Tarla Movie Review: Huma Qureshi’s Performance as the Late Chef Leaves Room for Improvement, Yet Piyush Gupta’s Film Remains Effortlessly Consumable. A Digestible Biopic Despite Huma Qureshi’s Unconvincing Portrayal.
Tarla movie review:
Piyush Gupta’s film, “Tarla,” attempts to pay homage to the late chef and cookbook author Tarla Dalal, highlighting her significant contributions to the culinary world. It presents a tale of dreams, aspirations, family, and the rollercoaster ride of life, all centered around the love for food. As a biopic, “Tarla” manages to capture the essence of Tarla Dalal’s journey from a housewife to a renowned name in vegetarian recipes. However, while the execution of the film is commendable, the performances fall short of expectations.
The story follows a young Tarla (Huma Qureshi), a woman with big dreams but lacking a clear sense of direction. After twelve years of marriage to Nalin Dalal (Sharib Hashmi) and with three children, Tarla yearns for something more in her life. Her constant refrain, “I want to do something, but I don’t know what,” reflects her unfulfilled desires.
Though she excels as a homemaker, she is faced with a series of opportunities that force her to make difficult choices. The film delves into Tarla’s dilemma and her struggle to defy the odds. We witness her journey from her husband’s encouragement to start home-cooking classes, to the challenges of selling her first cookbook, and eventually hosting her own cookery show on television.
With a runtime of nearly two hours, “Tarla” manages to maintain a steady pace without becoming tedious. Gupta, who co-wrote the story with Gautam Ved, fearlessly portrays the dilemmas faced by a homemaker torn between pursuing her career and prioritizing her family. The film shines during moments where Huma celebrates her small victories and finds joy in her endeavors.
However, one lingering question remains unanswered throughout the film: Did Tarla possess an innate passion for cooking, or did she discover it while trying to win over her non-vegetarian husband with delectable vegetarian dishes? Exploring this aspect more deeply would have provided valuable insights into her life choices. Additionally, the film barely touches upon Tarla’s upbringing and early life. Why did she willingly embrace cooking at a young age, unlike her peers? Why did she forsake her studies and opt for marriage without pursuing a career, as per her parents’ wishes?
Huma Qureshi leaves no stone unturned in her portrayal of the titular character, but unfortunately, she fails to fully embody Tarla’s essence. The late chef was remembered for her infectious smile and calm persona, making it difficult to envision her ever becoming angry or raising her voice. However, Huma’s performance as Tarla often feels disconnected from the original persona. It’s not merely a matter of physical appearance; Huma’s on-screen expressions and emotions, while effectively conveying the message, lack the convincing power to transport us back to Tarla Dalal’s era. Perhaps a different casting choice for the lead role could have delivered a more impactful performance.
n the other hand, Sharib Hashmi shines as Nalin, who habitually rates everything, from Tarla’s smile to her cooking skills, to his workday. Hashmi effortlessly portrays the supportive husband who takes on the role of a publisher after losing his own job at a textile factory. The emotionally charged scenes between Huma and Sharib are beautifully shot and leave a lasting impact. Bharati Achrekar, portraying Tarla’s neighborhood aunty, provides solid support to the story and acts as a constant driving force.
Where to Watch Tarla Movie:
Despite Huma Qureshi’s shortcomings in capturing the essence of Tarla Dalal, “Tarla” is still worth watching for its feel-good and delicious experience. The film is now available for streaming on Zee5, and even if Huma’s performance falls short, there is very little else to complain about in this enjoyable biopic.