The Great Indian Kitchen
Language / Genre
Malayalam – with subtitles / Drama
What’s it about?
A newlywed couple is just warming up to each other when, with the mother-in-law having to travel abroad for the delivery of her daughter, the responsibility of running the house is transferred to the new bride.
What seems like duty soon turns into a chore, with the father-in-law and husband refusing to lift a finger to help, even as they keep piling on expectations without acceptance.
The pampered, by his wife, father-in-law wants things to be done just so. The son pretends to not understand the distress his wife goes through to do them all. Everything the new bride does or doesn’t is judged and it is the weight of the endless and very subtle judgments that begin breaking her down.
What did I think of it?
If you are married, the 1st thing you realize is that the kitchen of the house is the seat of power. That is the only place where if control is given to you, all your other freedoms are taken away. If you are bound to the kitchen you are never free.
No matter where the woman of the house may excel in if she fails in the kitchen none of her achievements matter.
The Great Indian Kitchen highlights issues that can be found in every household.
Pampered men who don’t lift a finger and expect everything to be done for them.
Expectations passed down as family heirlooms: if my Mother did it all without complaining, so should my wife.
The Male Ego, so fragile that a joke can easily shatter it. So humungous that a suggestion about intimacy can make them punish their wife by cold-shouldering her.
How a man’s role in the house is dynamic while the roles set for a woman are predefined.
Writer and Director Jeo Baby is an astute observer and that comes through in his script and direction.
The weight of expectations, traditions, and what each family describes as ‘norms’ are just a yoke to keep women reigned in, and Baby chooses the most subtle manner to present hard-hitting truths, that are sure to make many uncomfortable.
Wow or Not Now?
Malayalam Cinema is one of my favorites as they have the courage to choose everyday subjects, present them to you in the simplest possible way and leave you thinking about it for a long time. If intelligent filmmaking is what you look for and you can read between the lines, The Great Indian Kitchen is the film for you.
Simply brilliant performances by Nimisha Sajayan and of course Sooraj Venjaramoodu, the lead pair. Jeo Baby deserves a round of applause for his sensitive direction.