A Mumbai family leaves political duress in the homeland, migrates in a van to rural France, and mingles ethnic spices with haute cuisine across an embattled country road. This could be the recipe for a hokey immigration fable, but in director Lasse Hallstrom's able hands, and with a cast led by the formidable Helen Mirren and Om Puri, The Hundred Foot Journey is the summer's tastiest movie.
At its world premiere on Monday night, Manish Dayal, who plays the dreamy eyed son, chef Hassan Kadam, had to be told that with key ingredients of love and food, the movie is sure to be a hit. London based Amit Shah, who plays his older brother, said he was cast because of his ears, large and perked up; he might age to look like Om Puri whose kind cratered face is a perfect complement to Mirren's hauteur as Madame Mallory, a grande dame cum queen.
What can you eat after two hours of watching the reinvention of béchamel with cardamom and coriander? The Monkey Bar after party featured a buffet with chicken tikki and basmati rice, and producers Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, joined the cast, as did Taylor Hackford, Lena Olin, and song man Michael Feinberg who assured us his cabaret venue, erstwhile at the Regency, will be revived in the fall on Broadway.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.