Nina's Heavenly Delights: Movie Review

By Jeff Walsh

Nina's Heavenly Delights is a Scottish Asian story about an Indian cooking competition, but the universal themes will satisfy the most discerning film lover's palette.

Over the opening credits, we see a very young Nina and her father cooking together, and witness the passion he brings to cooking. The movie begins as Nina returns home to Glasgow upon learning of her father's death. Her childhood friend Bobbi, who dreams of performing in drag in a Bollywood movie, picks her up at the airport.

Nina Shah moved to London after some family altercation, and there is obvious tension between her and the family she left behind. The Shahs have an award-winning Indian restaurant called The New Taj, of which a young woman named Lisa now owns half after Nina's father had lost half of the business as part of a bet.

As the story moves on, we find out that every member of the Shah family has a secret involving a hidden love, and each of them keep it hidden because of family obligation.

Nina's father's secret is discovered after his death: their restaurant was selected to compete in The Best of the West Curry Competition on television. His dream was to pull off the hat trick of winning this competition for a third time.

Nina decides to win the trophy for her father, but gets distracted by falling in love.

The movie, by writer/producer/director Pratibha Parmar (read my interview with her here) has a very playful tone and blurs the lines of reality with pleasing results. Food, its loving preparation, fragrance, and spices are both a character in the movie and a metaphor for bringing things together in harmony while not losing their individual contributions.

The film doesn't provide any shocking plot twists, but serves as well-made, smile-inducing, lovingly-prepared comfort food.

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For more information, cities, and showtimes, visit the movie website.

Comments

Lol-taire's picture

I really disliked this

I really disliked this film.
It was like being bludgeoned with light heartedness, but with no charm or memorable characters.

The main romance was just insipid and for a film about food the generally foodie depictions were sub tv chef program; no colour or sense of texture or general deliciousness. It was more Fanny Craddock than Nigella Lawson (who even in ridiculous self parody mode eeks more sensuality out of her ingredients than the film managed in an hour and a half).

And then the blandest bland romance- so seperate beds and hot water bottles. No frission and no chemistry or actually even any real hint why they fall in love at all. I really like fluffy romance, it's just that this was all fluff and no trousers- actually trousers on and a chastity belt.
A film doesn't need to be explicit to show a bit of eroticism, it's just the couple could try looking a bit less bored by the whole buisness of clandestine sexual awakening.

And liberation via the Highland Fling? It's not quite rebel without a cause, but did it have to be so shortbread tin Scotland? Speaking of the film had no sense of place or location, it could have been set anywhere and as a result never felt like the characters lived anywhere other than a movie studio. Which is a big disadvantage in a film with the catalyst of a homecoming.

And obviously there's the Magic Drag Queen. A hackeyed and stupid plot device, utterly lacking charm or whatever kitch added value he was meant to bring to the proceedings.

I've writen quite a lot now. I'd forgotten how much this film annoyed me. It really did annoy me. I expected to like it and I didn't expect much of it.
It does feature the song "Pyar Kiya Tho Darna Kya" from Mughal e Azam. That's good. I wouldn't have heard of Mughal e Azam if I hadn't watched this film.

jeff's picture

Yeah...

As ya'll may have figured out, this movie already had its UK run. :-)

A lot of people seem to dislike this movie, which I only found out after I wrote my review. Can't say why, but for whatever reason, it worked for me. It is not a serious piece, not hard-hitting. But it seemed to have its heart in the right place, though the audience is probably well ahead of the curve of the major character, and there is a bit of "Get over yourself, come out already!" Of course, I think that much of the time I log in here, so I figure that's just me at this point, heh.

Of course, I always rather artists aim high and miss than aim low and succeed, which is often the case with gay films.
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Lol-taire's picture

I think I sound more vicious

I think I sound more vicious than I meant to be (what happens when you're bored in the house by yourself waiting to go to work).

The thing is I have a bit of a soft spot for romantic comedy. And I love food and I love cooking. And believe it or not I'm a lesbian.
So I should have liked this film. And I just didn't really.

It had a few moments. Once scene I did like was the one where I think it's Lisa helps Nina with her dress (or vice versa- it's been a while since I saw this film). And I thought that was sweet and sort of caught that weird thin line between 'normal' female friends and girlfriends.

It's just that in my (useless, faceless internet stranger opinion) these sort of sweet, heart in the right place nice little films with happy endings- which everyone needs lots of- need to have some extra little twist or amazing bit of chemistry to set them appart from all the same old rehashed will-they-won't-they-but-we-all-know-they-will same old stories. And the fact that both the protagonists are female is no longer a big enough twist to qualify. Which is a good thing. Well done 21st century Britain that a film about an interacial lesbian couple is just so... conservative.

Lesbian Movie Guide's picture

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie

I must say that I was skeptical when I first read the synopsis of Nina's heavenly delights. It just seemed so formulaic
But was pleasantly surprised when I watched it

Yes the script was never going to set the world on fire but the acting was really good and the movie has it's own understated charm

Nina's heavenly delights review and trailer