Food Movie – Today’s Special (2009)


When I think of Indian culture, I think of colourful fashion, the traditional melody of the Indian flute & drum, and the beautiful Bollywood stars BUT surprisingly, not the food.

The movie we are featuring today, is titled “Today’s Special” (2009). It is a movie that showcases the wonderful flavours & colours of Indian food.


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A man gains a new lease on life when circumstances force him to take over the family business in this comedy drama from director David Kaplan. Samir (Aasif Mandvi) is a traditionally trained chef who works as the sous chef in an exclusive restaurant in Manhattan, but when he learns he’s been turned down for an expected promotion, he leaves in a huff and isn’t asked to return. Samir is convinced he’s cut out for better things and considers heading for Europe to attend a culinary academy in Paris.

But Samir’s plans quickly change when he learns that his father (Harish Patel) has suffered a severe heart attack and someone needs to look after the family business, a dingy Indian restaurant in Queens that’s fallen on hard times. While Samir has spent years learning to prepare gourmet cuisine, he’s never had much experience making Indian food, and his mother (Madhur Jaffrey) is singularly unimpressed with his efforts.

Samir has to hire a new cook to assist him, and he ends up with Akbar (Naseeruddin Shah), a cabbie who claims to have cooked for many of India’s leading dignitaries, and with Akbar’s help Samir learns about the soul of Indian cuisine, as well as a few things about himself. Samir also tries to make time for a budding romance with Carrie (Jess Weixler), who worked with him at his old job. Today’s Special was an official selection at the 2009 BFI London Film Festival.


Official Movie Trailer


Our Review

This movie is a perspective from a second generation Indian immigrant-family in the United States; Samir, a young Manhattan chef. The story depicts how they adapt and make a living in a foreign land. Growing up in a different world, many of their native culture & practices are forgotten or neglected as lifestyle evolved through time. However, through circumstances & situation in life, he rediscovers his heritage and his passion for life through the enchanting art of cooking Indian food. It is also a sneak peak of the Indian family business module.

The movie conveys the message that delicious food requires no recipe. It is a work of art from a chef – going by passion & instinct. Finding the right concoction of spices/ingredients is what it takes. The impressive food presentations continue to catch my attention, displaying wide array of colours, just like their fashion.

I was impressed with introduction of the food movie – a brief showcase of the techniques in the art of Indian cooking.

Overall, it is a simple plot with the usual Hollywood style of ending.

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