Jadoo (R13)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner7/09/2013

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 84 mins

Appetising comedy enlivened by lively performances, mouth-watering food photography and a funny script that refreshingly side steps some of the expected clichés, though the climax is disappointingly messy and some of the characters get weirdly side lined.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Amit Gupta (who based the story on his own background), Jadoo (which means 'Magic') is set in Leicester's Golden Mile and stars Amara Karan as Shalini, an engaged Indian woman who's thrilled when her father Raja (Harish Patel) immediately accepts her white fiancé Mark (Tom Mison) as one of the family. However, Shalini has a tougher job on her hands when it comes to repairing a family feud between Raja and his brother Jadi (Kulvinder Ghir): 10 years previously they fell out, closed the family restaurant and opened two rival restaurants instead, with each brother getting half of the fabled family recipe book (one gets the starters, the other the mains).

Luckily, Shalini – whose heart is set on having both brothers prepare the perfect wedding feast - has a plan and she secretly enters both brothers in a cookery contest judged by Madhur Jaffrey. Meanwhile, the brothers also face opposition from a rival restaurant owner (Ray Panthaki).

The Good
Amara Karan (The Darjeeling Ltd) makes a likeable lead as Shalini, sparking affecting chemistry with her various family members, particularly cuddly comic character actor Harish Patel, who's on top blustery form as Raja. In addition, Gupta's witty, warm hearted script does a great job of side stepping some of the usual clichés – it's refreshing, for example, to see him immediately accept his prospective son-in-law, especially given the large number of similar movies where that would be a major plot point.

However, the film's secret ingredient is cinematographer Roger Pratt, whose exceptional food photography is genuinely mouth watering and will have you running for the nearest curry house after the film. (Sadly, despite the plot hinging on precious family recipes, there's very little in the way of actual cooking tips).

The Bad
That's not to say the film is without problems – for one thing, the promising competition sequences are poorly handled and the messy finale seems badly rushed, as if they'd planned to film a big climactic wedding sequence and then run out of money so ditched it at the last minute. Similarly, some of the supporting characters get weirdly side lined - the downside of Raja accepting Mark immediately is that Tom Mison is left with little or nothing to do, while one assumes that several scenes featuring Ray Panthaki's character ended up on the cutting room floor, because the rival restaurant owner subplot goes nowhere.

Worth seeing?
Despite some rough edges, Jadoo is a charming and enjoyable Britcom enlivened by likeable performances, a witty, warm hearted script and some heavenly food photography. Worth seeing.

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Content updated: 14/11/2019 11:01

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