What’s cooking with Saif Ali Khan in Kochi

Actor kicks off next film but will take a break in December to be with Bebo and baby.

Saif Ali Khan who kicked off shooting for Raja Krishna Menon’s Chef 10 days ago in Kochi is aiming to wrap up the film before December to be by his begum Kareena Kapoor’s side when she delivers their first baby.

“We should be done by December but may leave a few scenes for later so that Saif gets a break to be with his baby” Raja informed Mirror, adding that it’s a difficult film to shoot as it involves travelling across the country. “We are filming all over as we reference the cultural aspect of food from different regions in India. After Kochi we will take off to Chingoli by road then, we’re off to Goa, followed by Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and Delhi.”

The filmmaker is quick to point out that his film isn’t an exact remake of Jon Favreau’s 2014 American dramedy of the same name.

“I found the story revolving around travel, food and a fatherson relationship touching and felt that I could adapt it and make it my own with my writers Ritesh Shah and Suresh Nair. My Chef is definitely not a remake, I’m adding my own experiences as a father with a growing up son,” says Raja.

Saif who plays the titular character had to undergo culinary training along with some of his co-stars. There were reports of a thumb injury that is believed to have delayed the shoot briefly but Raja denies this. “All my actors were all for the prep and trained with actual chefs for four-six weeks in Mumbai before shooting began. Saif trained under Himanshu Taneja, the executive chef at JW Marriot, in kitchen etiquettes in a professional setup. This included basic stuff like how to hold a knife, plate a dish as also the body language of a chef. We have chef Sandhya S Kumar and her team on the set to ensure everything looks authentic,” he reveals.

Raja may have given the film his own spin but has retained the father-son relationship element that forms an integral part of the original story. “The father’s quest to strike a balance between being a friend and a mentor to his son as well as a parent is the driving force of the film,” he asserts.

Point out to him that Kochi is a rather unusual location for a Bollywood film and he reasons, “The story doesn’t begin in Kochi but the place plays an important part in the narrative. Kerala has a lot to offer, especially when it comes to its food culture which is completely different from the rest of the country, which hasn’t been explored in Hindi films as much as its landscape,” he signs off.

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