He has a radio program on WXOU out of Oakland University
Wild At Heart
Here today to talk about a new movie coming out entitled “Today’s Special” which was inspired by Aasif Mandvi's play, ‘Sakina's Restaurant’. Now I haven’t seen the play but after seeing the movie, I think I might have preferred to see this work itself out on stage than on the big screen. The movie is about Samir (Aasif Mandvi), a sous chef at an upscale New York restaurant, who becomes frustrated with his boss (the way underused Dean Winters) after he fails to get a promotion to run a new restaurant (almost reminds me of last weeks ‘Hell’s Kitchen’. Samir decides to quit his job and go to France to become an apprentice chef. He tries to tell his parents of his decision and his mother (Madhur Jaffrey) keeps trying to get him to settle down with a nice Indian girl and his father (Harish Patel) is convinced he will amount to nothing, esp after the death of his brother. What they both have in common is not letting their son truly speak to them about what he is feeling. His father suffers a heart attack soon after Samir tells him he is leaving and ends up putting his life on hold and he takes over running the families Indian restaurant, Tandoori Palace. Samir fights with the sloppy cook, who quits, leaving Samir being a chef of a restaurant in which he doesn’t know how to cook this style of food. He meets a cab driver, Akbar (Naseeruddin Shah) who is a bit larger than life and supposedly a top notch cook. Akbar (also the best character in the movie) helps Samir out with the restaurant and giving him cooking lessons. In the course of the movie, he also learns to understand his father and form a relationship with his co-worker, Carrie (Jess Weixler) which leads to his taking over the family business which is becoming the best Indian restaurant in the city.
The film is really trying to tell a story of a man at the crossroads of his career and tries to balance his traditional Indian life with that of a modern Indian in New York. The film should be about relationships, esp with his parents but they are not around enough to really make things take on real significance. I can see how this would work marvelously on the stage but the movie is too long and doesn’t take enough time to really bring a satisfying climax to his relations. I wanted a more magical moment with his girlfriend, some more angst ridden and touching moments with his parents. Things just seem to happen too fast for real emotional ties with the audience. I think this film would be a great TV movie but could have used something more to be a great cinema film. The dishes created for the restaurant needed heart and soul to be made, but I think the makers of this film used to much of their mind to tell a by the book movie and missed some of the magic. I much used theme of the film is “Trust Me” and I think the filmmakers just missed the boat hear. I give the film a C+.