The Great Indian Kitchen on Neestream, with Nimisha Sajayan and Suraj Venjaramoodu: A powerful tale of emancipation

Posted on January 15, 2021

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great indian kitchen

https://www.filmcompanion.in/reviews/malayalam-review/the-great-indian-kitchen-malayalam-movie-neestream-a-powerful-tale-of-emancipation-nimisha-sajayan-suraj-venjaramoodu-baradwaj-rangan/

The title can also be extrapolated to mean… The Great Indian Traditional Patriarchal Household. This is the kind of setup where the men retire after a certain age, but the women never do.

Spoilers ahead…

In The Great Indian Kitchen, written and directed by Jeo Baby, Nimisha Sajayan plays… I don’t remember her name. And that, perhaps, is the point. She is Everywoman. One day, she’s in a dance class, clearly enjoying herself. The next instant, she’s having an awkward meeting with Suraj Venjaramoodu, who plays… again, I don’t remember the name. And that, perhaps, is the point, too. He is Everyman. And bam! They’re married with the abruptness of a jump cut (it actually feels like one), and soon, she’s seen entering his ancestral home, his tharavad. Her life changes as suddenly as her wedding happened. But like any Everywoman in a patriarchal society, she’s been brainwashed with “help your mother-in-law in the kitchen”-type advice, and that’s what she does. Uncomplainingly. Smilingly. At least for a while..

But flash back to that early scene of this woman at her dance class, and you’ll remember the stretch being intercut with shots of food being prepared. That remains a stylistic motif throughout. Our Everywoman is from a “Gulf family”, and she was probably not inducted all that much into “great Indian kitchen duties” — but now, in her new home, that is all she does. It’s not just that tea has to be made. It’s also that it has to be served to her Everyman. It’s also that that mug has to be washed and put away. And then, the floors have to be swept and mopped. And the clothes have to be washed. And…

Read the rest of this article at the link above.

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