Fitoor, daal and dil ka haal

February 28, 2016

The breath-taking views of the snow-capped mountains of Kashmir call for comfort food and there’s rarely anything better than a well-spiced, soothing bowl of daal

Fitoor, daal and dil ka haal

Fitoor is an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic, Great Expectations, and has been adapted to the Indian cinema screen with one motto: Love Makes or Breaks.  Whether there are pangs of hunger, the raging fire of deception or the art of loving someone, the film’s story speaks volumes on every aspect for those willing to observe.

With each situation intricately woven and forcefully enjoined, the story – set in Kashmir – revolves around a number of facets while love remains the continuous and sole umbilical cord from which they branch out. Tabu plays the role of a mother with a jilted past exceptionally well; her haunting past more than often influences and intensifies her decisions and relationships with her family and constantly throws her into the illusions of a lost era. With her broken heart she remains ever disillusioned with men and transpires similar fate for her daughter.

Katrina Kaif (Firdaus), playing the role of Estella from the novel, religiously continues with her placid and unimpressive acting. As gorgeous as she may look in certain frames, not even once does she throw element in her acting; she remains her usual icicle self, whether she’s acting out romantic, teary or casual scenes. There I was, eating popcorn with extreme vehemence while twiddling my thumbs in anticipation of some decent work thrown our way.

Note: Please envision me with my hands to heart, starry eyes and hopeful heart as I write the following:

Aditya Roy Kapur (Noor)…drum roll…leads the movie. The forcefulness of his passion for Firdaus is stupendous. His art, his work and his faith all gush the movie forward with certainty and assurance. His casual dress sense, well-toned body and unshaven, ready-to-die-for-love look totally encapsulates the audience (me at least). Intensity and fitoor was oozing out of his expressions, dialogues and art work. I remember ‘liking’ him when he side-roled in the Ranbir-Deepika movie Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani. And he did not cease to impress me here either. The look of a Kashmir love-struck lad who lands in Delhi and then London with his passion and primary search for his beloved certainly suits Mr. Roy very well.

With an already bold story line, brilliantly captured Kashmir frames, uber intense currents of love and deceit and strong performances by Tabu and Aditya, one would have expected a soaring success. Special appearances from Ajay Devgn and Lara Dutta and the inclusion of a Pakistani character do patch up the movie to a certain extent. The decent but not so catchy music playlist also lends a hand but Katrina’s lukewarm (as usual) acting brings down the scope of the movie with a thud!  And that happens to be the sad reality along with the message that love is maddeningly sweet, crippling yet soaring, intensely bereft and calmingly raw!

So, if you have a couple of hours on your hands and the heart to watch a beautifully landscaped movie with bits and pieces of intensity and madness, then do visit the cinema before Fitoor is taken off screens. And if you have some more time on your hands, it would be a treat to whip up the extremely delicious ‘Mash ki Daal’ with some freshly boiled rice - certainly comforting after watching the cold, snow capped mountains of Kashmir in the movie. This recipe was lent to me by a very dear friend and more often than not I have had the pleasure of enjoying this particular ‘daal’ at her place. The prep work might take some time, however, believe me the finale’ is certainly worth waiting for. Fork tender, balanced and well spiced, I have always eaten this to my heart’s content, for it has always been comforting, soothing, warm and sublimely flavored - perhaps just like a dose of pure love!


Mash Ki Daal


1 ½ cup Mash ki daal (urad daal) soaked for at least 3 hours prior to cooking


3 tbsp. Oil

1 Medium sized onion (finely chopped)

½ tsp. Garlic (finely chopped)

½ tsp. Ginger (finely chopped)

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Red chilli powder

½ tsp. Cumin powder

½ tsp. Coriander powder


Handful of Coriander Leaves

Sliced Green Chilli

½ Onion (sliced and browned)


• ‑Heat oil and gently brown onion, when evenly browned add in all the spices, ¼ cup water and gently simmer to get an even masala

• ‑Add the pre-soaked daal and fry in the masala for a few minutes until evenly coated with spice mixture.

• The trick to making this daal is to not add water all at once (instructs my friend)

• ‑Little by little, keep adding water and gently stirring until the daal gets tender yet retains shape. This can take up to 30- 45 minutes.

• ‑Once tender, the lentils will swell up slightly. Take off heat, set out in a dish, garnish and serve

Fitoor, daal and dil ka haal