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A must watch from Regional film ‘The Great Indian Kitchen’, a strong comment on patriarchal double standards

‘The Great Indian Kitchen’ a film about every kitchen, every home, and its maker


 

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Marriage – Get up – bath – dice, boil, chop, grind, cook, clean, wash, sweep, serve – become a sex machine – sob- sleep and repeat. 

 

Well, this is what you see at every minute of the film. In fact, for the most part of the film, you will only see this. A cycle of these events, happening one after the other, for more than 7 to 8 times in the film. The protagonist, as played by Nimisha Sajayan is a homemaker, and we wonder how much appreciation does she deserves for this performance of hers. Shot in Malayalam, the film dwells in the kitchen of a south Indian family. The son of the family, as played by Suraj Venjaramoodu, has just married Nimisha and from here, starts their married life in a well-settled traditional South Indian family.

As the story develops, we see Nimisha being assigned with the responsibility of the whole house. Eventually, she is the first one up last to bed. Just like her husband is going on his job as a teacher, she is also on a job, that is of taking care of the house, but the only difference is that for her work, there is no pay, no offs, no shifts, and of course, 24 hours work. And the most important thing is that she will have to listen that what work has she got to do.

There are certain scenes of the film which are more than impactful. In a scene where the guests ask her to join them in their game of playing cards, and she responded that she has got work in the kitchen, she was mocked with the dialogue that means “Is there even any work in the kitchen” or “is kitchen even works?”.

 

Read more: I am married not branded: What Indian women think of dropping their last name after marriage?

 

In the other scene where she goes for dinner with her husband and joked about his table manners at home, she was made to face the anger of the husband, who even asked her to apologize, just because she said something which is true and was a joke only. She was asked not to look for jobs even when she wanted to be a dance teacher.

Well, the only time when we see her being free and with no work at all is when she gets her periods, not because she needs rest during her menstruation process but because she is impure. Impure to an extent that she can’t sleep on the bed, can’t get out of a small, dingy room, can’t cook, can’t touch anything, can’t see anyone, bathe in cold water before it’s even proper light, and whatnot. But all of it is still bearable but what will a person say if they are treated as impure for reasons they are not even responsible.

In a family where she is taking care of everything, from food to the maintenance of their house and every individual’s needs, she is the one who has been the most neglected by all. This cycle of work continues from day one and never ends, never gets a break, and never gets any recognition too. And once she decided to break off her anger, when all of it bubbled up till brim and she burst out by leaving the house, the husband marries another woman.

And well, this film might not make sense to many, and maybe it will for some who will have the eyes to see the Great Indian Kitchen which is open, 24 hours of every day and serves whatever you want at your desk whenever you want. And well, this kitchen is Nimisha’s Kitchen but the kitchen in your house, that your mother or wife must have been looking at. Big applause for the director Jeo Baby and for all the amazing people who choose this film.

 

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Ishika Aggarwal

Can write, shoot, listen, talk and procrastinate. A feminist at heart, Ishika is an avid writer and multimedia person who loves talking about women, realism, and society. When not working she is either seen watching films or making one.

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