The Tarla Movie Made Me Realise How Passion Can Drive A Great Business

Though Tarla movie is set in the early ’60s, here I was, a woman born two decades later, still identifying with her passion for business.

A random selection on an OTT channel, suitable for family viewing, made us watch the Tarla movie — a story depicting the life of the culinary wizard Tarla Dalal. With the internet overflowing with numerous chefs showcasing their flair in cooking in the form of reels and videos, the chances are remote that the present generation would have even heard of Tarla Dalal.

She had even done a vanishing act from my memory until I wanted to try making oats khichdi one day. A quick Google search made her recipe pop up topmost on the list. As I clicked on her website, I was amazed to see the extensive repertoire of Indian vegetarian recipes available there.

You name it, and it was there. From Punjabi to South Indian, from zero oil to quick stir-fries, it was all just a click away.

Taking inspiration from her real life, Director Piyush Gupta has helmed a straightforward yet engaging narrative in the Tarla movie. Huma Qureshi plays the role of Tarla eloquently. Even though there is not much physical resemblance between the two, she effortlessly imbibes the nuances of Tarla’s personality.

The movie starts with the dialogue ”Har kamyab aadmi ke peeche ek aurat hoti hai, aur har kamyab aurat ke peechey ek kahani” — behind every successful man is a woman, but behind every successful woman is a story.

Young Tarla is a girl with a penchant for cooking and is married off at a young age to Nalin Dalal, played by the fine actor Sharib Hashmi.

Tarla movie is about the desire and dreams

Movie Tarla

Tarla always insists that she wants to do something in life, but she doesn’t know yet what it will be. However, Nalin’s assurance that he will support her completely once she knows what she wants to do seals the deal for him, making Tarla agree to the marriage.

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The chemistry between the two is surprisingly fresh and rather adorable. As they delve deep into marital bliss, 12 years and three kids later, Tarla realises that she still hasn’t achieved anything in her life. In fact, she was envious of the Raddi wala (junk seller) sitting in front of their house, who had started on the footpath and eventually bought a shop.

Her angst was that, unlike her, even a Raddi wala knew what he wanted in life.

As she mulls over her ordinary life, she gets the opportunity to take cooking classes for her neighbour’s daughter, Alka. According to her mother, Alka was of marriageable age but was not very proficient in the kitchen.

Over a couple of classes, Alka masters some of Tarla’s special recipes and also shares her inhibitions regarding marriage.

First taste of passion

 Movie Tarla

Alka didn’t want to end up being just another housewife but wanted to work and pursue her dream of becoming a journalist. Thankfully, a well-made paneer kofta does the trick and Alka, through her delectable dish, convinces her in-laws to let her work after marriage.

Somehow, this one success story brings a hoard of parents with their daughters of marriageable age to Tarla’s doorstep, requesting her to take cooking classes for them. And just then, Tarla knows what she wants. All the pieces fall in place at that very moment like an intricate and complex jigsaw puzzle.

Nalin too, is like a solid pillar of support until, quite predictably, her success dents his male ego. But he is quick to realise his fallacy. There was no looking back for Tarla from then on.

What followed was an impressive feat of 176 cookbooks, a Padma Shree award, the creation of her website with over 17000 recipes and many more achievements.

Finding my story in the Tarla movie

Tarla Movie

It surprisingly moved me as I sat through two and a half hours of the somewhat predictable movie. While Tarla’s story was set in the early ’60s, here I was, a woman born two decades later, still identifying with her.

Being married at 23, pregnant at 24, and giving up my flourishing career to tend to my cub was not how I had thought my life would end. Since then, time has just whiled away slowly and steadily, like sand slipping through my fingers. No amount of clenching my fist made time stand still. Things kept happening to me and not the other way.

It wasn’t a Raddi wala for me, but seeing my contemporaries attend parties, go on shopping sprees, have pampering sessions at the salon, have nails on point, complain about their bosses, and celebrate promotions had me bitter. Oh boy, I could have turned green with envy.

Meanwhile, I would be pacing up and down the living room, rocking my little one to sleep. My nighty was constantly soaked in leaked milk and reeking, a hastily done bath, and my hair was always tied in a knit at the nape of my neck.

As a result of social deprivation, even the chance of an occasional outing to the supermarket would have me dressed to the hilt. Kohl-rimmed eyes, crimson colour soaking my lips, hair blow-dried, and me swaying through the aisles of the local grocery store with a husband in tow rolling his eyes at my idiosyncrasies.

Thankfully, writing has been a steadfast companion, holding me securely lest I fall into an abyss of self-pity. Now, ten years later,  in retrospect, I am allowing myself to revel in the joy of getting all the mundane societal obligations out of the way. With the cub growing into a little tiger, independent and capable of scoring prey for himself, I can take a breath and focus on my work and myself.

We all have a plan, and when things don’t go according to it, or there is a slight deviation, the heart breaks a little. When a casual visit from a friend or relative evokes comments like, what do you do the whole day — you stutter a little — sounding like a quacking duck, trying to justify all you do in a single sentence.

Your heart breaks a little when a health issue takes you two steps backwards instead of a step forward. The breaks are relentless, making you hurt and cry. But let not each break signify a failure but an opportunity to emerge stronger and more resilient like kintsugi- an ancient Japanese art in which broken ceramic pieces are brought back together, and the scars are covered skilfully with gold to create a unique piece.

It is never too late!

tarla dalal movie

So, if you feel empty, taken in with the feeling that you are not doing enough or don’t know what to do in your life, pause because someday it all falls into place. Remember, it’s never too late to work towards your ambitions. It will all come together, and till then, allow yourself to make the most of your little wins in life. If you can make a good dish, make it the best way you can for your family.

Take that as your win for the day. If you are good at maths, make your child ace that maths test and take that as your win for the day. If you are good at makeup, make a video of yourself applying it, it may not be good, but it’s a start—take that as your win for the day.

If you are contemplating whether to publish that poem you wrote on a whim, click on a post it options — you may get just a couple of likes — but take that as your win for the day. Just keep moving ahead little by little, and you will reach the finish line just like Tarla did!

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About the Author

Anjali Paul

I am a mom who works from home and dabbles with writing when time permits.An avid reader since childhood, blogging and writing helps me de-stress.My five year old keeps me on my read more...

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