A young man takes his date to an Indian restaurant. To his horror, she goes off-menu in Hindi.

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A young man takes his date to an Indian restaurant. To his horror, she goes off-menu in Hindi.

Filmmaker Sarmad Masud tells the story of Pavan, a geeky teacher who takes his “English Rose” on a night out at an Indian restaurant.

As Pavan sits in the staff room with his coworkers, Ben and Kevin, Chloe walks in and gives him a smile, prompting them to ask about last night’s date.

Pavan tells Chloe about the most authentic Indian restaurant in the city — the one nobody knows about — and they agree to meet at a nearby street corner. She shows up and they awkwardly exchange kisses on the cheek. When she asks where they’re going, he tells her it’s a surprise. His plan is to woo her by taking her on a cultural odyssey.

They arrive at his “dosa spot.” Pavan tells her the food is as good as “any Indian mother’s mother has ever cooked” and suggests she try one of their famous dosas — good for first-timers.

The waiter hands them the menu and Pavan gives it back. Chloe doesn’t look either, then goes off-menu to order the special. He’s surprised and just orders a dosa.

Chloe tells him she’s been to the restaurant a few times because she used to date a guy named Vinay. She says the off-menu curry has been passed down from chef to chef through the centuries. Nobody knows the recipe, but it tastes like it has every spice is in it.

Then, Chloe asks if he really likes dosas, since they’re a bit bland. Pavan awkwardly replies they’re delicious. It’s obvious she knows more about Indian culture than he expected. He gets nervous since he has nothing to impress her with now — dark and mysterious is all he had.

Chloe opens her drink with her teeth. Pavan struggles to open his by hand. When Chloe offers to help, Pavan says he’s fine. Then, the waiter drops him a bottle opener.

Pavan asks Chloe about Vinay. She tells him they spent nearly five months backpacking through India together. She’s more interested in the authentic Indian experience instead of the British-Asian one.

Chloe then asks if Pavan has even been to India. He says he gets travel-sick and has to watch what he eats in the motherland. Chloe reveals she wanted to move in with Vinay after they got back, but he went to Edinburgh with his comedy troupe instead. He’s an artist — and can’t be pinned down.

Pavan thinks Vinay sounds amazing. He wants to be cool. He wants to be in a comedy troupe. He wants to be Vinay — and imagines he’s like a Bollywood star with good facial hair and an aura around him. Basically, “Brown Gosling.”

Pavan notices Chloe smiling to herself — either recalling a beautiful memory or Vinay was such an important part of her life that talking about it would ruin the atmosphere. Ben and Kevin pop up to tell Pavan to forget Vinay and get back in the game and play to his strengths — “brown it up a bit.”

Then, the waiter drops a fork and knife on the table. Chloe speaks in perfect Hindi, telling him they don’t need to cutlery. But as he starts to take it away, Pavan says to leave his — he needs it.

Pavan watches Chloe eats like an expert, tearing into her special dish with her fingers. As he wonders how she’ll clean her fingers and get rid of the smell, he picks at his food with a knife and fork.

Suddenly, a Bollywood music begins to play loudly on the television. Pavan and Chloe start singing and break out in a song and dance. Pavan is back on track. As far as Chloe is concerned, he’s just as Indian as Vinay. So he goes for the kiss.

Then, Chloe suggests they go to “Secret India.”

Pavan has no idea where she’s taking him. They go to a mysterious street and she knocks on a door, opening another one. They walk down a dark flight of stairs and into a room full of Indian men — full of music and tea.

She talks to the owner in Hindi and asks Pavan if he’d like to chew on an after-meal snack. He doesn’t know what she’s talking about, but fakes like he does. They go back outside and begin to chew it. Chloe loves it, but Pavan gets nauseous and nearly vomits.

He needs to sit down and Chloe suggests they call it a night. Pavan tells Ben and Kevin that he realized he was being something other than himself — and concludes that Chloe just isn’t his cup of dosa.

Pavan just needs a nerdy girl who loves dosas.

He’s surprised at 2:44… and shocked at 9:14…






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