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The Kannada film Chilli Chicken explores why migrant workers from the north-east are treated as outsiders

Directed by Prateek Prajosh, who makes his feature film debut, Chilli Chicken is set for a June 21 theatrical outing.

The Kannada film Chilli Chicken explores why migrant workers from the north-east are treated as outsiders
Shrunga BV (left) in a still from Chilli Chicken

Last Updated: 06.54 PM, May 29, 2024


A few days ago, when the teaser of a new Kannada film called Chilli Chicken dropped, it piqued the interest of audiences – a story set in Bengaluru revolving around a restaurant and its migrant workforce, most of who are from the north-east of India. The film is the feature film debut of Prateek Prajosh, a Malayali who has been living in Bengaluru for a while.

The film, which stars Shrunga BV, Nithyashri, Bijou Thaangjam, Jimpa Sangpo Bhutia, Hirock Sonowal, Tomthin Thockchom, Victor Thoudam, Harini Sundarajan and Padmaja Rao, is slated for a June 21 theatrical release, in the run-up to which Prateek will present a couple of songs from the film, including this evening’s Beedhi Naayi, and the trailer on June 8. “Beedhi Naayi is a full video song that we are releasing, which is very story-driven and will give audiences an idea about the characters in the film and see them in their element,” says Prateek, adding, “Beedhi Naayi is an interesting fusion of Kannada and Nepali lyrics.”


Chilli Chicken, says Prateek, is a dark comedy with a social commentary. “It’s a film that is very important because of the message that it eventually presents. It is not a rooted story of the heartland, instead, it is urban and extremely relatable. The comedy is very situational and peppered throughout the film and makes a relevant observation, without being preachy. The story is loosely based on an incident that happened to a friend’s acquaintance’s restaurant in Frazer Town. There was an incident and the restaurant was shut. The film takes that thread and develops in its own way,” says Prateek.

Chilli Chicken, reckons the filmmaker, is the kind of film that will come only once in a blue moon, because it is about migrant workers from the north-east, who are often overlooked, especially in Bengaluru, as well as in other metro cities. “Chilli Chicken has been made in Kannada, but it is as important for non-Kannada audiences, and the north-east community, to watch the film, as it is for Kannada audiences. Thematically, it is very relevant to any metro city,” he says.

A still from the Kannada film Chilli Chicken
A still from the Kannada film Chilli Chicken

But why has Prateek made a film like Chilli Chicken? “Although I am originally from Kerala, I grew up in the Gulf and came back to Bengaluru, for my graduation and post-graduation studies, after which I went travelling across the country and then came back here to make this film. Most of my upbringing has been abroad, so, when I’d come back to India, I’d feel like an outsider. Now, I am a lot more rooted than before, but when I see people from the north-east and see how they are made to feel like outsiders in their own country, there was a bit of a connect,” says the filmmaker, adding that he always empathized and wondered why they are looked at differently.

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