Indian food is one of the most sought after cuisine in the world mainly due to the simple fact that its so varied & vast that each state itself has been blessed with their own distinct palates. Our very own Kerala, "God's own country" has such a huge spread which keeps changing from Trivandrum to Kozhikode like paal payasam to Aleesa. Interestingly, the Malayalis love for food is what has been chosen as the basic theme for Aashiq Abu's latest venture "Salt n Pepper". The question now is, will the dish be lapped up by the audience or will it go down the drain???
The moment the credits starts rolling, we are witness to a wide array of heavenly dishes that our salivary glands starts working over time. Kalidasan (Lal) who is the protagonist of the movie, is an archeologist by profession whose interest lies in unraveling the secrets of different cuisines rather than in historic relics. Assisting him in this quest for ultimate food glory is his talented cook, Babu (Baburaj). However things start changing in his life following a wrong number from Maya (Shweta Menon), a dubbing artist. What then follows is the budding of a relationship; but as one knows, life is a labyrinth of twists & that's what forms the framework of the movie.
After the debacle of "Daddy Cool", Aashiq Abu is back with his latest venture which has got food as its basic theme which is both refreshing & inadequately tapped territory. This tasteful delight has been penned by the new duo of Syam Pushkaran & Dileesh Nair. Though the story isnt path breaking, it's the treatment & screenplay that sets it apart. Another major plus point has been the situational comedy which is totally in sync with the events rather than been forced down the throat of the audience. Shyju Khaled has to be lauded for the fantastic savory visuals which will have the eateries earning extra bucks than usual during the interval. The music by Bijibal also deserves a word of praise especially for the track "Kaanamullal" rendered by Shreya Ghoshal & Ranjith. Last but not the least, the impressive promos & unique poster designs has gone a long way in creating an interest in the audience.
In the performance department, I have no qualms in admitting that Baburaj was simply outstanding & easily the very best among an impressive star cast. Having always seen him as a rogue police, this was a delectable change & he has done total justice to the character. Lal & Shweta as always comes up with a winning performance yet again; while the youngsters, Mythili & Asif Ali seems to be picking up the tricks of the trade pretty fast.
Verdict: Definitely one of the best movies to have come out this year & Aashiq Abu has without doubt nailed it this time. The best clean situational comedy to have come out since "Pranchiyettan & the Saint", with the box office bells going to ring crazy for the next couple of weeks. In short, dont think twice, watch it without fail...with just a word of caution, kindly have your food before you watch the film or you will be swallowing your saliva the whole time!!!