Language : Hindi.
Release : 2007.
Direction : R. Balki.
Starring : Amitabh Bachchan , Paresh Rawal, Tabu, Zohra Sehgal and Swini Khara.
Music : Illayaraja.
CheniKum is one of the few films that breaks the traditional barrier of the “Indian Masala” genre, and yet provides a wholesome entertainment where the audience take something back. Not for any reason is Amitabh Bachchan considered to be amongst best actors in India, he brings the soul to the character and the movie.
Set in London, the movie is about a 64-year-old egoistic and arrogant chef who has dedicated his life to cooking, living with his 85-year-old mother, with the only person he calls as his friend is his 9-year-old neighbor ‘Sexy’. Enter Naina(Tabu), the calm and composed 34-year-old girl, who hits him hard and hits him where it matters the most “HIS EGO”. For the first time he finds out how it feels to be on the wrong side of the game. Smitten by her personality, he starts to develop feelings for her, and they gradually fall in love, both knowing what they can expect from each other. Eventually they decide to get married and like all “Indian Grooms”, he comes to India to ask Naina’s father for her hand. The social awkwardness and emotional hurdles they face trying to convince him forms the rest of the movie.
Amitabh single-handedly carries the entire weight of movie, he gets into his character with perfection, be it with his sarcastic tone while delivering his dialogues, or the arrogant and perfectionist chef who considers cooking an art rather than work, or the way he carries his uber-coolness with his pony. Although Paresh Rawal has a small role in the movie, he portrays it with ease. Tabu maintains her character and even stands out in the presence of the other two mighty giants, especially in the scene where she tells Zohra Sehgal that she intends to marry her son, even after knowing that her father had a heart-attack and has been hospitalized. While the other members of the cast i.e. the chefs, Zohra, and Sexy play their characters to perfection and complete the film.
Sometimes the movie might feel slow and deviating from the plot, but the sarcastic humor, the social awkwardness and the minimal emotional baggage keep you engaged. Every member in the cast has their character clearly written out and get their time on-screen to shine. The cinematography is good, although all the songs have been reused by Illayaraja, it does have a soothing tone, and the dialogues are brilliant to say the least. R. Balki deserves complete credit for making a beautiful and sensible movie.
On the whole CheniKum is a perfect example of a non-bollywoody, Bollywood film, that breaks the trend in every possible way, the age difference between the lead pair, the mother-son relationship, the Gandhian philosophies incorporated. Although it may not be targeted at the mass audiences, it has started a trend in the movie industry which could change the way the movies are made, and it definitely needs to be credited for that.
Audience POV :
1. Amitabh is charming as ever.
2. Music is brilliant.
1. Sometimes slow and deviates from the plot.
2. Cinematography could have been better.
3. The parallel plot involving “Sexy” was not required.