Ketchup Cut: Ustaad Hotel serves love on the plate

Smrithi Mohan
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Ketchup Cut: Ustaad Hotel serves love on the plate

Today on Ketchup Cut, we discuss one of the scenes from Ustaad Hotel that made us fall in love with the late actor, Thilakan all over again.

Everyone knows the one thing that unites us all despite all our differences is food. It's the poetry of love that we get to taste and enjoy with each morsel. And when we have a movie that has food as the hero of the story while shedding light on issues that we tend to ignore in our everyday lives, we just can't disregard it. One of such Anwar Rasheed's classics of modern-age cinema, Ustaad Hotel is the movie of the week for Ketchup Cut.

About the movie:

Directed by – Anwar Rasheed

Written by – Anjali Menon

Cast – Dulquer Salmaan, Thilakan and Nithya Menen, with Siddique, Mamukkoya, and Lena

Where to watch – Disney+ Hotstar

Faizi (Dulquer Salmaan) returns to his hometown in India to ask his dad to support his dream of becoming a chef only to find out that he's against this dream of his. But life opens up a whole new world when he meets his grandfather, Kareem (Thilakan), and decides to run his hotel.

Ketchup Cut:

We always have a soft corner for movies like Wake Up Sid and Udaan. The story of a young adult wanting to follow his dreams but lacking the right inspiration to do something about it makes our hearts swell with content. And Malayalam movie, Ustaad Hotel is one such movie that puts a smile on our faces taking away all our stress and giving us the best two hours of our lives. If you want someone to describe this gorgeous movie, it's simple, it's like the warm hug you need on a chilly night. All your sadness, all your worries seem to just vanish at the end of the movie. You get up with a full heart and hope. While Anwar Rasheed did an exceptional job with the movie, as he always does, the real praise goes to Anjali Menon for writing this beautiful movie. Ustaad Hotel belongs to the list of films that can never go outdated because its beauty is in the simplicity of the story.

The scene in discussion today is the one that re-defined love and relationship, the beach scene. The one that showed the purity of old-school love that rushes in and puts every Tinder love story to shame. It's the dynamic of a young man who has easily accepted defeat and an old man who turned the defeats in his life into his wisdom. There is no moment in the film when we hate Kareem, even when his grandchild is a bit furious with him for making him clean up after the customers instead of allowing him to cook even though he is a 'graduated chef.' And when the two sit down on the beach to have their sulaimani (spiced black tea), we see ourselves lending all our love and affection to Kareemikka. What can be more symbolic than two men talking about love while siping sulaimani while the sea sways in front of them in all its glory? A sea is an amazing place that teaches us how vast and endless life is. It takes you back to one of the happiest memories of your life and reminds you of the one person you love the most. And even though Anjali wrote this scene without actually realizing it, as she mentioned once in her online post, it brings the whole scene together, making it extra special.

Faizi never saw his grandfather the way he did after that conversation. He gets to see a softer version of him, a version that is so full of love, for his food and the lady who went on to become his wife and Faizi's grandmother. He gets to learn a lot about life and how little he knows about it. This scene can also be considered as the base to the climax giving the end the meat and impact it has. It makes even the most emotionally constipated person feel things and leave with a tear in their eye. As an audience, you understand the reason you love movies and storytelling. And we know that no matter what we do in life, all we have to do to make it better is to sprinkle some love into it, just like Kareemikka!

Fun Facts:

The Tamil remake of his movie was announced but never happened however, the Kananda version was released in 2017 titled Gowdru Hotel.

After the release of the film, an actual restaurant was opened at Pettah Junction in Trivandrum. The restaurant's name is exactly like that in the movie, written on a yellow tire.

The hotel was a set that the art team built on the beach in a day. People who visited the beach believed that it was actually a hotel that popped up one day only to realize it was a set after visiting it

Singer Reju Joseph's son, Jagan Reju was roped in to play the role of teenage Kareem because of his close resemblance to Thilakan's teenage photos.

The movie also saw a lot of controversies when protestors claimed that the movie promoted love jihad.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • National Film Awards 2012: Won Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment, Best Dialogues and Special Mention (Thilakan)
  • 15th Asianet Film Awards: Won Best Film, Best Script Writer, Best Music Director and Best Lyricist
  • 60th Filmfare South Awards: Won Filmfare Award for Best Male Debut – South, nominated for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Music Director and Best Playback Singer - Male
  • 1st Mohan Raghavan Awards: Won Best Director
  • 2nd South Indian International Movie Awards: Won Best Film, nominated for Best Director, Best Cinematographer, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Music Director, Best Female Playback Singer
  • Kochi Times Film Awards: Won Best Film, Best Music Director, Best Female Playback Singer and Male. Nominated for Best Director, Best Actor and Best Lyricist
  • Asiavision Awards: Won Family Movie, Character Actor and Promising Singer – Female
  • Vanitha Film Award: Won Best Film, Best Script Writer, Best Pair

Have you watched the movie yet? If not then do check it out.

Also Read - Ketchup Cut: Masaan mirrors society’s prejudice and need for closure

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