Calendar, khaana lao! Satish Kaushik & his Calendar’s Kitchens make it possible in Delhi
Satish Kaushik’s iconic Mr India character comes alive at Calendar’s Kitchen. The actor teamed up with Delhi-based entrepreneur Shray Jain to create family-friendly restaurants that train the spotlight on food.
When hunger lays siege but no food reinforcements are in sight, you and your army of hungry gluttons tend to lose sense of where you are – whether it's your house or that fancy Italian restaurant or a swanky five-star hotel – and, almost telepathically, start chanting, “Calendar, khaana lao!”
What if we were to tell you that there is a place where your sloganeering is not only socially acceptable, but also encouraged? The food will actually come from Calendar’s Kitchen – and, if you’re lucky – Calendar himself may be your host for the evening?
How Calendar met Shray…
Delhi-based entrepreneur Shray Jain, 29, paid a fitting tribute to the most beloved “bawarchi” of Indian cinema through a chain of restaurants in Delhi that enshrined his most memorable character. He recreated Calendar’s kitchen from the film, and – what’s more – even got Satish Kaushik on board!
Raised in Delhi, Shray holds an MBA degree from the Institute of Business Ethics, London. Their family business of publishing has been passed down for four generations, and continues to be run by Shray, his father and grandfather.
In 2016, he desired to make his own mark in the ecosystem and started his first venture, a restaurant in South Delhi. Investing his savings thus far, he started Mind Blowing Hospitality.
While plotting his next stride in the space, he was thinking of all the references to food that Bollywood had given India, and Calendar khaana lao instantly came to mind.
“His most iconic role of Calendar in Mr India cannot be forgotten,” Shray says.
At the time, Satish Kaushik, in Delhi for a book launch, was introduced to Shray by a few common friends. Shray happened to have his B-plan handy. Satish says it was "easy for [Shray] to convince [him].”
“He’s like a son to me now; we had common ideologies and it’s always better to join hands with like-minded people,” the actor says.
…and got his own kitchen!
Calendar's Kitchen by Satish Kaushik, Rajouri Garden opened in December 2016, and the second location in Janpath will follow in August 2017. Named after the iconic character with his catchphrase, Calendar Khaana Lao doubling up as the tagline, the real-life Calendar explains how the restaurant embodies all the classic qualities of the character, who loved to pamper children with food.
“Calendar loves to connect with people and serve delectable food cooked with love. We, at Calendar's Kitchen, serve food with love and even our staff is dressed up like Calendar – in black trousers and a yellow t-shirt complete with Calendar's cap,” Satish explains.
Shray, who also dipped into his savings to build this venture, says the restaurant is “an ode to a star and legend in Bollywood”. “We have planned the layout of the interiors so that it matches the theme of the restaurant. It's true that we eat with our eyes and that’s precisely why we believe that this restaurant’s interiors and ambience should be as good as the food we serve,” the entrepreneur adds.
The colourful walls of the restaurant are adorned with well-known dialogues of characters from other popular films in Satish Kaushik’s career, like Shrafat Ali, Pappu Pager, Mutthu Swamy and, of course, Calendar.
“I'm very connected with my career and this role has a special place in my heart. Calendar’s Kitchen is the perfect dedication to my journey in Bollywood, so I’m very attached to it. The journey has just started; people absolutely loved this place, especially the food. There are many repeat customers,” he says.
What to expect…
The duo insists that while the ambience is special and like a wonderful stroll down Bollywood’s memory lane, what with the vintage lighting to complete the simulation, the focus remains on food.
The menu is multi-cuisine, with a slight tilt towards North Indian fare, followed by some popular dishes from Italian, Continental, Mexican and Chinese cuisines. So everything right from Mushroom Duplex to succulent Mutton Rogan Josh to the Chef’s special Lahori Paneer Tikka is served under one roof.
Shray says it is generally difficult to get a liquor licence for new restaurants in Delhi these days, but they have applied for one and expect necessary clearances by next month. They also have a DJ on board, and arrange different musical nights through the week.
Bankrolled by the duo's savings, four months after cropping up in Rajouri Garden, Calendar's Kitchen also started a delivery outlet, Calendar’s Xpress by Satish Kaushik. They are now gearing up to launch yet another outlet in Janpath, Calendar's kitchen and Bar by Satish Kaushik, next month. So if you’re hangry and in Delhi, just holler for Calendar!