Review | Tarla – Recipe For All Seasons

Piyush Gupta’s directorial “Tarla” is a biopic on renowned chef Tarla Dalal. It is produced by Ronnie Screwvala, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, Nitesh Tiwari. The film features Huma Qureshi and Sharib Hashmi and is now streaming on ZEE5.

Review Overview

General Rating


Recipe For All Seasons

Mussalam, the Arabic word for wholehearted acceptance or acknowledgment, aptly describes director Piyush Gupta’s well-put-together biopic on India’s most celebrated chef and cookery book author Tarla Dalal.

A Gujarati housewife whose cooking skills and sense of entrepreneurship made her a rage in every kitchen, Tarla’s early inspiration from professor Gauri Ma’am (pleasantly played by senior journalist Bhawana Somaaya) shaped her desire to “do something in life”, kuch karna hai.    

The desire may have been put on the backburner while husband Nalin (Sharib Hashmi) and three kids gorged on her finger-licking meals. But born to cook and to cook up recipes that gave non-vegetarians a taste of their favourite cuisine with the meat replaced by vegetables, the delightful screenplay has sequences that organically led Tarla into becoming India’s first celebrity chef with her own cookery show. Her spin on chicken mussallam which morphed into potato mussallam in her kitchen and won over her non-veg neighbour, was perhaps her first step towards wooing widespread recognition.

With bits of humour that show Tarla’s spirit right from early days, Nalin who had vowed to support her whenever she found her calling in life, makes his missteps. Wonderfully supportive as promised and woefully dismissive in turns, Tarla’s story has the expected speed-breakers with conventional ‘Abhimaan’ moments.

Until Nalin delivers his fan letter to Tarla one night on the terrace. Playing the spouse who sets out as encouragingly different but transforms into a typical husband, Sharib Hashmi is at his expected best when he’s finally, man enough to admit his misogynism.

Wearing unbecomingly prominent prosthetic teeth, Huma Qureshi who showed her spunk in the Maharani web series, adroitly turns Tarla into an exemplar for the complete woman. A housewife with family and ambitions who learns to juggle both lives.

Since it is a dramatised version of Tarla’s life and success, Piyush and co-writer Gautam Ved could have updated their feminism by avoiding words like “approval” for a woman to go beyond her skill sets in the family kitchen. Women don’t need approval or permission. Encouragement and support are better ingredients in the ‘kuch karna hai’ recipe.

It’s always a disappointment when songs don’t have melody or ‘hummability’ and Piyush has three that only serve to push his scenes. One, when Tarla’s first recipe for her cookery book doesn’t shape up as a perfect 10/10, another when she’s caught between a crisis at home and her career, and a third when Nalin has his eye-opening moment.

But there’s much food for thought on the menu and that does justice to Tarla’s incredible story.

Watch Tarla Trailer:

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Recipe For All SeasonsReview | Tarla - Recipe For All Seasons