Spice odyssey you'll warm to ; Leicester has a homemade hit on its hands with Jadoo, says Gemma Collins. A feel-good comedy about warring chef siblings, it's topped off with a generous helping of honesty
Jadoo ... Certificate 12A They say all the world's a stage, but Leicester's famous Golden Mile was transformed into a filmset for this year's biggest British-Asian comedy, Jadoo.
Written and directed by Belgrave-born Amit Gupta, Jadoo is based on his own childhood, a tale of fun, food and family feud and is the perfect balance of amusing and moving.
The story revolves around two brothers, Raja (Harish Patel) and Jagi (Kulvinder Ghir) both wonderful chefs, who fall out catastrophically.
In the heat of the moment, the pair rip up the family recipe book, leaving one brother with the starters and the other the main courses. They then set up rival restaurants on opposite sides of the road.
Neither brother will admit it, but they can now only cook half of the perfect Indian meal - a fact that drives them mad. It takes Raja's beloved daughter Shalini (Amara Karan) - a successful corporate lawyer marrying a man from a very different background - to reunite them, determined that together they will cook her the perfect Indian wedding banquet.
Don't be fooled into thinking this is a film about Asian people, made for Asian people. Sure, it has Bollywood influences, and the soundtrack is a nod to Indian cinema of old, but Jadoo is a Brit flick, made in Leicester for a cross-cultural audience. The soundtrack boasts a brilliant new track by Amit's old Loughborough Grammar school mate, Felix Buxton, of Basement Jaxx fame.
It does feel like a very personal film, a celebration of culture and contemporary life, a love letter to Leicester, including a scene where Raja is reading the Leicester Mercury.
It's even shot by Leicester born-and-bred cinematographer, Roger Pratt (End Of The Affair, Batman), using a camera lens made in Thurmaston, no less.
But aside of the fondly familiar setting, it's a genuinely entertaining, relevant film in its own right. There's an honesty about Jadoo, a real journey; a simplicity, yet complexity of relationships.
It's fascinating how the story unfolds . There are laugh-out- loud moments from the word go, coupled with surprisingly tender touches. Patel's comic timing is priceless, his character reveling in the prescribed battle, while Ghir expertly plays the hard-done- by brother with a stubbornness that elicits both sympathy and frustration. And there are plenty of familiar faces that simply strengthen Jadoo's credibility, including Tom Mison (One Day), Ray Panthaki (EastEnders), Adeel Akhtar (Four Lions), Paul Bazely (Benidorm) and a cameo from celebrity chef, Madhur Jaffrey.
Jadoo couldn't be more of a contrast to the critically acclaimed thriller, Resistance, Amit's first-feature film, based on the novel by Owen Sheers. What it does share, is a deft directorial hand and a name we can surely expect to see more of in the future.
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