Helen demonstrates the classy way to hawk a loogie.


Helen demonstrates the classy way to hawk a loogie.

THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

EXT. INDIAN MARKET

A stall at a FOOD MARKET has SEA URCHINS for sale, and dozens of people yell over each other trying to buy them. Seven-year-old YOUNG MANISH DAYAL picks one up and starts eating it.

YOUNG MANISH DAYAL

Mmmm, scooping unidentifiable goo out of a tiny Lovecraftian horror! Pretty sure this is actually supposed to be appetizing.

URCHIN SALESMAN

Sold, to the young man who clearly understands food! And who, might I add, is stealing my merchandise.

YOUNG MANISH grows up into MANISH DAYAL, all the while studying cooking under his mother, JUHI CHAWLA.

JUHI CHAWLA

Remember, son, to cook we have to kill, and the ghosts of the dead flavor our food. Here, devour the souls of our victims and see. TASTE THE DEATH, MANISH. TASTE THE DEEEAAATH.

MANISH DAYAL

...And then I never set foot in a kitchen ever again. Goodnight, everybody!

END.

JUHI CHAWLA

No, no, once again I believe this is meant to set mouths watering.

MANISH DAYAL

Yeesh, this isn’t a great start to a food movie. Oh well, I’ll play along.

(tastes the death)

Mmmm, corpsey! Now Mom, in honor of our being a crowd-pleasing appropration of Indian culture, feel like swiping the mother’s death scene from Slumdog Millionaire?

JUHI CHAWLA

Don’t be silly. Slumdog was a dark Dickensian fable, this is a piece of whimsical feelgood fluff. Can you imagine how inappropriate-

(violently killed by random riot)

MANISH’S FATHER OM PURI moves the family to ENGLAND, where he starts an INDIAN RESTAURANT.

OM PURI

But feh, I don’t care for the produce in this country. So I’ll move our family from England, where Indian food is actually very popular, to France, where as a dining option it’s ranked just below forced cannibalism.

MANISH DAYAL

But Dad, every single one of your kids is begging you not to do this. We’ll end up broke in a country where we don’t even speak the language. Don’t we get a say in-

OM PURI

Nope, the only people whose votes count are me and the disembodied voice of your dead mother, which only I hear and who just so happens to agree with me on everything! I’m sure these French will warm to us, they probably just never tried good Indian food.

MANISH DAYAL

Or any Indian food. Keep in mind, to the unaccustomed palette even good Indian food is like being hit in the face with a spice rack made of fire.

OM PURI

True, many Westerners - including a sizeable proportion of the ones coming to see this oh-so-appetizing movie - find our cuisine so overpowering that even being in a house where Indian food is regularly cooked induces a migraine headache, and as such can’t find it appealing on any aesthetic level. But I’m sure we’ll do fine!

EXT. FRANCE

The family drive around FRANCE looking for a RESTAURANT to buy, when suddenly they crash their car in a quaint French village. Passerby CHARLOTTE LE BON stops to help.

CHARLOTTE LE BON

Bonjour, I am positively the Frenchest actress they could find. Look at my big eyes and tiny pixie nose and coy little smile. Also note that my name is “Charlotte Le Bon”, holy fuck.

OM PURI

Oh good, you speak English.

CHARLOTTE LE BON

Everyone in France speaks English! Almost exclusively, even to each other! In fact we only speak just enough French to make the amount of English we speak wildly distracting.

She takes the family into town, where OM finds the premises for a RESTAURANT available for purchase. HELEN MIRREN shows up.

HELEN MIRREN

Look, an actor anybody has heard of! Now the marketing guys know whose face to slap over every inch of promotional material for the movie. Anyway, Mr. Indian Man, this property has been left under my supervision, how may I help you?

OM PURI

I’d like to buy this place and start a restaurant here.

HELEN MIRREN

Curses, I don’t want that to happen! Fortunately as this sale can only happen with my cooperation there are a dozen ways I could make it not go through.

(doesn’t do any of them)

Okay... well, instead I could just tell you a key piece of information which could make this venue seem way less appealing to you.

(doesn’t do that either)

Oh fuck it, I guess I’ll just facilitate this sale and only start sabotaging you afterwards, like an idiot.

MANISH DAYAL

Dad, you can’t buy this place! The key piece of information she neglected to mention is that there’s already a really popular restaurant literally right across the street from this venue! Which she owns and runs!

OM PURI

Stuff and nonsense! I’m at least a halfway intelligent person, surely I wouldn’t seriously consider buying a place without thoroughly checking out the neighbourhood first, let alone not even glancing across the street-

(glances across street)

Huh. Ah screw it, I’m just going to knowingly open a restaurant in direct competition with another one, even though this automatically makes me the antagonist in any conflict that might ensue!

OM starts setting up the RESTAURANT. Meanwhile MANISH starts a very coy, extremely French romantic subplot with CHARLOTTE.

CHARLOTTE LE BON

I am a sous-chef at Helen’s French restaurant. Which is, appropriately enough, about the Frenchest job you could think of. Damn, I am so very-

(checks IMDB)

French CANADIAN?! You gotta be shitting me!

