Many a times, Hindi films start with immense potential to be a classic film with its first shot. Those films have an engaging first half but soon lag behind and tend to drag in the second half making film viewing a bit cumbersome at times. But that is not the case with Sameer Sharma’s ‘Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana’. In fact, it is the opposite.
Written by Sameer and Sumit Bhateja, LSTCK narrates the story of Omi (Kunal Kapoor after ages) a good for nothing fella being hounded by a petty Punjabi goon (Manish Makhija) in London for money that Omi owes to him. Unable to repay an enormous loan and with a death threat looming large, Omi decides to turn to his family and more importantly the family business in a small town in Punjab. The family runs a dhaba called ‘Chicken Khurana’ named after its signature dish, whose secret recipe only the family’s patriarch, daarji (Vinod Nagpal) knows. When Omi returns to Punjab, things have changed since the last time he ran away from home as a teenager. The dhaba is not functionable, his daarji is suffering from age induced dementia, his uncle is suspicious of his motive of return, his ex -girlfriend Harman (Huma Qureshi) is engaged to his cousin Jeet and there is a new entrant in the family called Titu Mama (Rajesh Sharma) whose mannerisms are bizarre, to say the least.
Omi, of course, has a fresh set of lies to present in front of his family. He doesn’t reveal his actual motive of return and also has grand plans to find out the secret recipe of the famous chicken dish and sell it to the rival.
While the story is simple, the plot takes too much time to establish itself. The first half is solely kept for establishing the sub plots of various characters and the main ‘action’ begins only after the interval. Too many characters, their stories, flashback scenes, and slow pace mar the film’s credibility to quite an extent. The laughs are there, but somehow lack that punch.
What works for the movie is that it boasts of a superb ensemble cast. Kunal Kapoor being the ‘hero’ of the film makes for an affable Omi. He isn’t the best but somehow manages to make the Punjabi munda lovable.
After an impressive debut in Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’, Huma gets a meaty role in her second film and gives a fabulous performance. Quershi plays the angry, hurt-in-love Harman perfectly - a stark contrast from her flamboyant Mohsina act in GOW.
But the star of the film is a lesser known actor called Rajesh Sharma. After featuring in significant roles in ‘No One Killed Jessica’ and ‘The Dirty Picture’, Rajesh makes the obnoxious Titu mama a lovable character. He gets the best dialogues in the film and manages to shine beautifully throughout the film. A special mention for the casting director for getting veteran actor Vinod Nagpal and popular Udham Singh aka Manish Makhija on board to play important characters in the film- they simply make the movie enjoyable. Vinod Nagpal makes daarji a hilarious and dare- I-say ‘cute’ character who serenades a crow thinking it is his dead wife and runs to his dhaba in the state of dementia at every given opportunity. The talented, funny Dolly Ahluwalia (last seen in ‘Vicky Donor’ as Ayushmann Khurana’s mother) gives her midas touch as the dhongi bua in a superb cameo in the film as well.
It has got all the right ingredients- the mustard fields, the happy-go-lucky Punjabis, the tractors, the quirky bizzare characters, the brazen yet lovable hero, a brewing love story,superb music by Amit Trivedi, and in spite of these ingredients the films isn’t ‘cooked’ well. Somewhere, some ingredient is missing.
Watch it for the super talented cast as they manage to give a spicy tadka to an otherwise bland film.