Salt N' Pepper

Salt N' Pepper is a 2011 Indian Malayalam romantic comedy film directed by Aashiq Abu and produced for Lucsam Creations. The film stars Lal, Asif Ali, Shweta Menon and Mythili in the lead roles while Baburaj and Vijayaraghavan play supporting roles. Cinematography is by Shyju Kahild, whose debut was Traffic (2011). The screenplay was written by Syam Pushkaran and Dileesh Nair.

Salt N' Pepper
Salt N'Pepper 01.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byAashiq Abu
Produced bySadanandan Rangorath
Written bySyam Pushkaran
Dileesh Nair
StarringAsif Ali
Shweta Menon
Music byBijibal
CinematographyShyju Khalid
Edited byV. Saajan
Lucsam Creations
Distributed byRemya Movies
Release date
  • 8 July 2011 (2011-07-08)
Running time
118 minutes
Budget2.5 crore (equivalent to 4.1 crore or US$580,000 in 2019)[1]

The film follows the love stories of two couples. The main characters are: Kalidasan (Lal), an archaeologist; Maya (Shwetha Menon), a dubbing artist; Meenakshi (Mythili), an IELTS student; Manu (Asif Ali), a happy-go-lucky management graduate; and Babu (Baburaj), Kalidasan's cook. Food plays an important role in the story and the tagline of the film is ഒരു ദോശ ഉണ്ടാക്കിയ കഥ - oru Dosa undaākkiya kadha ("A story made by Dosa" also “ A story of making a Dosa").[2]

The film has an original score by Bijibal, with three songs composed by Bijibal and the song "Aanakkallan" written and sung by Malayalam rock band Avial. The film was produced by Lucsam Cinema and released by Lal. Principal production for the film started on 3 January 2011 and it was released in theatres on 8 July 2011 to positive reviews and good initial viewing figures.[3]

Salt N' Pepper's Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi remake rights have been bought by actor-director Prakash Raj.[4] It was remade in Tamil as Un Samayal Arayil and was shot simultaneously in Telugu and Kannada as Ulavacharu Biriyani and Oggarane. Prakash Raj directed the remakes and appeared in the lead role playing Lal's character while Sneha did the role of Shweta Menon's character. Prakash is directing Hindi remake titled Tadka. In 2019, Baburaj announced the shooting of a sequel titled Black Coffee, written and directed by him,[5] and a trailer was released on 16 December 2020.[6]


Kalidasan (Lal) works in the state archaeological department in Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) and is a food lover. His only companion is his cook, Babu (Baburaj). Manu Raghav (Asif Ali) is Kalidasan's nephew who comes to stay with him, while looking for a job. Kalidasan has a normal life until he gets a mis-dialled phone call from Maya (Shweta Menon), a dubbing artiste living with her friend Meenakshi (Mythili). Maya rings to order a special Dosa (named "Thattil Kutti Dosa" in the film) from a restaurant, but gets Kalidasan instead. Their conversations do not go well at first, but a long-distance romance develops due to their common interest—cooking and food. Kalidasan is a born gourmet while Maya is indulging in culinary activities in memory of her deceased mother. Kalidasan starts to let Maya into the secrets of baking with a multi-layered cake called "Joan's Rainbow".

Kalidasan and Maya both get the jitters before their first face-to-face meeting, as each becomes conscious of their own physical appearances, and both decide to send younger and better looking substitutes instead, Manu and Meenakshi. When they meet, neither Manu nor Meenkashi realise that the other person is a substitute, since they introduce themselves as Kalidasan and Maya respectively. Manu thinks that Kalidasan is actually in love with Meenakshi, while Meenakshi thinks that Maya is in love with Manu. They attempt to sabotage their older counterpart's relationship by telling Kalidasan and Maya respectively that the person they met would be unsuitable for them. Kalidasan and Maya try to forget each other, but fail, and they decide to call each other and meet anyway. Manu and Meenakshi, who by this time had started to develop feelings for each other, are dejected upon hearing this and decide to leave the city so that their older counterpart may have a good relationship. However, they discover the truth and each other's real identities during a chance encounter with a common acquaintance Pooja (Archana Kavi) at the railway station. Thus Manu and Meenakshi call Kalidasan and Maya respectively and narrate all the incidents unknown to them. Kalidasan and Maya meet each other and their relationship begins. It is also shown that Manu and Meenakshi are in a relationship too and are having sex.


