Film: "Un Samayal Arayil"; Cast: Prakash Raj, Sneha, Tejus Kancherla, Samyukta Hornad, Oorvasi and Aishwarya; Director: Prakash Raj; Rating: **
Actor-filmmaker Prakash Raj attempts to cook a love story with all the wrong ingredients that makes his final product avoidable. This is not the first time he has tried to go against the grain and failed, but he somehow manages to come up with promising stories that only get squandered in the process of execution.
"Un Samayal Arayil", which is the official remake of Malayalam film "Salt N Pepper", also boasts a potential story, but misses the charm of the original that swept the audiences off their feet. The film does have its moments, but not enough to make you root for it.
It's the story of romance between two middle-aged characters played by Prakash Raj and Sneha. These two have only had loneliness in common all their lives and when they accidentally get to know each other through a wrong phone call, they realize they share a passion for food and cooking. Food brings them closer to the point where they finally decide to meet but are insecure of facing each other. Therefore, both send someone else on their behalf and what follows is outright boring, cliched and predictable.
The story is outdated and so is the presentation, yet the movie manages to make you smile at regular instances. It explains that the joy of cooking, shown from the perspective of a man and not a woman, is a bigger reason enough to love the film. But the audience needs to be little intellectual to even appreciate it because majority of them come to be entertained and not to get piqued emotionally.
Despite some interesting moments and two strong lead characters, "Un Samayal Arayil" struggles as a film because it hardly entertains.
The food angle is merely used to introduce the characters, but seldom to drive the narrative forward. After the lead characters are introduced, they bond over the baking of a French cake, and then everything about food is conveniently pushed aside.
There was hope for the film in the first half but not so much in the subsequent half where the story gets lost in translation. Prakash Raj tries his best to shoulder the film with his singular performance, but it's not quite enough to stop the audiences from feeling restless.
After "Un Samayal Arayil", you feel Prakash Raj is a better actor than a director any day. But it's probably because he's so bored doing the similar kind of roles as an actor over and over again; he dons the director's hat once in a while to satisfy his creative side.
In the movie, he plays an archaeologist who can cook extremely well. It is through his cooking, he tries to spice up his life and as an archaeologist as he digs deep he's only in search of his deeper inner self. Sneha too plays her part well of a dubbing artist. In her role, she's trying to find her own voice to raise her opinion against those who are taking her for granted. The other characters are not even worthy of discussion as their presence hardly makes any difference to the story.
This is not Illayaraja's best music and it's disappointing to see that the maestro has rehashed several of his own tunes. Prakash Raj has the passion of a creative director but not the aptitude to produce a movie with all the necessary ingredients to make it a sumptuous meal.