Today's Special (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David Kaplan|
by Aasif Mandvi
|Music by||Stephane Wrembel, songs by Siddhartha Khosla|
|Distributed by||Reliance MediaWorks Ltd|
Today's Special is a 2009 independent comedy film loosely inspired by Aasif Mandvi's play, Sakina's Restaurant. The film was directed by David Kaplan. The script was adapted by Aasif Mandvi and Jonathan Bines, and stars Mandvi, Madhur Jaffrey, Bollywood actor Naseeruddin Shah, Jess Weixler, Harish Patel, Kevin Corrigan, Dean Winters, and Ajay Naidu. The film was developed and produced by Nimitt Mankad of Inimitable Pictures, and Lillian LaSalle of Sweet 180.
The film premiered at the London Film Festival on October 16, 2009 and in the United States at the Paris Theater as the Opening Night of the MIAAC Film Festival (Mahindra Indo American Arts Festival). It played at the Mumbai Film Festival; the Palm Springs International Film Festival on January 15, 2010, where it won "Best of the Fest"; and was the Opening Night film at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival on March 11, 2010.
Samir (Aasif Mandvi), a sous chef at an upscale New York restaurant, becomes frustrated with his boss (Dean Winters) and quits. His dreams of studying French cooking in France are shattered after his father becomes ill and he must take over his family's Indian restaurant, Tandoori Palace in Queens with two chefs who don't know what they're doing, an old fashioned wall and business being terrible since the only customers are Samir's uncles sitting at a table playing cards. Samir doesn't know what to do because his knowledge of Indian cooking is limited until he meets the larger than life gourmet chef and taxi driver Akbar (Naseeruddin Shah). Samir's world is transformed via Akbar's cooking lessons, the magic of the masala and a beautiful co-worker, Carrie (Jess Weixler). While his mother (Madhur Jaffrey) tries to get him to settle down with a nice Indian girl and his father, Hakkim (Harish Patel) is convinced he will amount to nothing. Samir, Akbar, and a kitchen staff first update the restaurant's look and then with knowledge of eccentric characters concoct the most magical and mouth watering dishes in what soon becomes the best little Indian restaurant in New York City with booming business. However, Akbar moves to Akron, Ohio and it is up to Samir to run the restaurant. Meanwhile, Hakkim plans to sell the restaurant to Ahmed. Samir and his uncles along with Carrie still manage to keep up the business and make it better. Eventually, Hakkim calls off the deal and the movie ends with Hakkim hugging Samir.
- Aasif Mandvi as Samir
- Dean Winters as Steve
- Kevin Corrigan as Stanton
- Naseeruddin Shah as Akbar
- Jess Weixler as Carrie
- Ajay Naidu as Munnamia
- Kevin Breznahan as Freddie
- Harish Patel as Hakim
- Amir Arison as Dr. Semaan
- Madhur Jaffrey as Farrida
- Ranjit Chowdhry as Regular #1
- Kumar Pallana as Regular #2
- Best of the Fest Award at the 2010 Palm Springs International Film Festival
- Aasif Mandvi - Best Actor Award at the Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council (MIAAC) Film Festival
- G. Allen Johnson (March 7, 2010). "Aasif Mandvi's "Today's Special' opens festival". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved April 24, 2010.
- ""Bombay Summer" rules NY film fest". The Hindu. November 20, 2009. Retrieved April 24, 2010.