  • Lal as Kalathil Parambil Kalidasan. He has some peculiar characteristics. He is an archaeologist by profession and a food lover. He is also a reasonable cook and a food critic.[7]
  • Shweta Menon as Maya Krishnan. A single woman who is working as a dubbing artiste, she is also a "foodie" and very good in cooking.
  • Asif Ali as Manu Raghav. He is a carefree youngster character who often puts himself into awkward situations trying to be over friendly.[8] Asif Ali says, "It's the one character among all that I have essayed [sic] that's closest to my real-life persona."[9]
  • Mythili as Meenakshi. She is a bubbly and glamorous girl who is beauty conscious and loves to take care herself.[10]
  • Baburaj as Cook Babu. A professional chef[11]
  • Vijayaraghavan as Balakrishnan. Kalidasan's friend and colleague.
  • Ahmed Sidhique as K. T. Mirash. Manu's friend and Meenakshi's teacher. He is an irksome guy who annoys people with unnecessary advice.
  • Kelu Mooppan as Mooppan. A tribal whom Kalidasan brings to the city.
  • Kalpana as Mary. The owner of the house where Maya and Meenakshi live.
  • Ambika Mohan as Itha. A regular customer at Mary's beauty parlour
  • Archana Kavi as Pooja Nair. A girl whom Manu meets in a train,from Ernakulam.
  • Dileesh Pothan as Director. A movie director who tries to woo Maya
  • Nandhu as Bhaskaran Nair. Pooja's father.
  • Shine Tom Chacko as dubbing director.
  • Munshi Venu as Driving instructor
  • Deepa Jayan as Serial actress


The film centres around food and Aashiq Abu says: "For a society that is so fond of food, this genre of cinema has not been really explored much in Mollywood [Malayalam cinema], save for a few films. As a foodie, I was inspired to make a film centred on food when I came across this interesting script by Syam Pushkaran and Dileesh Nair."[12]

The film often mentions Kerala cuisine. The title song "Chembavu", which features visuals of famous eateries across Kerala such as the hotels Zain, Sagar, Paragon, Bombay, Buhari, Ananda Bhavan, Paradise, etc. as well as the unique three-metre-tea at a stall in Kumbalangi. It also portrays some Kerala specialities such as Malabar Erachi pathiri. The lyrics of the song written by Rafeeque Ahammed, contains food.[12]

The reason for the mis-dialled call, Thattil Kutty Dosa, is a local speciality.[2] The relationship develops between Kalidasan and Maya around the secrets of baking a multi-layered cake known as Joan's Rainbow. The legend of Joan's Rainbow is described by Nita Sathyendran in The Hindu:

The story goes that at the end of the Second World War, a French soldier's wife started baking a strawberry cake to give her husband when he returned from the War. He didn't turn up that day, nor did he the next day when she had added a pistachio-flavoured layer to the cake. On the third day she baked a third layer, one in orange flavour, but he didn't come that day either. On the fourth day when she was about to lose hope, her husband arrived bearing a box of chocolates! The woman is said to have melted the chocolates and made a fourth layer, and served the rainbow of layers to her husband, sealing their bond of love forever.[12]

According to Abu, "Salt N' Pepper is meant to be a light-hearted entertainer; it's nothing serious – no big plots, no big twists – but plain old common sense, and dollops of good ol' fun."[12]


The film was scripted by first-time writers Syam Pushkaran and Dileesh Nair who said, "We had a one-liner ready and had approached a few directors. Although most of them liked what they heard, no one was willing to turn it into a movie. Then along came director Aashiq Abu of Daddy Cool fame. Lucky for us Aashiq was looking for a light-hearted script, something to do before his next superstar film came through. He loved our one-liner enough to give us an advance on the spot and asked us to come back with a full-fledged script". The duo was inspired by films such as Ponmuttayidunna Tharavu, Meleparambil Aanveedu, Kodiyettam and Yavanika, and the literary works of Vaikom Muhammad Basheer.[13]

