Verdict - Warm, yet snail paced and lacking in zest
Like a good dish that is just good and never great, Luv Shuv With chicken Khurana is decent yet not with enough "meat" and zest in it to make for a delightful expereince. Just as the epynomous dish in the name is missing the secret ingredient, LSTCK too lacks that something that could make it come alive despite having all the ingreditents in place.
Omi,played by Kunal Kapoor, is a selfish broke and jobless youngster who is sent back from London to the house he ran away from after stealing money as a kid to clear off his debt. Hoping to raise money here, he inherits a dhaba of his senile grandpa and a recipe of chicken Khurana, a dish that has one key ingredient missing. Through his search for the missing spice, he finds his way back to his own good self and his lost family.
Director Samer Sharma manages to get the basics pitch perfectly right. Punjab is not the glitzy Karan Johar Yash Raj affair but a believable reality. The characters are sufficiently odd ball, especially the pretend mad Titu and smoking Bua Santani. Shunning the glossy picture that Punjab brings to mind on screen, he opts for a warm lived in texture to the pallete, giving the film a sense of warmth, much like some home made food.
That though is not enough to make for some great cinema. For while the characters are likable, one can sense the utter lack of chemistry and energy in the proceedings. Niether the situations nor the characters are exploited for the inherent madness in them, the jokes fall flat save for a few liners, and the entire love track in the secong half is extremely insipid and slow. The Chicken Khurana, and search for its recipe it self makes a belated entry in the movie and by then patience is already running thin.
Kunal Kapoor is too unstarry to carry off a lead role of this kind. In the hands of someone with a stronger screen presence, the role could have risen above the shoddy writing. Hume Qureshi is brilliant as Harman, her beauty and acting chops in perfect display. Titu, aka Rajesh Sharma and Dolly Ahluwalia are the other memorable performances, sadly none of them are allowed any leaverage to go crazy by the laidback writing.
LSTCK is not an unwatchable film though. At two hours fifteen minutes, it seems like going on for eternity with some laughs here and there. While you wouldnt be disappointed, dont expect a Khosla ka ghosla as the promos suggested.