With an interesting title like 'Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana' and an ensemble cast that promised humour of a different kind, this Anurag Kashyap production doesn't really succeed in its endeavour.
Though director Sameer Sharma did have a promising premise, those two hours spent into stretching it to a feature film was always going to be a challenging task. Sadly, this 'Chicken Khurana' turns out to be semi-cooked and though it does make one believe what it could have been, the final dish isn't quite the kind that must have been intended.
The film's lead protagonist, Kunal Kapoor, is a grey character who steals money from his grand father (Vinod Nagpal), ends up owing money to a UK gangster (Munish Makhija), cheats on his childhood crush (Huma Qureshi), damages an eye of his younger brother (Rahul Bagga), tells tons of lies to his other family members (Rajesh Sharma, Rajendra Sethi) and almost comes back full circle by attempting to steal money from his own home. However redemption comes when he picks up the mantle of rebuilding his grand father's 'dhabha' which was once famous for it's 'Chicken Khurana'.
One really expected the hunt for that perfect recipe to be a zingy exercise but all one gets to see is one iteration after another being spent between Kunal and Huma as they try to crack the recipe. In the middle of this all their love blossoms as well but that too is hardly convincing. Moreover, there is a love story brewing between Rahul and a Bengali widow (Anangsha Biswas) which neither fits in well into the movie nor culminates convincingly.
What is convincing are some light moments, most of which are in the first half of the film, courtesy Rajesh Sharma. After 'Ishqiya', 'No One Killed Jessica' and 'The Dirty Picture', this is yet another good performance from the actor who has the knack of fitting into any and very role. Moreover, his one liners perk up the proceedings every time the film doesn't have anything else to offer in a scene.
The problem though is that there are quite a few instances where the film just doesn't move. There are way too many scenes shot in the night and blame it on the lighting or the inadequate colour correction but the screen almost goes blank for long durations. Moreover, the film's slow pace only adds on to the woes and with the graph hardly seeing any momentum, one ends up wondering what really does 'Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana' have to offer.
In a role which is pretty much an extension of what the young actress had played in 'Gangs of Wasseypur', Huma gets into the firebrand avtar with conviction all over again. Also, for someone aware of her sexuality, she does well and fits in well into the Punjabi milieu. On the other hand Kunal is tailor-made for the role as he just comes across as a character who has lived in this part of the country for ages. He is good, earnest and gives just the correct performance.
However the film as a whole isn't really correct as it doesn't grow any further after the basic conflict (hunt for the perfect recipe) has been set. Moreover, the way this recipe is finally discovered is a complete sham, and so is the way in which the film comes to its conclusion.
It is indeed difficult to decipher what exactly was 'Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana' trying to convey. Was it about 'luv shuv' (which is evidenced only sporadically), was it about 'chicken' (which is just way too much and loses its zing after a while) or was it about the Khurana family (which actually was the best part of the enterprise)? After a while one actually gives up on that because this Sameer Sharma film turns out to be a different, yet not-so-delicious item in the Bollywood menu.