MANISH DAYAL

Great, so you can start teaching me the ways of European cuisine! To the point of outright giving me big expensive books on the subject that I could have just bought myself!

CHARLOTTE LE BON

Indeed! And you can teach me the various tips and secrets you’ve picked up from your own lifetime of culinary education.

MANISH DAYAL

Shh, we don’t want the audience to notice that I never commit a single unselfish act in this entire movie.

Eventually OM opens the RESTAURANT, with MANISH as head chef.

HELEN MIRREN

But surprise, I went and raided the markets and now you have no ingredients for your opening night! Yes, I apparently spent thousands of euros out of fear that people might have said “screw those reservations we have at an acclaimed Michelin-star French restaurant, let’s spontaneously duck into the Indian joint across the road instead!”

OM PURI

Well we found ingredients anyway, then forced some passersby into our restaurant by injuring them and kidnapping their pets, so there! And now I’ll pull the same ingredient-stealing trick on YOU!

HELEN MIRREN

Damn, shoulda seen that one coming. Well, uh, I’ll just get the mayor to give you a citation for excessive noise, nyah nyah!

OM PURI

Then since I’m such a fucking copycat I’ll get him to give YOU a citation for improper parking, nyah nyah NYAH!

HELEN MIRREN

Building permits!

OM PURI

Zoning ordinances!

HELEN MIRREN

Property lines!

OM PURI

FIRE CODES!

MANISH DAYAL

Well this is about as entertaining as a city council meeting. Want us kitchen staff to help out with this little grudge match?

OM PURI

No, this is between the two of us! The rest of you may only contribute by shooting glares across the street while you cook furiously.

HELEN’S CHEF

Nuts to that! I can do whimsical seriocomic pranks as well as anybody!

(racistly sets fire to Indian restaurant)

Wait. I think I did it wrong.

HELEN MIRREN

Dammit, chef! I hope you’re happy, you just fucked up our lighthearted tone so bad that now I have to fire you and call a truce with Om, and now what looked like it was going to be the central conflict of the film has just sort of abruptly fizzled out.

MANISH DAYAL

Oh, so Helen isn’t trying to destroy us anymore? Great, then I’ll take my amazing superchef skills and go work for her now.

OM PURI

Wait, what? WHAT?!

MANISH DAYAL

Hey, I’m just following my dream. So what if that dream involves taking the top asset of my father’s business and handing it to his biggest competitor, who all of five seconds ago was trying to bankrupt him?

OM PURI

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME.

MANISH DAYAL

At least Charlotte understands! You do, don’t you honey? You’re fine with me taking all the cooking advice you gave me and using it to surpass you at your own restaurant, right?

CHARLOTTE LE BON

GO COOK AND EAT YOUR OWN DICK.

MANISH DAYAL

Man, everybody’s in such a mood today!

MANISH goes across the street and starts working for HELEN.

MANISH DAYAL

So here I am starting at the bottom! Will I be able to work my way up to become the new head-

(does)

Oh, okay. Good. But, will I be able to use my culinary prowess to secure this restaurant a second Michelin-

(does)

Hm. I seem to be robbing this movie of any tension through the sheer effortless Mary Sue-itude of my cooking skills. Fuck it, I’m off to Paris.

EXT. PARIS

MANISH is recruited by some kind of FUTURISTIC SCI-FI KITCHEN/LAB, where he works making artsy-fartsy meals that look like they were dug out of the LA BREA TAR PITS.

MANISH DAYAL

And now I will revolutionize the Parisian food scene, apparently by taking this restaurant’s existing menu items and jamming a bunch of random Indian spices into them!

Over the next HOWEVER LONG, he cooks a lot of MONSTROSITIES and becomes FAMOUS.

TV REPORTER

Manish Dayal has just been declared the best Parisian chef to not be secretly controlled by a hyperintelligent rat! What will he do next? Is there a special someone in his life? And holy shit, is this the slowest news day ever, or has this guy seriously become this famous just for being a chef in a restaurant? Seriously, is this, like, a thing in France?

MANISH DAYAL

But alack, for all my success I grow lonesome and homesick! What to do? Should I keep being a celebrated chef at an acclaimed two-Michelin-star restaurant, making food that Jabba the Hutt would eat? Or should I go back to being a celebrated chef at a different acclaimed two-Michelin-star restaurant, where I can serve normal human food and have all my loved ones around me and FOR FUCK’S SAKE WHY ARE WE EVEN COUCHING THIS AS A DILEMMA.

He GOES HOME, where he hammers out some vague kind of deal where he runs HELEN’S RESTAURANT, and so does CHARLOTTE possibly, and maybe OM’S RESTAURANT is also involved in some way or maybe not? It’s not explained very well.

MANISH DAYAL

And now, for my grand return from cooking those inedible-looking space fossil meals, I present to you some good old-fashioned cuisine: those inedible-looking spine monsters from the beginning of the movie! BON APPETIT!

Half the audience immediately goes out and orders ALL THE INDIAN FOOD. The other half immediately goes and watches CHEF again just to regain their appetite.

END.

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