The Great Indian Kitchen, Thought-Provoking and Stunning

I haven’t been an ardent explorer when it comes to hunting down movies that serve a language other than Hindi or English. Well, thanks to my idea of exploring something new. I started investigating regional cinemas, and I’m happy to announce that I have started with Malayalam movies.

The Great Indian Kitchen (released in 2021) stands as the first movie in my Malayalam movies to watch list.

I watched it on 25–06–2021 only with the help of subtitles, and it wasn’t a problem, as the movie has minimal dialogues, basic settings with regard to location and family, but a highly impressive message that it successfully passes on.

If you are someone who enjoys food, you will thoroughly enjoy an hour and forty minutes of your time while watching this one. But the movie isn’t limited in presenting the delicacies; the delicacies only work as a weapon (along with many others) to serve a story bounded with deep patriarchy.

It starts with a female gracefully dancing, accompanied by several cut to shots of the churning food. The groom-to-be is already waiting for the female at home. The arranged marriage takes place and the story forwards to take the audience on a ride of messy tables, daily chores, blatant relations, and a lot unsaid, but only portrayed.

There are no names to characters, only characteristics that raise a sense of rage, frustration, and everything in between.

There’s a newly-wed bride, her husband, and her in-laws. A family of four. When she arrives in her new home, she assists her mother-in-law in every possible way with a smile on her face and the spark of a new bride, but this does not last long and she is soon laden with responsibilities when her mother-in-law has to leave (for her daughter’s home, who is expecting).

The new bride manages to mop, clean, wipe, cook, and do everything with the best of her abilities. All this and more isn’t appreciated, instead complained and requested to change.

She isn’t even allowed to apply for jobs. All that is expected from her is to remain indoors, clean the utensils, the table cover covered with leftovers. In short, be a perfect homemaker and please everyone’s needs.

Her father-in-law is the kind of man who needs his toothbrush, toothpaste to be served to him, his slippers to be attested on his feet by someone when he goes out. He needs his clothes to be washed by hands, white chutney to be grated in sillauti and not a mixer, rice to be cooked on the gas fire, and not a cooker. He is a man with uncountable dramas.

You feel agitated, frustrated, angry and all you wish for is the end of this situation when you repeatedly watch all of this happening.

When I say that it’s a stunning movie, the word stunning clearly is for the idea that this film gracefully presents. The emotions, the stove flat lays, the repetitive scenes of: floor wiping, food cooking, the father-in-law so highly lost on his phone, the husband who only cares for his needs.

This is a film that definitely needs to be watched at every Indian home.

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