In “The Hundred-Foot Journey“, Hassan Kadam (played by Manish Dayal) who is a culinary prodigy from Mumbai (India) lands in a remote village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in South France. Homeless, the Kadam family (Hassan’s father and siblings) struggle to start a restaurant and find roots in a foreign land, placing their bets on Hassan’s superb cooking skills & his father’s business acumen. Their plan is to introduce the french to masala curry, for that they buy an abundant restaurant, which is just opposite (hundred foot) to a Michelin star french restaurant. There starts a business rivalry between the senior Kadam (played by Om Puri) and Madame Mallory (played by Helen Mirren). In parallel, romance develops between Hassan and Marguerite (played by Charlotte Le Bon) who is a Sous-Chef (Under-Chef) in Madame Mallory’s restaurant. The story starts off well, keeps audience interested till the time Hassan joins as a Sous-Chef under Madame, but the last 15-20 minutes felt slow and Hollywood cliche to me.
Michelin star ratings are the gold standard that every restaurant aspires to get. Here I remembered reading about the surprising story of how this came about. The system was started by the french tire manufacturer André Michelin in early 1900s.
The film is directed by Lasse Hallström, produced by India’s Anil Ambani (Reliance Entertainment), Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey (for Dreamworks Pictures). A R Rahman has done a fine background score. The country side of South France shown in the film are breath taking, I wish to live for a month or two in the village shown. Wikipedia says shooting was done in the same village Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val that was shown on screen and Netherlands, no wonder it’s lovely. Manish Dayal has portrayed finely a young ambitious chef, the on screen chemistry between him and Charlotte Le Bon, comes out nicely.