Good food evokes different emotions in people. While some feel nurtured and satisfied, many view it among the little joys of life. Here's a list of movies to watch on OTT that have food as their central plot device.
Julie & Julia (Netflix)
Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adam in central roles, is a definite must-watch for all who consider food to be a poignant element in their lives. It is based on writer Julia Powell's book 'Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen'. The film evolves as a light-hearted tale of two women who associate with food as a way to bring life to their uneventful routine. Julie Powell, played by Amy Adams, is a passionate writer who works at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation's call center. Soon, Julie decides to cook all the recipes given in the 'masterpiece' cookbook curated by Julia Child and share the experience through her blog. The film also depicts days when Julie fails in preparing some dishes and emotional outbreaks due to her hectic schedule (being unable to balance her work and personal life). Meryl Streep and Amy Adams are a delight to watch in this Nora Ephron film.
Julie & Julia, which unfolds the lives of two women entangled in bringing identity into their lives through good food, can be a perfect choice of film to watch if you are looking for an inspiration to explore and enjoy something that you love.
One cannot have a food-based movie list without 'Ratatouille' in it. The comedy-animated film tells the story of a young rat named Remy, who is gifted with a unique sense of smell and taste (unlike others in his mischief), and the naive chef Alfredo Linguini. Remy, who considers the late Auguste Gusteau as his idol, loves cooking and does not see the purpose of food as mere sustenance. His passion for cooking is fulfilled by Alfredo Linguini, son of Auguste Gusteau. The film portrays several scenes in which Remy is speaking about food and making it with a lot of passion and creativity, with the help of Linguini.
On the whole, 'Ratatouille' urges its viewers to appreciate food in the best manner. The film, which was released by Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios, is named after a traditional French dish named 'ratatouille'. It means 'to stir up' in French. The name is apt because the protagonist does stir up quite a storm with his presence in the kitchen.
Maska, which features Prit Kamani, Manisha Koirala and Shirley Setia, takes the audience to the iconic culture of Irani cafes and Parsi cuisine in Mumbai. The film, which was a direct OTT release, unveils the life of Rumi Irani, an aspirant actor who is being persuaded by his mother Diana Irani to run his family business, the Rustom Cafe in South Bombay. Prit Kamani and Manisha Koirala add life to the film. Special mention to a scene in which the mother and son make the popular Irani 'Bun Maska', remembering their good old times. How Rumi transforms his life by taking the 'right path' forms the rest of the film.
Maska also includes a number of scenes that depicts the Mumbaikars' emotional connection to Irani cafes. Javed Jaffrey plays a cameo as Rustom Irani, Rumi's father.
The Chef (Amazon Prime)
The Chef, directed and starred by Iron Man-fame Jon Favreau, shares the story of a passionate chef named Carl Casper, who is on the journey to rediscover his love for innovative dishes and Cuban cuisine while strengthening his bond with his estranged family. Carl, who is humiliated following a 'viral' public altercation with a food critic, joins his ex-wife and son on their trip to Miami. Eventually driven by passion, he opens a food truck, along with his son and friend, serving improvised Cuban delicacies. The film also includes Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson and a cameo by Robert Downey Jr.
Jon Favreau perfectly depicts Carl, giving a clear portrayal of a chef's desperation and confusion after being stuck choosing between traditional and original recipes. The Chef has also been remade in Hindi under the same title, featuring Saif Ali Khan, Padmapriya Janakiraman and Chandan Roy Sanyal.
The Lunchbox (Netflix)
Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur- starrer 'The Lunchbox' unfolds the story of a young wife named Ila and a widower named Saajan Fernandes. The two get a chance to meet and get to know each other (not face-to-face) through a lunchbox mix-up incident in which Ila's lunchbox for her husband (that had small messages as part of her efforts to revoke romance in their relationship) gets accidentally delivered to Saajan, who is living distant from social life following the death of his wife. The film evolves via the small conversations that Ila and Saajan have through the letters they exchange using the lunchbox and connect through good food. The movie also includes a few scenes in which Ila prepares comfort food items including paneer kofta and dal and authentic Maharashtrian dishes for the lunchbox.
Nimrat Kaur and Irrfan Khan have delivered stellar yet subtle performances in the film. Nawazuddin Siddiqui has also delivered an impressive act as Saajan's colleague Aslam Shaikh. It is a heartwarming movie that evokes several good memories.