There are men who can carry films and boys who are excess baggage in a film full of talented performers. Kunal Kapoor, despite his natural flair for Punjabi, floats around like an unpalatable feather in this watery dish of a film about a family discovering the secret ingredient behind the finger-lickingly good Chicken Khurana.
With its hero, rather the main ingredient, suspect, Chicken Khurana relies entirely on the gravy to feed your appetite for entertainment.
The quirks of Punjabi culture and the rooted humour work like a charm if you are familiar with the nuances of the language. How long you can watch a film that rides only on the charm of the ensemble depends on your threshold of patience but once you give up on the film halfway, the film rewards you with genuinely heart-warming moments towards the last half hour.
A fantastic Huma Qureshi infuses plenty of warmth to this unusual love story, seizes control and takes charge of it in the second half to put a smile on your face.
Earlier on, there is a hilariously staged gag about the family’s genuine concern for their London-return visitor’s underwear problem.
The supremely talented support cast including Vinod Nagpal, Rajesh Sharma, Dolly Alhuwalia and Rahul Bagga are terrific and provide a few laughs but this breezy, light-hearted feel-good film is all flavour, no meat.
Writer Sumit Bhatheja’s lines are steeped in Punjabi slang and humour to make up for the pace and provide you with an experiential tour of Laltan village and its motley crew of characters.
But once you have met them, it is a rather long wait for us till the hero learns a lesson that Kung Fu Panda learnt about the “secret ingredient”.
Amit Trivedi tries to make the most of this opportunity and comes up with a score that is rooted and modern at the same time.
As refreshing as it is to see Punjab outside the world of the Chopras and Johars, you do leave the hall with a half-empty stomach.
Something is amiss here. Maybe making this hero the ‘chicken’ wasn’t the smartest idea.