Two strangers (Nimisha Sajayan and Suraj Venjaramoodu) meet at an arranged ‘pennu kaanal’ which leads them to get married soon after. The woman, a dancer by passion, happily takes up the role of a housewife and starts serving her husband and father-in-law. Her husband, a sociology teacher who takes classes on family however is stuck in the concept of patriarchy and often ignores the wife’s plight as a homemaker. Rather, you don’t see them share a warm moment together – all that he expects from a wife is someone to take care of the house (an unpaid maid) and a woman to have sex with. This constant stuck-in-the-kitchen frustrates the life out of his wife and how she deals with this frustration is the crux of the film.
Patriarchy on full display
The Great Indian Kitchen from the beginning till the end acknowledges what patriarchy has been doing to women, subtly and otherwise. From treating her like an entity and just a servant to ignoring her needs and feelings, it covers almost everything. The men in the house have it their way, no matter how ridiculous it may seem to the woman. When the wife openly talks about how painful sex is to her, the husband instead of figuring out a solution, rather shames her, because the male ego is too fragile. There are various instances where the male ego in fact gets hurt when the woman is supposed to have no self-respect. From cooking three meals a day, washing the dishes, unclogging the kitchen sink to keeping the house neat and clean, she does it all, but does anyone see her worth? Well, that’s what women are made for, right?
A spectacular Nimisha Sajayan anchors the film
Nimisha Sajayan in fact is one underrated actor, who has grown over the years as a performer, delivering some spectacular performances right from her very first film ‘Thondi Muthalum Driksakshiyum’. She is truly someone who deserves the limelight and greater heights too as an actor. In The Great Indian Kitchen too, she delivers a powerful performance, with little dialogues, but realistic acting. While Nimisha anchors the film, Suraj Venjaramoodu complements her character, as the typical Indian husband.
A realistic approach makes it for a perfect watch
One thing about The Great Indian Kitchen is that it lacks entertainment value. The film perhaps is an honest, realistic portrayal of life around us. Director Jeo Baby has tried to keep it subtle and has done a good job with it; There is hardly any drama, punch dialogues, or dramatic background score, this may disappoint some people at least, but we truly believe that’s because what is shown on the screen is unrelatable to them. Why unrelatable? Because patriarchy has blinded their eyes
WATCH OR NOT
This film is truly a must-watch for the topic it deals with. For women, it would be quite relatable as it’s something they would have experienced or seen at least once in their life, and for men too, it’s relatable; rather an eye-opener. Hope the film gives you a better idea about how women should be treated.
Director: Jeo Baby
Writer: Jeo Baby
Cast: Nimisha Sajayan, Suraj Venjaramoodu
Music: Sooraj S Kurup
Cinematography: Salu K Thomas
Streaming on: NeeStream