Chilli Chicken review: A laudable effort tackling racism, which could have been more risque

It is an important film as it tackles a prevalent practice across most Indian cities, especially metropolitan ones.

BySunayana Suresh

Published:Jun 22, 2024

Prateek Prajosh's directorial debut Chilli Chicken

Chilli Chicken (Kannada)

21-06-2024, Drama, 2 hours 3 minutes U/A
  • Main Cast:Bijou Thaangjam, Hirock Sonowal, Jimpa Sangpo Bhutia, Shrunga BV, Tomthin Thokchom, Victor Thoudam, and Nithya Shri
  • Director:Prateek Prajosh
  • Producer:Deep Bhimajiyani and Sudha Nambiar
  • Music Director:Siddhanth Sundar
  • Cinematography:Shrish Tomar



Chilli Chicken is about Shrunga BV as Adarsh, who runs a Chinese joint with a team from the Northeast at the helm of affairs. While Adarsh wants to become a big restaurateur, his staff crave respect in the metropolis.

What happens when one drunken night leads to a shocking incident that changes their lives forever?

The trailer and other promotional content from the team of Chilli Chicken have ensured there is some buzz about the film, at least among the film aficionado circles.

The film marks the directorial debut of Prateek Prajosh. It is said to have been inspired by a story of racial discrimination that the filmmaker heard that took place in Bengaluru, which led him to write Chilli Chicken.

It is an important movie as it tackles a prevalent practice across most Indian cities, especially metropolitan ones.

A still from the film Chilli Chicken

A still from the film ‘Chilli Chicken’. (X)

Though, at the same time, one feels with topics like national identity and racism at the core, the makers may have played it a bit safe for their eventual message to land.

The film delves into the lives of small-time restaurateur Adarsh and his employees Khaba, Jimpa, Ajoy, and Jason. They run a shack-like restaurant that is known for its Indian Chinese fare.

On one side, Adarsh dreams of opening a bigger fine dining space and winning the hearts and stomachs of foodies.

On the other hand, the employees each want to find a piece of home and acceptance in Bengaluru, where they are never even called by their name most times and often been subjected to racist slurs.

One day, when Adarsh indulges in some drunken revelry with his staff, there are some deadly outcomes quite literally. The way each member deals with this and what happens thereafter forms a little long-winded tale that follows.

EXCLUSIVE: ‘Producers weren’t keen at all to make a film about Northeast Indians, says Chilli Chicken director Prateek

A commendable film

What is commendable is Prateek’s idea of keeping every character grey and not stark black or white as most often done in cinema. This showcases the human side to most, including Adarsh.

At the same time, it is this middle-of-the-road approach that also hinders Chilli Chicken from being another commendable film to something that could have stood out and been path-breaking.

Lead actors of Chilli Chicken

The lead actors of ‘Chilli Chicken’. (X)

This is because when one deals with topics like racism, it is not until one takes it to the extreme that the messages land hard.

An obvious comparison when watching this film would be Axone (2019), where food, racism, and Northeast cast members formed the story, much like in Chilli Chicken.

However, in this movie, the conflicts in the second half seem a tad meek and could have been meted out better.

Another grouse is how the makers have tried to force the Northeast cast to speak in English and Kannada. Having them speak in their mother tongue, especially during moments of anxiety or conflict, could have lent better authenticity.

While that is what could have been better, what is commendable is the casting.

Everyone in Chilli Chicken does a great job. Be it Shrunga, Bijou Thaangjam, Hirock Sonowal, Jimpa Sangpo Bhutia, Tomthin Thokchom in the restaurant scenes or Padmaja Rao as the lady don or Nithya Shri as Adarsh’s lover, everyone leaves a mark.

Also Read: Movies and mass heroes are scarce in the Kannada industry!

Final take

Racism is an often overlooked fact in metropolitan cities and it needs to be addressed.

Chilli Chicken attempts to bring forth the lives of the Northeast population living in small pigeon holes in Bengaluru trying to make ends meet.

Watch it, as conversations on racism and acceptance are much needed.

(Views expressed here are personal.)

(Edited by Y Krishna Jyothi)

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