Up next in my Food Films series is a 2012 release Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana, starring Kunal Kapoor and Huma Qureshi in the lead roles. A rare Hindi film that I have liked, and what’s more, it has a predominantly culinary theme.
We’ve all heard about coveted family recipes – a secret pickle or masala recipe that was zealously guarded by the elders, and passed down the generations to a trusted family member, treasured like an heirloom. Something similar is afoot in the Khurana family of Lalton Kalan village in Punjab. They’re renowned for their dhaba (family restaurant) named Chicken Khurana, which has shot to fame and prominence because of an eponymous chicken curry.
But there’s just one problem – only the family patriarch, old Balraj Khurana a.k.a Daarji knows the recipe – and he’s forgotten it due to old age and failing memory.
To make matters worse, his runaway grandson Omi Khurana has returned home from London, pretending to be a lawyer, a decade after stealing money from his grandfather to realise his U.K. dream. And that’s not all – Omi’s childhood sweetheart Harman is engaged to none other than his elder brother Jeet – who has his own little secret- and a freeloader uncle isn’t making things any easier.
In the melee, Daarji passes away, and the Chicken Khurana recipe is lost forever. How Omi manages to recreate the recipe and restore the family’s pride and lost fortunes, is what makes up a better part of this film.
The film is a very refreshing and engaging watch. One of the best scenes is a flashback sequence, where the ailing Daarji suddenly goes missing and the family is unfazed – like it is the most normal thing in the world. Sure enough, they find him at their defunct dhaba, sitting before a portrait of his late wife Muskaan, smiling serenely and revisiting lost memories. Muskaan has a terminal illness and he cooks a chicken curry for her with a special secret ingredient, which she terms as “the best thing she’s ever eaten”. After she passes, he dedicates the recipe and his dhaba to her, keeping her memories alive forever. This would strike as particularly poignant for those of us who remember our near and dear ones passed,by recreating their favourite food and recipes. Food just like music touches hearts and reignites the memories associated with eating it.
I recommend this movie as a must watch – a truly understated gem! Watch the trailer below!
Do try out my easy recipe for Braised Chicken (a la Dum Murgh) here. I don’t have the Chicken Khurana recipe, but I think this will work just as well. What do you think?