Salt N' Pepper is Aashiq Abu's second directorial venture. He was assisted by Abhilash S. Kumar. Technicians such as music director Bijibal, costume designer Sameera Saneesh, and V. Saajan had already collaborated with Aashiq in his first film, Daddy Cool. Cinematographer Shyju Kahlid had previously worked with Sameer Thahir in Daddy Cool.[14] The film was produced by Mumbai-based Sadanandan Rangorath under the banner Name Lucsam Creations. Salt N' Pepper is their first project in the Malayalam film industry.[15] Casting was finalised by December 2010. The original cast included Lal, Asif Ali and Mythili. Nedumudi Venu was also reported to be cast during the original announcement.[16]

Filming began eight months after the script was submitted,[13] and was launched on 5 Jan 2011 with a blessing held at BTH Sarovaram, Kochi. The ceremony als included film producer Naushad making a dosa on stage.[17][18] Principal production for the film started on 3 January 2011 and was shot entirely in Thiruvananthapuram.[19]


Critical receptionEdit

The film received generally positive reviews, although some critics felt that certain scenes were far from convincing. In the Deccan Chronicle, Keerthy Ramachandran gave the film a three-star rating writing "This is a movie which weaves together taste, flavor and love to make an exquisite recipe for good cinema. A must watch for all gourmets, Salt N' Pepper is sweet humour interspersed in a light plot." She also described the film as "one of the most enjoyable films of recent times." and praised the cast performances stating, "Shwetha Menon has acted brilliantly in the movie, proving that she has more to her than meets the eye. Lal has done complete justice to the role and appears likeable throughout the movie. But, the major share of credit should go to Baburaj – the stereotypical villain in Malayalam cinema. The role of Kalidasan’s cook is a milestone in his career. Asif Ali and Mythili appear perfect in their roles. Actor Vijaya Raghavan in a cameo has made a commendable appearance."[20]

Navamy Sudhish of The New Indian Express said, "A delightful addition to GenY fun flicks, ‘Salt N' Pepper’ is an out-and-out entertainer. It gives two hoots to time-tested tricks and indulges you with a stimulating storyline and unfeigned artistry." He labelled the script "smart", Shyju Khalid's appearances "rich" and "peachy", and Bijibal's background score "superb". Sudhish also praised Abu saying "[his] narrative technique is unpretentious and devoid of any jaded gimmickry."[21] Paresh C. Palicha of said, "Director Aashiq Abu has put together the right ingredients in his new film Salt N' Pepper and come up with quite an interesting dish" and that the film will meet the tastes of all who watch it.[22] Veeyen of said, "Aashiq Abu and his team adhere to the golden rules of good cooking, and see to it that the griddle is all hot, before they gently spread out a light hearted Dosa story on it." The critic also praised the cast performances and Shyju Kahlid's cinematography.[23] A reviewer from said, "Salt N' Pepper may have its own share of shortcomings, but the sincerity with which it has been made is there to be seen in the film. It’s a young film which oozes lots of freshness and it is enjoyable for people of all ages, especially if you love your food.".[24]

Box officeEdit

The film became a sleeper hit in the box office, completing a running of 100 days at many centres in Kerala.[25] The 100th day celebration of the film was held in Dubai on 27 October with a concert by Avial. Bijibal also performed at the event.[26][27]

The film collected 5.1 crore from 50 days of its release in Kerala box office.[28]


The soundtrack to the film features three songs composed by Bijibal, two romantic melodies and a folk song, and a song written by Malayalee rock band Avial, "Aanakkallan".[29] It is the band's first release since their self-titled debut album released in 2008. Avial singer Tony John says that "this song is more or less like a teaser for our second album". A music video was filmed which shows in the film at the end. John said: "We had loads of fun shooting the video, which is very kind of like what you would see in a music video rather than a filmy number".[30] The video, directed by Aashiq Abu, is the second one for Avial after their first hit "Nada Nada". It is also the first Avial track with John as the lead singer and Benjamin Isaac as the bass player.[31]

