Film Review: Cheeni Kum


Film: Cheeni Kum

Writer and Director: R Balki

Producer: Sunil Manchanda

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Tabu, Paresh Rawal, Zohra Seghal, Swini Khara

Rating: 4/5


Each one is awarded an age each year. To many it is simply a new number, to others it is a baggage and a notice of dos and don’ts. Cheeni Kum is a remarkable film that explores not one but several relationships between characters of varied age groups.


At 64, Budhhadev Gupta (Amitabh Bachchan) is the chef of London’s finest Indian restaurant. He is arrogant, sardonic and completely passionate about his food and restaurant.  Into the restaurant walks 34 year old Neena Verma (Tabu), who angers Gupta with a complaint about the very same food he makes with passion. Soon enough a relationship between the two that began with rudeness blossoms into a tasteful romance. Hitch? The 30 years between the two is the least of their problems… however, convincing Neena’s 58 year old father (Paresh Rawal) is.


While love is just a part of the problem, Gupta’s confidante, nine year old Sexy (Swini Khara) is battling blood cancer. Apart from the bag of witty one liners she throws at Gupta, she is also his pillar of strength. The film explores the journey of relationships through all its phases.


Cheeni Kum accomplishes a lot more than one initially expects it to. The story and screenplay is fresh. The film’s variety of characters and thought levels takes you to a new plane all together. The bond between each character has been beautifully scripted and expressed through the medium of cinema.


There is an extraordinary essence of purity and passion that is seen in the film, and though commercial in every sense of the word, does not take it to an extreme. Each character has been treated individualistically, yet in consideration of the larger story that is being told. The outcome of all this is an expressive and heartrending film.


Sharp dialogues make the film exclusive and the intensity of wit, sarcasm and love that has been thrown into creating them is evident. Each line makes sense not only to the character’s personality but also to the response of the character it is being delivered at. Also the manner in which product placements are handled is exemplary. Without being in you face, the products (Sugar Free and Catch Spices) are integrated into the film. Kudos to ad man Balki.


The music provided by maestro Illaiyaraaja is poignant and has been placed beautifully in the film, amplifying the on screen actions.


Keeping in mind that the film is based in London and Delhi, the director has understood the environment and has shot the film accordingly. The grey, yellow and blue of London and the rich, vivid colours of Delhi resonate throughout the film. Cinematographer PC Sreeram makes each scene come alive with the vibrancy that has been captured. The editing is tight and the scissor has been used well to tell the tale in the right amount of time.


However, the grey area in the film is the inclusion of additional performers, who for a minute take the film away from the main characters. They, in the larger picture, seem inconsequential to the plot or the narrative. One would have liked to see more of the chemistry between Bachchan and the other characters, which would have perhaps made the film far more stirring.


The actors have proven to be true artists. Bachchan yet again has raised the bar by his performance. His expressions, delivery and body language have you yearning for more. Tabu leaves you on a high, her smile and charm lights up the screen. Rawal as the cricket and Gandhi loving man and an overprotective father has you in splits. Segal sets the screen ablaze with her lines and performance. However, pitted against these veterans, it is nine year old Khara who shines the most. She moves you to tears with her performance (Bravo!).


Cheeni Kum, which releases alongside Shootout at Lokhandwala might find stiff competition in getting a sensational opening week. Nevertheless, with all the appreciation has garnered, it might just bring about a pleasant change at the box office.


On any given day Cheeni Kum is a must watch. This film is all passion where the magic of being is brought to life.