Samir is a sous chef in Manhattan. He quits when he's not promoted - his boss says his cooking lacks soul. He decides to find an unpaid internship in Paris, but his father suffers a heart attack keeping him home for a few weeks. Samir must run the family's failing Indian restaurant in Queens. He can't cook Indian food, so things get dire when the chef quits: Samir tracks down Akbar, a cabbie who claims to have cooked for British royalty in Bombay. Akbar cooks with mind, heart, and gut - and offers philosophy as well. With the help of Carrie, whom he met at the Manhattan restaurant, Samir begins to enjoy the work. But will his father approve, and if not, what then? Written by
The Daily Show's Aasif Mandvi stars in this surprisingly enjoyable, funny yet heartfelt comedy. Samir works at a premiere restaurant in New York City as the second in command chef of the kitchen, much to the disappointment of his parents. His mother wants to find him a nice Indian-Muslim wife; his father berates Samir and compares him to his deceased brother.
Samir is forced to help out at the family's failing, run-down Indian restaurant -- much to his dismay, because he doesn't know how to cook Indian food. In the process of learning to run the family restaurant and to cook Indian, Samir learns to loosen up and live a little, which begins to show in his cooking.
Probably the best thing about this movie is the eccentric and funny cast of supporting characters, including Samir's parents, the staff at the family restaurant, and a very quirky, free-spirited taxi driver (Naseeruddin Shah, who is excellent).
Of course, Indian food plays a very big part in the story, and the close-up shots of the food will leave you hungry and wanting more.
The story manages to be touching and feel-good without being too syrupy or predictable. Anyone who comes from a traditional background or culture will be able to see parallels between Samir's parents -- who came to New York to struggle for the sake of their children -- and their own. The movie could have done without the budding romance between Samir and Carrie, a chef at Samir's workplace, but otherwise it is a well-written movie with lots of humor and charm.
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