I just watched Cheeni Kum last evening, an unplanned and thoroughly enjoyable outing. Initially I had been apprehensive about viewing this particular film , because of the done to death , old man loves younger women story, and the inevitable justifications for love that crosses age barriers.Fortunately , the movie lived up to its name(literally, less sugar!) , to a great extent, and was truly, devoid of sugary sweetness.The fast, witty, filled with innuendos dialogs appealed to my sarcastic side. What was most amazing was that one could almost forget it was The Great Bachchan who was acting and actually enjoy the character, something i have not been able to do ever since directors have insisted on him playing the angry old man!
Amitabh Bachchan( Budhadeb Gupta) is a 64 year old irascible , peppery old bachelor , who is the chef, and owner of London's finest Indian restaurant.He lives a life devoid of any spice or social contacts other than his nervy kitchen staff, his old mother, played by Zohra Seghal, and a nine year old girl, Sexy, his confidant, who is full of worldly wisdom and useful advice.Tabu( Nina Verma) is a 34 year old unmarried women, who comes to London, as a tourist.With her unique, subtle sense of humor, silent, smiling ways, and Hyderabadi saffrani( no idea abt the spelling!) pilau adds that zing to the Amitabh's life. The only obstacle to a sweet ending is Paresh Rawal, Nina's father, who is 6 years younger than Budha, and a Gandhian principles follower!
The movie ladles out a delicious helping of Zohra Seghals flawless performance.A funny, endearing , unconventional mother , who cheerfully copes with her cynical, perfectionist of a son, accompanied by a tangy dollop of Sexy's intelligent childish insights.Though i do think her character was a bit unreal, but what is a story without fantasy!
Parish Rawal was a little let down, its a ok ok performance, and the Gandhi element he brings along, seems to be a forced attempt at silly comedy. This is when the film becomes surfeit with too many ingredients. It must something to do with the land! As long as the film is shot in London, the editing is clean, short and rational.But as soon as the film embarks on Indian soil, it gives way to melodrama, myths, minars and murgi! Unfortunately, a little sweetness seeps in , that even Paresh Rawal's declining sugar levels cannot curb!
The frames and visuals , like the script , are fresh,stylish, and edging towards minimal.The music, forgettable. Amitabh looks cool and dashing in his designer sweats and shades! Tabu although by no means young is beautiful, elegant and graceful, her earthiness is refreshing after the bubbly bright,annoyingly, chirpy actresses that old men repeatedly fall in love with!
All in all, Director R.Balki has dished out a delectable debut.