The Hundred-Foot Journey


The Film

The Hundred-Foot Journey is a 2014 British/American comedy-drama, directed by Lasse Hallström from a screenplay written by Steven Knight, adapted from Richard C. Morais' 2010 novel of the same name. The film stars Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, and Charlotte Le Bon, and tells the story of a feud between two adjacent restaurants - one operated by a recently-relocated Indian family and the other managed by a French sous chef (Mirren).

Hassan Kadam is a culinary ingénue with the gastronomic equivalent of perfect pitch. When Hassan and his family, led by Papa, move to a quaint village in the South of France with the grand plan of opening an Indian restaurant in the picturesque countryside, they are undeterred by the fact that only 100 feet opposite stands a Michelin starred classical French restaurant.

However upon encountering the icy proprietress, Madame Mallory, the Kadam family realise they may have bitten off more than they can chew. Outraged by the new arrivals, Mallory is determined to have their business shut down. As cultures clash and food flies, an all-out war escalates between the two establishments -- until, that is, Hassan's passion and talent for French cuisine begin to enchant Madame Mallory, and even she can't deny that this young chef could have what it takes to garner even more acclaim for her beloved restaurant. This starts to weave a magic between the two cultures and, despite their different tastes, they discover an unlikely recipe for success that surprises them all.

The Hundred-Foot Journey was produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey for DreamWorks Pictures through their respective production companies, Amblin Entertainment and Harpo Films, in association with Participant Media and Image Nation. The film was released in the UK by Touchstone Pictures on Friday 5th September 2014, and has received very positive reviews since its release.


On 3rd June 2013, DreamWorks Pictures hired director Lasse Hallström to helm an adaptation of Richard C. Morais' novel The Hundred-Foot Journey, about two rival restaurants in France. Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Juliet Blake produced the film adaptation scripted by Steven Knight. In an interview, Winfrey was quoted, "Food blends cultures and allows us to have just a little peek into someone else's life... It is about a hundred foot divide between cultures." Winfrey chose the book on which the film is based as a 'favorite summer read' in 2010. She said, "It’s about human beings coming to understand other human beings and more importantly, after you get to experience or step into somebody else’s shoes or see them for a real human being, how you understand that you’re really more alike than you are different". Sanjeev Lamba, the CEO of Reliance Big Entertainment, stated that the film was a much celebrated release and is a close partnership with DreamWorks, reflecting a cross country association.


Principal photography began in the South of France on 23rd September 2013, in Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val. Filming lasted for nine weeks and proceeded in the Netherlands and in the Cité du Cinéma studio complex, located in Saint-Denis, North of Paris.The Hundred Foot Journey was also extensively shot at scenic locales in the Midi Pyrenees. Prior to actual filming, actors Manish Dayal and Charlotte Le Bon spent a considerable amount of time going to restaurants and observing and learning in kitchens. To sign off on the food featured in the film, producer Juliet Blake consulted an Indian-born chef, Floyd Cardoz, who advised on 'fusing together two cultures through cooking'. Indian actress Juhi Chawla plays Om Puri's character's wife in the film. The makers felt the need for her to look 15 years older than her present age, and hence she has been made to age digitally on screen with the help of post-production techniques.


The first trailer for The Hundred-Foot Journey was released on 13th May 2014, and the film's New York premiere was held at the Ziegfeld Theatre on 4th August 2014. The film was released in the US on 8th August 2014. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures distributed the film globally through its Touchstone Pictures label, except for territories in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, where the film's rights were sold by Mister Smith Entertainment to independent distributors. Reliance Entertainment distributed the film solely in India. The film was released in the UK by Touchstone Pictures on Friday 5th September 2014.


Helen Mirren as Madame Mallory
Om Puri as Papa
Manish Dayal as Hassan
Charlotte Le Bon as Marguerite
Amit Shah as Mansur
Farzana Dua Elahe as Mahira
Dillon Mitra as Mukthar
Juhi Chawla as Mama
Rohan Chand as Young Hassan
Michel Blanc as Mayor
Shuna Lemoine as Mayor's wife


A.R. Rahman composed the music for the film. Hollywood Records released the soundtrack on 12th August 2014.

In December 2013, a press release featured in The New York Times confirmed A. R. Rahman was scoring the film. He confirmed that the Indian part of the score would have classical instruments such as sitar, sarod and santoor.

Rahman did not wish to compose a generic score but wanted to weave the screenplay into a theme. He did not wanted to put up a scheme that marked an end or beginning. Thus, the score was organically mixed in a particular way wherein certain confronting cues sound clearly Indian or French. The distinction was aptly made when there is 'war' sequence in the film, where both the kitchens are working in parallel, making the scene more dramatic.

Otherwise, he stated that scoring was seamlessly undertaken as per requirement; he called the score "having western classical music sensibilities". The Director and the composer worked together, communicating via Skype while Rahman was in Los Angeles finishing up Million Dollar Arm, and Hallstrom was shooting the film in France.

On completion of the score, the Director was quoted as saying: "The resulting score is fiercely personal and original". In an interview at Indiewire, Hallström noted: "Music could underscore the differences in the culture and the similarities, so we played around a lot with that. I sat with A. R. Rahman in Los Angeles and worked out the score together. I got an opportunity to sit in his laboratory there and see him come up with ideas. That was a fantastic part of making this film, that he invited me to the creative process." Hence the unusual hybrid score.