Cooking with Stella, 2010

Satire and comedy rolled into one, this is a fun movie.  That’s the bottom line, really.  But for those who wish to see several other lines before the very last one at the bottom, I’d say its possible for some to take offense at the way both Canadian and Indians have been portrayed:  the former as simplistic and gullible, and the latter as scheming con artists.  But even if that is the case, it is still a compliment to the film makers in succeeding to convey such extreme and somewhat disturbing notions.

But beyond all this, the story has three distinctive and unusual themes:  first, it points to the great diversity of India in showcasing the housekeeper/maid– the very talented Seema Biswas– as belonging to the minority Catholic community of Kerala.  Second, it is refreshing to see a role-reversal in the expatriate Canadian couple in that the woman is the breadwinner at the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi, and the man is a stay-at-home husband and father of a toddler.  And what’s more, he loves to cook, and professionally at that.  Which is where our Indian cook-cum-conwoman shines in her role.  Lastly, like many a pan-Asian movie of late (see:, this one also has a strong focus on food.  Hark, all foodies, you’ll enjoy the movie if only for the many scenes and closeup shots of the many spices and markets of New Delhi– yes, there’s INA market and Khan market as well!

But back to the bottom line:  an entertaining movie with perhaps a simplistic ending, but still good for some thoughts and laughs.


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