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Boudi Canteen

Boudi Canteen Movie Review

by rameshe

Critic’s Rating : / 5

Boudi Canteen Movie Review : Heartfelt, layered and most importantly… recommendable

Tollywood films have it difficult enough without having to deal with stiff opening day competition. If you do in fact, step into a multiplex as an undecided viewer, chances are you’ll have to make a difficult choice. There’s Vikram Vedha and Kacher Manush — which promise serious star power (Hrithik Roshan-Saif Ali Khan and Prosenjt-Dev respectively). Then there’s Ponniyin Selvan – Part 1 — Mani Ratnam’s sweeping period drama starring Aishwarya Bachchan, Vikram and Sobhita Dhulipala. There’s also Karnasubarner Guptodhon, a treasure hunt film geared towards younger audiences, which seems to have a lot of adult takers as well.
However, if you do decide to step into a screening of Parambrata Chattopadhyay’s Boudi Canteen, you probably won’t regret trading in the escapism of Ponniyin Selvan or the swagger of Vikram Vedha, for two hours of linear, insightful story-telling. The premise of the film is simple, it has a beginning, a middle and an end and most importantly, seems to know its demographic. Poulami (Subhashree Ganguly), a teacher and homemaker loves to cook and is in fact, good at it. She wants to pursue a living doing something she loves. Her supportive husband Sourish (Parambrata) introduces her to Bablu (Soham Chakraborty), the owner of a food delivery service so they can enter a partnership where she cooks for his delivery service.
Things start going awry soon enough but the problems are nothing too big or cataclysmic. Sourish experiences a financial setback and her husband’s sudden iciness leaves Poulami confused. Poulami’s seemingly uppity mum-in-law Surbhi (Anusua Majumdar) is dismayed when she finds out about Poulami’s business — not because she doesn’t approve but because she’d rather her daughter-in-law do something she can brag about to her NGO peers. As upper-middle-class families go, it’s motherly behaviour, really.
Majumdar — a pro at portraying a difficult in-law knows her assignment well and aces it. Parambrata has his work cut out as the sensitive and sensible Sourish, a woman’s columnist and an overall good guy, who just wants to pay his EMIs. Soham Chakraborty finally stumbles upon a script that gives him room to flex his acting skills. Subhashree is a scene-stealer as main woman Poulami. She comes across as an immaculate performer who knows how to keep her lines snappy and yet work with the rigours of playing the ‘good woman.’
There are moments when the film takes on a bit too much on its plate vis-a-vis social messaging. But is rather successful in addressing how gendered the task of cooking has always been. It’s a real problem too since most people still scoff when they spot a woman heading a major commercial kitchen. The film doesn’t dive too deep but opens up a dialogue about things in plain sight, including some aspects of gender roles and elitism. Broadly speaking, it’s a bang for your buck, which is not too shabby at all, considering the anxieties of the film-making industries in the realm of OTT dominance. Needless to say, Boudi Canteen gives its audience a happy ending and also some food for thought.
— Ujjainee Roy

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