It is World Food Day on October 16. With the Covid-19 pandemic showing no signs of losing steam anytime soon, now is hardly the time to venture out and dine at your favourite restaurants or try new ones. However, to retain the culinary spirit, Silverscreen India has put together a list of 10 movies that will bring forth the perfect epicurean experience.
1. The Lunchbox (2013)
A heart-warming story about neglected wife Ila (Nimrat Kaur) who dutifully sends over delicious lunches every day for her husband and a lonely widower Sajan (Irrfan Khan), who is on the brink of retirement. A mix-up by the iconic Bombay dabbawallas results in the lunchbox, meant for Ila’s husband, being delivered to Sajan, who is captivated by her cooking. They soon strike up an unlikely friendship, which gradually blossoms into a fondness for each other, all pivoted on Ila’s delectable lunchboxes.
2. Julie & Julia (2009)
Julie Powell (Amy Adams) is a young woman who decides to emulate all of Julia Child’s recipes in a year and record the attempts in her blog. Simultaneously, the movie showcases renowned chef Julia Child’s (Meryl Streep) journey to master French cooking in the 1950s. The film moves along two timelines to depict two different women and how intertwined their lives are. It dedicates multiple scenes to showcase some of Child’s famous recipes; including beef bourguignon, tomato bruschetta, and raspberry Bavarian cream.
3. The Chef (2014)
Starring Jon Favreau as Carl, this movie follows the life a professional chef who decides to start his own food truck, after losing his job at a fine dining restaurant. He goes back to his Cuban roots by cooking Cuban sandwiches and briskets. The scene where Carl makes a classic grilled cheese sandwich for his son will inspire the viewers to don their chef’s hats.
4. Kaaka Muttai (2015)
Two young brothers residing in a slum in Chennai embark on a series of adventures to buy a pizza. The story sheds light on class differences in society through their struggle to get pizza. The theme of food is hard to miss. It runs throughout the movie in scenes such as the boys’ desire to taste pizza, their love for crows’ eggs, and helping rich children taste roadside panipuris.
5. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Who can forget everlasting gobstoppers, scrumptious chocolates, and three-course gum in Willy Wonka’s factory? A dark tale of dysfunctional families and misbehaving children, this movie is all about food, and almost everything in the factory is edible. Based on Roald Dahl’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, this 1971 adaptation features Gene Wilder as the eccentric chocolate maker Willy Wonka. The book and movie have inspired chocolatiers to create real-life Wonka bars and gobstopper cakes.
6. Ustad Hotel (2012)
Faizal, a young chef (Dulquer Salmaan), is at a loss when his father takes away his passport and credit cards after finding out that he studied culinary arts instead of hotel management. Faizal then travels to Kozhikode and begins to help his grandfather run the eponymous Ustad Hotel. A major portion of the film is devoted to food and conversations about food. It is filled with delightful cooking sequences and references to Malabar cuisine. Despite being a classic tale about renovating and reinventing a hotel, this movie makes it clear that the film’s hero is food.
7. Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana (2012)
Omi (Kunal Kapoor) flees from London after he is unable to repay the money he owes to a gangster. He returns to his native place and realises that his grandfather’s dhaba is in shambles. Old age has dimmed his grandfather’s memory and he has forgotten the secret ingredient of their signature dish ‘Chicken Khurana’. Omi takes it upon himself to discover the ingredient and restore lost glory of the dhaba.
8. Maacher Jhol (2017)
A Michelin starred chef, Devdatto (Ritwick Chakraborty) returns from Paris to Kolkata after 13 years to visit his ailing mother. Despite being a culinary genius, he is expected to cook a version of humble maacher jhol (fish curry), a staple in Bengali households, as per his mother’s wish. As he goes about creating several versions of maacher jhol for his mother (who keeps finding faults at every attempt), he rediscovers the family he had left behind and the emotional distress he has caused. Like every good movie about food, director Pratim D Gupta has liberally interwoven food sequences into the plot to captivate the viewer’s interest and emotions. Hang around till the end credits if you want to learn the chef’s final version of maacher jhol, which finally won his mother’s approval!
9. Ratatouille (2007)
In this Disney film, a rat named Remy possesses an impeccable ability to taste and understand food. His goal of becoming a chef is achieved when he encounters a garbage boy Linguini at a famous restaurant. Together, they devise a plan where Remy will secretly guide Linguini to create delicious dishes at the restaurant. This is a story about friendship, chaos, and most importantly, delicious Parisian food.
10. Chocolat (2000)
Vianne (Juliette Binoche) and daughter move to a quaint French village and open a chocolaterie during the season of Lent. However, the villagers disapprove because they believe that it tempts them from practising abstinence and discipline. The movie depicts how Vianne helps the repressed village folk come out and embrace life with her delicious variety of chocolates and treats.