Review: Statutory Warning: Do not watch this film on an empty stomach, lest the growling belly overpowers the sweet of this gastronomic love affair.
Food is magical - it inspires love, lust, art, poetry, sex and of course, cinema. The master chef of this one, director Habib Faisal, whips up a story in the city of nawabs - over kitchen fires, kebabs, dough and the (socially relevant) dowry system. It's a feast for the eyes, though there's not as much for the heart to savour.
Meet Hyderabad ki Gulrez (Parineeti), she's feisty (a well-roasted temper), gutsy and likes propah angrezi-speaking men. Sadly, her Booji (Kher) finds only dowry-seeking spineless men who boast of shallow degrees from 'IIM' (International Institute of Mehboobnagar!). She works as a salesgirl in a shoe-store but dreams of being a shoe-designer.
Along with Booji, she masterminds a con-plan to frame dowry-demanding dulhas and make big bucks to pursue her dream. But her plans get skewered when she meets Lucknow ka aashiq Tariq (Aditya), a chef and owner of the legendary restaurant 'Haidari Kababs'. Gulrez gets drawn to the warm, inviting aromas of love while he woos her with botis, rotis and shahi tukdas of his heart.
Habib Faisal's offering is definitely fresher than a packaged, frozen meal; but when he's not paying attention the story boils over and the flavour escapes quickly. The second half crumbles (guess some recipes got nixed here) and the climax is far from slurp-worthy. There are some 'specials of the day' like Booji's goofiness during the con-act, and the line-up of dowry-hungry men walking into the trap, but the characters are not as indulgent as the dishes. Parineeti displays 'high-cal' emotions once again, with her sweet Hyderabadi accent and superb confidence. Aditya charmingly shows flair with his Lucknowi style and ada. Their chemistry doesn't simmer; it's low-fat kulfi at best. Kher peppers it with a stand-out sorbet act.
This one won't fill your hungry hearts, but one serving (not too bland, not too spicy) isn't too bad for your appetite.