From Dulquer lifting the dum in ‘Ustad Hotel’ to Tovino describing the emotion that is beef roast in ‘Godha’, we bring you the most glorious food moments in recent Malayalam cinema.

Food for thought When contemporary Malayalam cinema left our mouths watering
Flix Cinema Sunday, January 28, 2018 - 18:29

Great cinema is oftentimes a powerful reflection of our society. It not only inspires but also moves us in ways only that particular film can. I was all of 6-months when my parents, risking the glares and muttering of the crowd, took me for my first movie. And although I must have howled through most of those 2 and half hours, in the 23 years since, the cinema hall still remains the room that witnesses my unchecked sentiments.

I can’t recall the number of times I’ve hurriedly wiped away embarrassing tears after watching a scene, laughed until I cried, cringed in horror and slid to the edge of the seat with apprehension. And sometimes, to my surprise, had my mouth watering, during a well-shot food scene, all the while scarfing down popcorn.

For those of us who consider food to be an emotion, watching films with great food can be as enjoyable as eating it. Here's a list of food scenes from contemporary films that had us drooling. 

Beef is a ‘vikaaram’ – Godha

Here, food becomes political as Tovino, reflecting the collective sentiment of an entire state, candidly describes how a beef roast is made and eaten with ‘Porotta’.  

“For us Malayalees, porotta and beef is not just food, it is an emotion,” he tells his friend in Godha, a 2017 movie about life and wrestling, directed by Basil Joseph.

From describing how the meat is to be washed and cut into small pieces to inhaling the smell of spicy beef roast, Tovino makes his audiences salivate for some crispy porotta and beef roast right after this scene.

Further, a great food scene need not always show us the dish. Godha lets us know this and therein lies the brilliance of this film.

When romance blooms with a rainbow cake – Salt n Pepper

Food plays the central role in this film which is about the middle-aged romance between a dubbing artist and an archaeologist.

When Shweta Menon and Lal take on the 7-day task of baking a complex rainbow cake, they fall in love through the culinary journey. The scene is endearing in the way it weaves the growing intimacy between the said characters through the step-by-step building of the cake, finally establishing their love as they bite into their respective slices.  

As a diffident Shweta Menon confides in Lal about life, insecurities and her mother’s cooking, we understand how crucial food is to bind the growing bond between the pair.

Salt n Pepper’s opening credits song is also a celebration of the culinary richness of Kerala, from the biriyani havens of Malabar to the famous Paalada Pradhaman in Thrissur.

 Chef Faizi and the dum biryani – Ustad Hotel

As Dulquer lifts the 'dum' off his biryani and lets the flavors slip out, the audience lets out a collective sigh. The memorable scene is from the 2012 coming of age, food-drama, Ustad Hotel, starring Dulquer Salmaan, Nithya Menen and veteran actor Thilakan.

The film takes us through Faizi’s journey of food, relationships, romance, and the power of giving.

Cooking up a feast for the orphan children, Dulquer realises the truth of his granddad’s words – that the real success of a chef is when he fills people’s hearts with his food.

Besides this, Ustad Hotel is full of many great food scenes, from fish spluttering in hot oil to Faizi mastering the art of shaping the Malabar Porotta. And don't miss the gorgeous

description of sulaimani tea that Thilakan gives!

When Pooja Mathew tastes wine – Ohm Shanthi Oshana

Kerala celebrated this 2014 romantic-comedy starring Nivin Pauly and Nazriya Nazim. One cannot help but be charmed by the chirpy tomboy that is Pooja Mathew (Nazriya) and her childish attempts to land the guy of her dreams – Giri (Nivin Pauly)

The film is refreshing in that it narrates the story from the heroine’s perspective. It also has a wonderful scene which shows Naziya eagerly tasting the wine made by her wine-maker neighbour. 

As Rachel aunty hands her a carefully prepared sample of red wine that she plans to sell, Nazriya’s eyes widen with excitement and she knocks back the sample in a second.

Nazriya lives her character in the film, portraying with a natural flair all the typical traits of a curious teenaged girl, including the fascination for alcohol.

Sare, order one more fish fry – Premam

Soubin Shahir and Vinay Forrt’s canteen scenes are among the funniest moments in Premam. The film that garnered a cult following and catapulted Nivin Pauly to instant fame outside Kerala, has since been remade in Telugu with Naga Chaitanya and Shruti Haasan.

The actors are shown enjoying a meal in the college canteen while Forrt discusses how to get Malar Miss (Sai Pallavi) to notice him. Both Forrt and Shahir, with their sheer talent and natural dialogue delivery, make the audience salivate for the fish fry that they're eating when discussing "real" issues. 

Premam boasts of a few other well-shot food scenes, specifically the sharbath scene in the road-side shop which shows the drinks being mixed (and the couscous added) in tempting detail. Another memorable scene is when Celine (Madonna Sebastian) tries the red velvet cake that George (Nivin) makes.

When Fahadh Faasil wolfs down food – Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum

This 2017 film about a gold chain thief (Fahadh Fazil) and a struggling couple is so simple, yet its brilliance lies in its detailing and stark portrayal of life.

Fahadh plays a thief with a character so fluid and unreadable that it remains impossible for us to predict him throughout the film.

However, when he asks the policemen not to judge a young boy for wolfing down his food in a crude manner because he knows what it is to be hungry at that age, we catch a rare glimpse of his past. We understand that hunger doesn’t discriminate between people. Be it a thief skilled in his craft of gold-chain cutting or a couple who married inter-caste and invoked the wrath of their entire community, the core of human nature remains the same for one and all.

The movie directed by Dileesh Pothan, who also made Maheshinte Prathikaram, was hailed as the best film of the year by many critics.

All about pork – Angamaly Diaries

This 2017 crime-drama explores the life of Vincent Pepe and the gang that he forms, inspired by the local football team. And although the central plot is far removed from food, the film does have some of the best-shot scenes of food in Angamaly town. The hit opening credits song “Theeyame” features a sinful plethora of dishes typical to Angamaly town.

Another notable song is “Ayalathe”, where the hero compares his love to the yesteryear’s hit combo of tapioca and egg in Kunju’s thattu kada and how, he and his love interest, just like Kunju, strongly believed that it would be an evergreen hit.