Review: LUV SHUV TEY CHICKEN KHURANA, Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before...
Once upon a time there was a rowdy young adult NRI (non-resident Indian) living it up in London. This young man decides to take a train journey across Europe and on this journey he meets the woman of his dreams, Simran. They have a chaste flirtation which ends abruptly when Simran is whisked off to India to fulfill her childhood betrothal to a family friend. Raj dashes off after her to Punjab where he shows that no matter how far from India he's traveled, the culture has always been in his heart. After some shenanigans, misunderstandings, and crying fits, Raj and Simran live happily ever after, and India is the reason. This is the film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.
Let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time a young NRI living in America observes his filial duty and accompanies his dying grandmother back to their ancestral home in Delhi. This young man, Roshan, is at first appalled and overwhelmed by the mad rush of humanity by which he is beseiged upon his arrival in India. However, not too long after he meets a lovely, homely Indian girl named BIttu with whom he falls in love. Through his love of Bittu and her perspective on the craziness that is the old city of Delhi, Roshan comes to understand his own roots and fall in love with the India that he once scorned as backward and out of date. The power of India wins hearts and minds once again. This is the film Delhi 6.
Let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time an NRI NASA scientist decided to find the nanny with whom he grew up in rural India with the intention of bringing her back to America to live the good life. Upon his arrival in India he finds the conditions appalling, no running water, no electricity, no internet, none of the conveniences which he has enjoyed in the USA for so long. Seeing as how he's a NASA scientist, natch, he decides to circumvent the usual corrupt Indian bureaucracy and industrialize his old home town by creating these utilities using little more than spit an chewing gum Along the way he meets a homely Indian girl with whom he falls in love, but not before completing his task of using is unusually convenient skill set to modernize his rural town. He tries leaving to go back to his American home, but doesn't last long and quickly resigns from NASA to return to India and his homely girl. This is the film Swades.
I think you get the point...
In Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana, a young NRI who is in hock with some very dangerous people in London decides to go home to Punjab to pick up some quick cash, clear his debt, and return to the UK. When he arrives in his family's ancestral home, he is overcome by nostalgia and sets forth on a mission to recreate his grandfather's famous chicken recipe, thereby saving the rec center, I mean, the family business. When he arrives he reconnects with a childhood sweetheart who plays hard to get, but is obviously still holding a torch. He has to maneuver through the dangerous waters of regaining the trust of his family, attempting to find the money to pay back his debt, and struggle against the ancient and spellbinding allure of India. Will he pay off his debt? We he say, "fuck it", and make chicken out in the middle of bumfuck Punjab for the rest of his life? Will he marry the girl from his past? SO MANY QUESTIONS!!
Fortunately for you, I've just described every possible outcome for these scenarios in the introductory paragraphs. You connect the dots and you won't have to see this movie. Sure, the movie is cute, there are some new faces, and perhaps the director took a somewhat different angle on the age old story, but not enough to it to ever be surprising or engaging. Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana is slow as molasses and predictable, not a good combination. Add to all that a ridiculously ill-fitting denouement, and you've got problems.
I try really hard to support independent Indian films, and in some ways this film qualifies. However, I can't in good faith support a film that I feel is lazy just because it cost a few rupees less to make. There are lots of great little Indian films floating around, you can check my review archive for dozens of them, Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana isn't one of them.
"Homely" is a term frequently used to indicate the kind of girl who would keep a good home, respectful, kind, and giving. The usual implied meaning is that a homely girl is subservient and quiet.
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