Amit Gupta's family comedy overcomes issues of predictability with a warm personality
This comedy of feuding families in Leicester’s Hindi community has a funny set-up: brothers Raja and Jagi (Harish Patel and Kulvinder Ghir), no longer on speaking terms due to a long-standing dispute, run Indian restaurants on opposite sides of the high street, both using the family name: one is called Chandana, the other Chandana’s. Raja’s restaurant is famed for its great starters, Jagi’s its delicious mains – can you see where this is going yet? When Shalini (Amara Karan), Raja‘s London-dwelling eldest daughter, announces she is getting married to white Englishman Mark (Tom Mison), she takes it upon herself to sort things out once and for all, resolving to convince her dad and uncle to forget their differences and join forces to make the best wedding meal possible.
Despite being slow and predictable, writer/director Amit Gupta’s (Resistance) family comedy is more pleasantly gentle than offensively bland. Gupta pulls details from his own Leicester upbringing above a family restaurant, and the film feels warm and personal as a result. He also clearly understands and loves food, as Jadoo is packed with scenes of mouth-watering meal preparations, successfully capturing the pleasure and significance of families eating together, and the powerful connection between food and memory. And it is particularly refreshing that for once the conflict in a British-Asian film doesn’t centre on a father disapproving of his daughter’s choice of partner; here Patel’s character couldn’t be happier that his daughter is marrying a white man. Unfortunately the plot is nowhere near as accomplished as the food on display, and when the backstory to the brothers’ feud finally emerges the film descends into soapy dramatic clichés. Jadoo lacks the great writing of classic food movies like Big Night or Babette’s Feast, but it is a warm and likeable addition to the genre.
Selected release from Fri 6 Sep.