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Movie Review: The Hundred Foot Journey 

by Sonal Kulshrestha
"The Hundred Foot Journey", based on the best-selling novel by Richard C. Morais, released this Friday, Aug 8th 2014. Produced by big names like Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Juliet Blake, the movie stars Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal and Charlotte Le Bon in lead roles.

As advertised, 'the movie is a portrayal of two worlds colliding and one boy's drive to find the comfort of home in every pot'. And this is where the 'desi' connection lies, for one of the two worlds is that of an Indian immigrant family trying to run an Indian restaurant serving mouth watering 'mutton gosht', 'chicken tikka', 'tandoori roti' and the works in the south of France! To make matters worse there's a Michelin-starred French restaurant right across, 100- foot away, whose owner is far from happy at the prospect of having to face 'loud music' and 'food that needs to be toned down'. And so begins the war of food, culture and words. 

What it has going for it- Really everything...

1. The Cast-

Om Puri is simply superb. His comic timing makes the dialogues hilarious and his portrayal makes the character as real as it can get. He has proved his versatility as an actor over and over in the past, but this performance here proves that he has the caliber of an international actor, if ever there resided a doubt in anyone's mind.

As for others- Helen Mirren played her role of the uptight and cold French palate to perfection. Manish Dayal is a natural and so is Charlotte. Juhi Chawla is seen in a guest appearance and the Indian spices take the starring role which I'll surely discuss more in a while...

2. The Location & the Story line

The story is set in the village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in the south of France. The scenic beauty of the location charms you just as much as the elegance with which the food is presented. The picturesque locations seem to pop straight out of a writer's imagination. I haven't read the novel, but I can surely picture the detailed descriptions of the French village in my head. 

3. The Music

Music by A. R. Rahman is well 'sprinkled' and 'nicely spooned in' - these phrases will mean so much more to you once you've witnessed the 'two worlds collide'.

4. The Humor

The movie has the funniest exchanges involving the desi 'papa'. And like I said, can't imagine anyone but Om Puri delivering them. And that's what a great actor does- he makes a character a part of himself such it is impossible to imagine it's portrayal outside the mold that is him.

5. Food- the Science and the Art

'Food is a science' you hear in a posh restaurant's kitchen in the movie. Throughout the movie you see and feel the science behind the making of the food - both in term of precise measurements, the combinations and proportions of various spices and everything else that goes into the pot to produce the most appetizing and flavorful food possible. And then there's the art of presenting it, for yes, a masterpiece has been created!

5. The Indian Spices

The movie is an absolute ode to our Indian spices- our turmeric, the laung, cardamoms and cilantro. The list is long and each holds a place- a place of role and benefit that is presented with careful and elaborate reverence. And the best part is these have taken the center stage not via it's usage in Indian cuisine in India and abroad alone but also in French cuisine in France.  We all know Indian food is well known, even popular, in countries like America, Canada, UK where Indians abound. France presents a new frontier and makes for a majestic location for the novel/ movie.

To Summarize...

Hassan Kadam's journey of discovering and growing his culinary skills might have taken him into a foreign territory, both in terms of place and cuisine, but he certainly didn't leave his roots behind, again very much with respect to our Indian spices! You might wonder at his choice in the end ( I did) but the truth is, that is what today's generation and today's world is about- globalization in every field- yes, even cultures and cuisines- 'One World', as they say. I only hope that the world never sheds the 'Indian' tag from our age old spices and that our very old yet forever evolving culture is always given it's due.

'The Hundred-Foot Journey is a must- watch movie for every single person who wants to embark on a journey of  adventure with food, to educate oneself of the science and the art behind it and most importantly to pay our respect to the spices that are part of one of the oldest cultures in the world- the Indian culture! 

(Watch trailer below)

(Photo Credit: Dream Works Studio) 

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Movie INFO- The Hundred-Foot Journey

May 15 2015

American production houses seem to be romancing people of Indian origin. The 'Million Dollar Arm' releases tomorrow, a movie based on a true story of baseball pitchers Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, the first Indian- origin players to sign American major league baseball contracts. Close on its heels, 'The Hundred-Foot Journey' is all set to release on August 8th of this year.

'The Hundred-Foot Journey', based on the best-selling novel by Richard C. Morais, is  directed by Lasse Hallstrom, and produced by Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg. The movie stars Academy Award®-winner Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, Charlotte Le Bon and  Juhi Chawla. And again, music is by our world renowned composer, A.R. Rahman. Who is Manish Dayal? He's an Indian American, born in South Carolina,USA as Manish Sudhir Patel. He is an actor and editor, known for The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010), Walkaway (2010) and Breaking the Girls (2013).

The story is centered on an Indian family who moves to France and opens a restaurant across the street from a Michelin-starred French restaurant.

The Hundred Foot Journey

 Of course, we have to watch this one- for the delicious Indian food we get to watch, for the funny (though cliched at times) Indian parents routine, and most of all because any thing Indian that is mainstream is good for us.

Would you like to write a movie review for desideewar? If so, email us your write up at


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