As two mega films hit the screens of all theaters in my city today (from as early as 6:00 am), I consider myself lucky that I got to watch this delightful piece of cinema called Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana. Based on the life of Omi Khurana (Kunal Kapoor) who returns to his home in Punjab after getting into trouble with a loan shark in UK, LSTCK traces the journey of a man who loses and rediscovers family, love and food in one crazy yet magical journey back to his roots.
Omi Khurana comes back to Punjab, back to the once famous Chiken Khurana dhaaba that his grandfather used to run to realize things are not the way he had left them. He has a lot of money to return to the loan shark and realizes that his grandfather’s famous chicken recipe is the only thing that might save him and let him return. But how can the story be so simple? Once back, he has to deal with the girl he had abandoned years back, and his dysfunctional family, full of wonderfully eccentric characters.
Like a good dish that has all the ingredients in just the right measure, left to mingle with each other and simmer on their own, first time director Sameer Sharma has let some unique characters in some unique situations – making for really enjoyable cinema. Some of the characters are the pot-smoking godwoman, played by a effortless Dolly Ahluwalia and a man who pretends to be mad just to freeload on his sister, played by the very talented Rajesh Sharma. Another refreshing thing about the movie is the complete departure from the usual way Punjabi families are portrayed in Hindi cinema. Sameer Sharma’s take on Punjab is much more realistic and eccentric, not sticking to the done-to-death stereotypes that everyone is quick to adopt.
The film is an indulgent piece of work, with even flashback scenes shot in beautiful shadow frames. This means that the movie goes on at a leisurely pace, but because of the great performances, you are least likely to mind it. While the first half of the movie goes into establishing the premise and the relationship between Omi and his childhood sweetheart Harman, played by the stunning Huma Qureshi, the second half sees all the action and twists, all leading to the hilarious climax. The highlight of the movie is the level of performance put in by all the actors, with a special mention to Rajesh Sharma, who stands out with his act as the whacky Tito.
Adding to the enjoyability of the film is Amit Trivedi’s music. Both the songs and the background score evoke the required emotions from the viewers, with a very distinct Punjabi rustic feel. Watch out for the ‘Luni Hasi’ song that keeps playing in the background.. the singers impress with a soothing rendition. Amit Trivedi shows us once again why he’s a force to reckon with.
All in all, LSTCK reminds one of the Hrishikesh Mukherjee brand of cinema that focused on emotions and treated stories with immense simplicity and deep attention. The movie will move you, make you laugh, cry.. it will make you fall in love with food and the beauty of how it connects a family together. LSTCK works because it is so simple, proving that a focus on the essentials is more than enough for good cinema. Go watch LSTCK, for this little gem has its heart at the right place.