The Tamil film Annapoorani: The Goddess of Food is directed by Nilesh Krishnaa and stars Nayanthara, Jai, Sathyaraj, Achyuth Kumar, Karthik Kumar.
After watching the movie Annapoorani: The Goddess Of Food, you cannot but dip into a cuisine analogy. While cooking, you know that even if you have the right ingredients, they don’t guarantee tasty food. That holds true for Annapoorani.
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It has a decent story and good performances, including from the leading lady Superstar Nayanthara. The production values are good. But still, the final output is less than appetising. And for that, the head chef, okay the director, Nilesh Krishnaa, on his debut, has to take the blame. He has tried to cook with too many ideas. The film comes across as a khichdi of sorts with many half-boiled ingredients.
For all its faults, the film’s intentions are well-placed. It does strike a blow for women’s empowerment. It makes a bold case for following your cherished dreams. It speaks for fighting the good fight and staying on the right side of justice. But so many ideas clamour for attention, and the director deals with them with a large, sweeping ladle.
The film’s story is simple and straightforward. The eponymous Annapoorani (Nayanthara) has a fancy for cooking, perhaps owing to the fact that her doting father Ranagarjan (Achuth Kumar) is a cook at the famed Srirangam temple madapalli (the temple kitchen).
The young Annapoorani is precious as she can taste and spot any viand blindfolded and rustle up most food items in a jiffy. Her close friend is Farhan (Jai), but the way it is depicted lacks fizz and flavour. This is one of the biggest drawbacks of the film. No relationship feels true.
Anyway, Annapoorani wants to study cooking formally, but her orthodox upbringing would preclude her from cooking meat and non-vegetarian things. But Annapoorani lies to her parents that she is doing an MBA when she actually takes up the course for chef. Again, these college portions are a big irritant. For a film that is supposed to be filled with love for food and cooking, the way it treats these chef classes is caricaturish.
Her parents find out about Annapoorani’s lie, and she is forced to get married. But on the wedding day, she runs away to pursue her dream of becoming the best chef in India. Her aim is to emulate star chef Anand Sundarajan (Sathyaraj). She manages to get a job under him, but here we are introduced to the arch-villain in the form of Chef Ashwin (Karthik Kumar), also Anand’s son. He wants to sabotage her career.
Annapooraani loses a key physical sensory in a fire accident. So her climb becomes even more difficult. Can she overcome the enormous odds to win the best chef title, prove herself in the eyes of the world, and make her family accept her back?
The second half, with her up against the villainous chef Ashwin, is the one that should have provided the film with all the excitement. But they are wimp and stale like yesterday’s souffle. Only Nayanthara’s spirited presence makes the proceedings palatable. Karthik Kumar and Sathyaraj ham their way through. The duo as chefs don’t cut it.
Achyuth Kumar as the stentorian but forgiving father is okay. Jai, as the friend, has a role that has nothing going for it. He feels like garlic is in Jain cooking — totally out of place. K S Ravikumar, Redin Kingsley, and Renuka all have roles that barely register.
Still, this triumph of the underdog story is salvaged mostly because it fills our hearts with its right intentions. With more flavour, we would have felt sated too, like after a good meal.
Where can you watch Annapoorani: The Goddess Of Food in the UAE?
Annapoorani: The Goddess Of Food is currently streaming on Netflix in the UAE. There are currently no free trials for Netflix in the UAE, and prices start at AED 29 per month.
An engineer-turned-journalist, K Balakumar’s career began in print publications as a sports writer. That also opened doors for other journalistic avenues like films, music, finance, technology and politics, which nobody can escape in India. After 30 yrs in mainstream journalism, now a freelancer for various digital publications.