You don’t get a lot of opportunities to have the opportunity to interview a star of a movie like the Hundred Foot Journey. I was lucky enough to be able to talk with Manish Dayal after we screened the movie while in Los Angeles earlier in July. Let me tell you, he is amazingly charismatic, open, honest and kind and you can tell that he simply loved being in the movie and telling the story that it had to tell.
In speaking with Manish Dayal, we came to find that he was not a classically trained actor. He mentioned that like Helen Mirren in the movie, he too, did not go to school to study acting, but was hooked at an early age after watching Jurrasic Park.
Being from South Carolina originally, Manish Dayal mentioned that there really was not a lot to do in his home town, but that he watched a lot of movies and got taken away with them. This was the start of his love and journey into the movies themselves.
When asked about food, and whether, like his character, he also enjoyed cooking, he mentioned that he is not a great cook, but he loved learning about it in the making of this movie. He mentioned that he felt that the movie is not really about cooking, but about culture, and about the immigrant experience that one family goes through.
A poignant moment in the movie where the book and the movie intersected was the point in the movie where his character says “we’re not visitors anymore.” This line was taken directly from the book, as he felt that the script just did not capture what needed to be said. Manish said that he carried the book around with him all the time and read it 2-3 times before being completed with the 4 months of shooting the movie itself.
The most interesting things about food that Manish Dayal found was that Indian and French kitchens were more similar than he first had thought. He explained that in a French kitchen there is a way to do everything and hierarchy is respected, while in an Indian kitchen whoever is there will work together to make sure that what needs to get done gets done. In the end though both have a love and appreciation for food that cannot be denied.
In the end, Manish Dayal hopes that audiences take away the feeling that in order to achieve something great you have to go after life’s uncertainty and strive for a higher purpose. I, for one, feel that he and the rest of the cast of the Hundred Foot Journey definitely shared this message and truly sold it.
I highly recommend this movie to all! It is a must see movie!
About the Movie
In “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) is a culinary ingénue with the gastronomic equivalent of perfect pitch. Displaced from their native India, the Kadam family, led by Papa (Om Puri), settles in the quaint village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in the south of France. Filled with charm, it is both picturesque and elegant – the ideal place to settle down and open an Indian restaurant, Maison Mumbai. That is, until the chilly chef proprietress of Le Saule Pleureur, a Michelin-starred, classical French restaurant run by Madame Mallory (Academy Award®-winner Helen Mirren) gets wind of it. Her icy protests against the new Indian restaurant a hundred feet from her own escalate into a heated battle between the two establishments until Hassan’s passion for French haute cuisine — and for Madame Mallory’s enchanting sous chef, Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon) — combine with his mysteriously-delicious talent to weave magic between their two cultures and imbue Saint-Antonin with the flavors of life that even Madame Mallory cannot ignore. At first Madame Mallory’s culinary rival, she eventually recognizes Hassan’s gift as a chef and takes him under her wing.
“The Hundred-Foot Journey” abounds with flavors that burst across the tongue. A stimulating triumph over exile, blossoming with passion and heart, it is a portrayal of two worlds colliding and one young man’s drive to find the comfort of home, in every pot, wherever he may be.
Directed by Academy Award-nominee Lasse Hallström and starring Academy Award-winner Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal and Charlotte Le Bon, “The Hundred-Foot Journey” is produced by Academy Award-winner Steven Spielberg, Academy Award-nominee Oprah Winfrey and Juliet Blake. The executive producers are Caroline Hewitt, Carla Gardini, Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King. The screenplay is written by Academy Award-nominee Steven Knight, based on the novel “The Hundred-Foot Journey” by Richard C. Morais.
“The Hundred-Foot Journey” will be released in theaters on August 8, 2014.
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