Monday, June 25, 2007

Cheeni Kum: A nice sweet movie

Cheeni Kum had been released more than 2 weeks back ago, but it was fairly busy on the weekends, and I was somewhat busy on the weekends, unable to go see the movie. Well, I finally found time last weekend, and I did not regret it one bit. The hall was Housefull, although there were only 2 shows during the day.
It is also a different kind of movie, given that I have never seen a successful movie in India giving a romance between 2 people with an age difference of 30 years, Amitabh Bachchan being shown in the movie as a 64 year old man, and Tabu as a 34 year old man. In a normal movie, you might have expected to see a romance develop, but then shear off since the age difference is too vast. Not so. This movie is sure to give a filip to our older citizens, telling them that life is not done beyond the 60's.
Budhadev Ghosh (Amitabh Bachchan) is the perfectionist chef of Spice6, an Indian restaurant in London. He is unmarried, lives with his mother (Zohra Sehgal) who looks old, but not in spirit. She is forever after her son to join a gym, so as to make his condition better. He in turn keeps on poking fun at her cooking. He also has a very sweet relationship with his 6 year neighbor, Sexy (Swini Khara), who suffers from cancer, and realizes that she does not have a full life.
His life is normal, where he is a terror in his restaurant's kitchen, unsparing of any mistakes. Then one day a mistake happens. Neena (Tabu), coming from India in a low fare flight, comes into the restaurant with her cousin and orders Hyderabadi Zafrani Pulao (narrated by the waiter in a different accent that Amitabh keeps on trying to correct). Amitabh is astounded when the dish is returned to the kitchen as being sweet, and goes out and tells her off about not realizing quality when she sees it.
The next day, he realizes with a bit of investigative work that the mistake was caused due to the sugar and salt containers being right next to each other. This intrigues him. He has to apologize, but is not sure as to how to do it. His staff in the meantime is having (the discussions in the kitchen lend a nice bit of comedy to the film). It's raining, and he offers Tabu an umbrella outside the restaurant. He is somewhat intrigued by her, and looks forward to her coming again.
On a regular basis, she uses the excuse of his umbrella to come again and again to the restaurant, and he looks forward to those trips. He even starts going to the gym, to the surprise of his mother and neighbor. Once when she is eating with her cousin's boyfriend, Amitabh becomes quite incredibly jealous.
Anyhow, the romance develops, and eventually they decide to marry. It is decided that he will go to India to ask her father for her hand. And then tragedy strikes. Sexy becomes ill, and is in hospital. At the same time, Tabu's father is unwell. There is a bit of tension at this point, but he eventually comes to India. And then the next part of the movie starts. Tabu's father is Paresh Rawal, a 58 year old (younger than Amitabh), and when Amitabh is introduced to him, Paresh talks to him like a normal retired person; with phrases such as grand-children, retirement, body being wracked by ageing issues, and so on. Amitabh is not able to get the time to push the question.
Eventually, he does so in the men's room of a hotel, shocking Paresh beyond reason. Paresh is shocked, after all Amitabh is 30 years older. But when Tabu also supports the proposal, Paresh is shocked and goes on a fast to break this relationship. The movies drags at this point, but eventually Paresh gives in and agrees. Just when he has agreed, Sexy dies, so that moment is a bitter-sweet moment for Amitabh.
Overall, this is a nice movie, not having any great twist, but still holding attention through a mixture of comedy and romance. The title song Cheeni Kum is great, and plays throughout the movie.

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