The team behind the feature film Jadoo builds each week and currently we stand at about four down in London and seven up here.
By “up here” I mean the City of Leicester.
Amit Gupta’s movie Jadoo is a food & family comedy set in the restaurant trade on the Belgrave Road, England’s own Little India – and known locally as The Golden Mile due to the fact that every fifth shop is a jewellers.
Every fourth shop is a curry house and Amit was born above one, The Chaat House, still run by his mum and his auntie.
When a new member joins the team there’s a ritual: within the week the newbie is taken to the The Chaat House for a mixed chaat – a Delhi street food. And a set of starters. A samosa, or two. A lassi, perhaps. All cooked and served by Mrs Gupta’s exclusively female and fabulously kindly team.
And then we have them: hook, line and sinker. They join the project because they love script but having tasted the food they’re never going to leave…
Mrs Gupta’s Chaat House has been running since the 70’s and is a treasured local food-shrine. (Not only local, as can be seen by the Observer review hanging discretely by the stairs.) She opens at about noon and a steady stream of customers, old and young, come to sit in the maroon booths to eat and eat and eat.
The kitchen – small, functional and pin-clean – is staffed by women devoted to making vegetarian foods of such deliciousness that it’s impossible not to gorge. This is not grateful fawning; just type The Chaat House, Leicester into the Google-machine and watch the five-star reviews pop up.
So, here we sit, prepping the film for an early March shoot and deeply concerned – not about being ready to shoot in time, we’re in really great shape, but about being too fat to move by the time we hear “Turnover!”