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A rivalry to curryfavour ; Anything Birmingham's chip-loving Anglo-Greeks can do... Leicester's curry-loving Indians can do, too! GRAHAM YOUNG looks... [Birmingham Mail (UK)]

September 6, 2013

YellowBrix

A rivalry to curryfavour ; Anything Birmingham's chip-loving Anglo-Greeks can do... Leicester's curry-loving Indians can do, too! GRAHAM YOUNG looks at a new film set in the East Midlands city

IT'S just five months since city-born Marcus Markou used his family chip shop background to make his writing-directing debut with Papadopoulos & Sons, the story of two warring brothers, a pair of rival-owned fast food shops and an international financial crisis.

Now we're getting Jadoo, an Anglo-Asian drama set in the East Midlands' heartland, where writer-director Amit Gupta has also based this food-related wedding comedy on his own family's restaurant history.

Low budget it may be, but there's no denying the talent involved in what has been another labour of love for all concerned.

The score is by Papadopoulos & Sons' Stephen Warbeck, whose CV includes Billy Elliot and the 1999 Oscar for Shakespeare in Love.

And it has been shot by Leicester-born cinematographer Roger Pratt, Oscar-nominated in 2000 for The End of the Affair and who has since made two Harry Potter films, The Karate Kid and captured Judi Dench and Johnny Depp in Chocolat.

The term Jadoo is explained on screen at the beginning as being the 'Hindi word for magic'. Oh, ''and a famous Indian restaurant which closed in Leicester a few years ago after a family fallout described as a spicy ****storm''.

Just like Padadopoulos & Sons, the plot concerns the rivalry between two restaurants on either side of the same road.

The difference this time being that the siblings, Raja and Jagi, are in direct opposition.

Into the mix comes Raja's daughter Shalini (Amara Karan), a successful corporate lawyer in London who plans to marry a white boyfriend, Mark (Tom Mison). Mison and Karan make for an agreeable couple while Run Fatboy Run and Coronation Street star Harish Patel is comedy gold as Raja.

Amit Gupta, who made his directorial debut in Resistance (2011), decided to set the film in his home city of Leicester and to use lots of family photos as reference points.

"I hope that's led to us capturing authenticity," says Amit. "Raja spent most of his childhood in India, Jagi didn't, and this is reflected in the way the actors play their roles.

"Jadoo is a love letter to where I grew up. My family opened The Chaat House Restaurant in Leicester on New Year's Eve 1976.

"My mother and aunt continued to run it until principal photography on Jadoo was completed in April 2012."

He adds: "The food in the restaurant was made up of dishes from my mother's side of the family and the business was run by my father.

"He was an artist turned restaurateur who had run off to Bombay in the 1950s to become a movie star, only to be told he was too short!

"Later he was to run the first Bollywood film club in Cambridge in the 1960s.

"My three sisters, brother and I would squeeze around the TV and watch Amitabh Bachchan fight, sing and then die dramatically, and this ritual was never complete without my mother's food!" Jadoo doesn't quite have the edge of the seminal East Is East made 14 years ago, but it's certainly much better than the lame sequel West is West (2011).

Jadoo (12A) is screening at Cineworld's Birmingham Broad Street and Wednesfield as well as Vue Star City and Coventry Showcase. VERDICT:

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