Salt N' Pepper [32]
Soundtrack album by
Released5 May 2011
GenreFilm soundtrack
LabelManorama Music
Bijibal chronology
Arjunan Saakshi
'''Salt N' Pepper [32]
Salt N' Pepper
1."Kaanamullal"Santhosh VarmaBijibalShreya Ghoshal, Ranjith3:43
2."Chembavu"Rafeeq AhamedBijibalPushpavathy3:39
3."Premikkumbol"Rafeeq AhammedBijibalP. Jayachandran, Neha Nair3:14
5."Kaanamullal(Female)"Santhosh VarmaBijibalShreya Ghoshal3:44


Kerala State Film Awards
Asiavision Awards
Asianet Film Awards 2011
Vanita Film Awards 2011
Mathrubhumi Film Awards 2011
  • Best Path Breaking Movie of the Year
Amrita Film Awards
  • Best Film


  1. ^ "2011 was troublesome for Malayalam films". CNN-News18. 4 January 2012.
  2. ^ a b Shibu B. S. (16 July 2011). "Made in Mollywood, Salt n' Pepper dosa a hot hit". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  3. ^ Dinas. (15 July 2011)."Salt N'Pepper opens good.". Indiaglitz. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  4. ^ "സാള്‍ട്ട് ആന്‍ഡ് പെപ്പറുമായി പ്രകാശ് രാജ് മൂന്നുഭാഷകളിലേക്ക്‌" Archived 9 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine (in Malayalam) Mathrubhumi. 8 January 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
  5. ^ "Baburaj comes up with 'Black Coffee', sequel to 'Salt and Pepper'". Mathrubhumi. 25 June 2019. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  6. ^ "'Black Coffee' trailer: The film seems like a revamp of Aashiq Abu's 'Salt N' Pepper' - Times of India". The Times of India. 17 December 2020. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  7. ^ "Salt n’ Pepper-Lal". Official website. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  8. ^ "Asif Ali about Salt n’ Pepper Movie". Official website. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  9. ^ Vijay George. (30 June 2011). "Bright expectations". The Hindu. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
  10. ^ "Interview with Mythili". Official website. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  11. ^ "Baburaj about his role in Salt n’ Pepper". Official website. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  12. ^ a b c d Nita Sathyendran. (7 July 2011). "Feast on romance". The Hindu. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  13. ^ a b Nita Sathyendran. (13 July 2011). "Recipe for success". The Hindu. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  14. ^ Director Aashiq Abu about his upcoming malayalam movie Salt n Pepper. YouTube. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
  15. ^ Lucsam Creations on New malayalm Movie Salt n' Pepper. YouTube. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  16. ^ Shekhar H Hooli. 30 December 2010. "Lal to essay hero role in Salt 'N' Pepper". Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  17. ^ "Salt n’ Pepper Pooja Ceremony". Official website. 10 January 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  18. ^ Pooja Function – Salt N' Pepper. YouTube. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  19. ^ "Salt N Pepper is being shot at Thiruvananthapuram". 24 January 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  20. ^ Keerthy Ramachandran (July 2011). "Salt n' Pepper: A treat to the gourmets". Deccan Chronicle. Archived from the original on 11 October 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  21. ^ Navamy Sudhish (10 July 2011). "Salt N Pepper". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  22. ^ Paresh C. Palicha (11 July 2011). "Review: Good sprinkling of Salt N' Pepper". Retrieved 18 July 2011.(     )
  23. ^ Veeyen (9 July 2011). "Salt n' Pepper Review". Retrieved 18 July 2011.(     )
  24. ^ "Salt n' Pepper review: Taste this". July 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  25. ^ "Salt N' Pepper Completes 100 Days". 3 November 2011. Archived from the original on 4 November 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
  26. ^ "Malayalam film's success to be celebrated in Dubai". NDTV. Press Trust of India. 25 October 2011. Archived from the original on 11 July 2012. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  27. ^ "Malayalam film 'Salt N' Pepper' completes 100 days". CNN IBN. Press Trust of India. 25 October 2011. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  28. ^ "Salt & Pepper is a blockbuster". Sify. 1 September 2011.
  29. ^ Bijibal. YouTube. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  30. ^ Nita Sathyendran. (9 June 2011). "Rock on, Avial". The Hindu. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  31. ^ Ria Shah. (15 June 2011). "Shoot it!". The Hindu. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  32. ^

External linksEdit