Toronto: Why would Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg get into producing a film that mixes tandoori chicken with chicken cordon bleu? The Hundred-Foot Journey, opening this weekend, is their answer to that, by telling a story on how prejudice vanishes in the irresistible aroma of fusion cooking. The plot follows the fateful lives of the Kaddam family as they are displaced from their native India. The family seeks refuge in the south of France and soon settles in the small but picturesque village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val.
Upon arrival, the Kaddam family, led by Papa (Om Puri) and his son Hassan (Manish Dayal) decide to open an Indian restaurant, the Maison Mumbai. When the new restaurant opens one hundred feet away from a prestigious, Michelin-starred French eatery, Le Saule Pleureur, an all-out war arises between the two restaurants.
Competition soon dies down after the proprietress of Le Saule Pleureur, Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), acknowledges her rival’s undeniable passion and flare for French cuisine. Madame Mallory soon embraces the new Indian flavours Hassan and his family have brought into the quaint French village. Madam and her enchanting sous chef Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), so inspired by Hassan’s Indian cuisine, create a culinary fusion of cultures.
Recognizing Hassan’s talents as a chef, Madame Mallory takes him under her wing and shows him the art of mastering French cuisine. Madame and Hassan weave magic between their two cultures and imbue the village of Saint-Antonin with the flavours of both worlds.
Co-producer Oprah Winfrey had this to say about the film: “Food allows [us] to blend cultures and gives us the ability to peek into other people’s lives. It is about a hundred foot divide between cultures. It’s about human beings coming to understand other human beings and more importantly, after you get to experience or step into somebody else’s shoes or see them for a real human being, how you understand that you’re really more alike than you are different.”
The film was directed by Academy Award-nominee Lasse Hallstöm and includes a brilliant international cast. The film stars Academy Award-winning actress Dame Helen Mirren, and Manish Dayal, who has recently begun a successful career in the U.S.