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Why The Malayalam Film The Great Indian Kitchen Is Winning Hearts

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The Great Indian Kitchen is a new addition to the cinematic gems released on OTT platforms. The critically-acclaimed Malayalam film directed by Jeo Baby has been streaming on a lesser-known OTT platform, NeeStream. Baby has delved into the deep-rooted patriarchal norms of a household and the suffocating space we call ‘the kitchen’.

With the story of a newly-wed, the viewers are shown the flip side of the life of a married woman. Although it seems like a daily job to cook and provide for the family, a woman, predetermined in-charge of it has no escape. The director brilliantly conveys the monotony and insidious nature of the job. In addition to it, the film also touches upon the discrimination that prevails in the house when a woman is menstruating. The film also touches upon the Sabarimala Temple issue in dealing with the stigma associated with menstruation. 

If the film still doesn’t seem fascinating to you, here are a few interesting insights from the project.

The nameless couple

The lead characters in the film, the newly-wed played by Nimisha Sajayan and Suraj Venjaramoodu, are nameless. The director deliberately kept it that way to highlight the sameness of the experience

Rejected by Netflix 

Initially, the film was offered to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video for screening. Jeo Baby revealed that Prime Video rejected his film saying that it didn’t fit their criteria. However, The Great Indian Kitchen has been garnering praises from all the quarters after its releases on NeeStream. And word-of-mouth turned to the driving force for the project. 

The real-life inspiration

The core idea for the films comes from Jeo Baby’s own experience in the kitchen. After marriage, he spent a lot of time in the kitchen and felt that the “kitchen is hell”. He empathises with the women who have no escape from it. To dig into the varying kinds of discrimination a woman faces in the house, he heard the stories of women around him. Eventually, these stories formed the nuances in The Great Indian Kitchen. 

No words

The maker of the film relied on silences to convey the loneliness a woman feels inside the kitchen. The sound of household and kitchen chores is heard repetitively which brings monotony to the story. The frustration building up for the women was a crucial part to be felt by the viewers. To emphasise how endless a woman’s job is in the kitchen the director purposely shot lengthy scenes. 

The setback

The film also highlights the politics around barring women from entering the Sabarimala temple. The creator of the film believes that it was a landmark decision by the Apex Court. Although the director didn’t face any direct issues, the film was tagged anti-Hindu for allegedly degenerating  Sabarimala.