. it's a boring movie yaar. it's a waste of time and money.

Wow, Fahd! Where did you get that from!? Tabu a manifestation of't have thought of that in a thousand years!

It's one of the best movies I have ever seen.

Meetu was right when she recommended this to me - it's an intelligent, enjoyable humorous romantic movie with well-written and played and mainly realistic leads, brilliantly played by Tabu and Amitabh Bachchan. There's an adorable neighbor moppet dying of "blood cancer" who Bachchan's chef/restauranteur befriends - she's just as believable thanks to Swiri Khara's performance (as is so often the case with Indian child actors, I'm amazed at how good they are!). The secondary characters, his mother and her father, might be a bit more cartoonish, but still well-acted by Zohra Sehgal and Paresh Rawal.

There aren't any big musical numbers, but in a movie like this they'd be out of place - and what songs there are are well-integrated into the plot.

I bought this on DVD because it wasn't available on Netflix - and I'm glad I did.

@TimELiebe Yay! I'm so glad you liked it!

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