Tarla movie review: Huma Qureshi’s portrayal of India's kitchen queen falls flat but Sharib Hashmi stands out



    An unassuming housewife, mother of three, gets support from her husband in a journey to become India's kitchen queen.

    Director :
    • Piyush Gupta
    Cast :
    • Huma Qureshi,
    • Sharib Hashmi
    Genre :
    • Drama
    Language :
    • Hindi
    Platform :
    • OTT
    Tarla movie review: Huma Qureshi’s portrayal of India's kitchen queen falls flat but Sharib Hashmi stands out
    Updated : October 20, 2023 05:29 PM IST

    An attempt of weaving celebrity chef Tarla Dalal’s success story into a full-length movie must have been a task for director Piyush Gupta but the serving was unexpectedly bland, absolutely not appetising like Tarla’s famed recipes. Huma Qureshi superficially brings out the aura of the Padma Shri awardee but then the storyteller had already played it safe with an outright disclaimer that it is a story of someone like Tarla in her times. However, Sharib Hashmi’s nuanced and perfect representation of an in-making open-minded husband will make it worth watching.

    A young girl named Tarla (Huma Qureshi) sporting a hair band and noticing a teacher’s gait in the introduction scene seemed quite sketchy for the 70s era. Her typical Indian parents put an end to her ‘kuch to karna hai’ dream to stress the fact that it can get fulfilled after marriage. Next enters Naleen Dalal (Sharib Hashmi) in her life, who promises to be supportive till the time she realises her dream. The story seamlessly progresses from their marriage scene, the arrival of their three kids to the entry of neighbourhood Jaishree Aunty (Bharti Achrekar). Huma is a typical unassuming housewife who thrives for worldly fame but remains a non-starter amid family responsibilities.

    The plot further propels at a slow pace, instilling boredom but Jaishree Aunty and Tarla’s conversation during vegetable shopping breathes in some much-needed spunk. All hunky-dory sequences form the building block for Tarla’s discovery of accomplishment when Jaishree Aunty’s daughter Kavya says that her dream of becoming a journalist was fulfilled just because of her ‘paneer kofta’. Thereafter, Naleen sets out to fulfil his promise and stands by Tarla right from her cooking classes to publishing her first cookbook. At the time, when the director prepares to serve the actual meal, the weak screenplay and loose editing already eat up the appetite.

    What follows next is the same struggle that of a nearly progressive husband to happily digest the success of his wife. But the inclusion of the scene where Tarla’s mother schools her for being irresponsible and especially ‘baal katwake bandariya hogayi’ dialogue helps set the intense tone right after. However, the main message arrives too late in the movie by the time it becomes too exhausting. Though Nitesh Tiwari, Ashwiny Tiwari and Ronnie Screwvala’s production venture set high expectations, the poor execution disappoints.

    Huma, in the titular role, appeared sketchy perhaps due to an over-the-top attempt to make her character stand out. So far, the actress has headline strong characters, the role of confused and docile housewife just didn’t leave an impact. Sharib, on the other hand, gave a clap-worthy act, especially in emotional scenes. Sharib impresses with his nuanced performance, not to forget to mention the interview scene with a company CEO, which is one of the highlights of the movie.

    As they say, too many cooks spoil the broth; misdirected efforts by the movie makers overdid the cooking when less could have been enough. Alas, the final dish turned up unflavoured. Sharib was definitely the standout — but one man could only have done that much! Whether you like it or not but movie rightly puts it: Tasty food can win hearts, good chefs can change the world!