The Great Indian Kitchen: Review, Cast, A film that Questions Sexism
Served on a platter filled with reality is Jeo Baby’s ‘The Great Indian Kitchen’. Shot in the premises of four walls it beautifully depicts the life and struggles of women in and around a patriarchic house. Here is our review of the Malayalam movie ‘The Great Indian Kitchen’ so that you decide whether to watch it or skip it.
The great Indian kitchen Cast
T Suresh Babu
Ajitha V M
Anupama V P
The great Indian Kitchen Plot
The plot of the movie is seemingly quite easy to state, it’s more about the visual storytelling that is worth the experience. In the opening shots, we see Nimisha Sajayan and understand her character as a dancer and soon-to-be a bride. Suraj Venjaramoodu then is seen in the next scene turning up for a ladki dekhna (the groom coming to see a bride for an arranged marriage). Soon the marriage takes place and Nimisha enters the so-called prestigious household, and her routine as a woman of the house begins.
Nimisha sets foot into the customs and traditions of the household, which has designed specific gender-based roles for each one of them. Women were confined to the kitchen. What begins slowly as a new marital flow soon gets a daily rhythm to it. Nimisha faces the harsh reality in which these men don’t seem to care a bit about the other gender in their house. Their convenience falls above it all.
The casting of Great Indian Kitchen is stupendous. Apart from the lead two Suraj and Nimisha, only Sidhartha Siva too is an accomplished actor. All the rest of the cast are theatre actors from Kozhikode in Kerala. Each one of them breathes life into the movie and brings their own cuisine to the table.
Nimisha takes the centre stage in The Great Indian Kitchen, literally being present in each scene of the movie. Yet it’s not her but her character that does it, which in itself is a representation of women across the country. Suraj is prolific with his character. His stubbornness in failing to understand his partner, and yet seemingly finding repositions to his obstinate behavior, is another representation of the patriarch of our society.
The supporting cast is terrific, putting together a wonderful act and fulfilling the roles of their character. The characters on screen are never named, or addressed by it, they are merely left as men and women, for the audience to interpret that they are a depiction of the men and women around us.
By far what stands out in The Great Indian Kitchen is the cinematography. The whole movie is a masterpiece of visual storytelling. So many transitioning shots with utmost detailing have been done by Salu Thomas. And all of that plays such an important role in the overall outcome of the movie.
Those constants shots of vessels and cutting boards filled with ingredients and veggies. Repetitive snaps of these put the audience in a cycle where they are trapped, just like the woman is trapped in them. The word is not ‘disgust’, but it should make you feel that. Because that is exactly what The Great Indian Kitchen wants you to feel, that what the woman feels as well.
Silence is better than words. That is the gist of the background score of The Great Indian Kitchen. Jeo Baby explores and keeps certain sequences in still silence with long pan shots, letting the minds of the audience do the work. All in all the music consists of mustard crackling, the whistle of the cooker, the knife meets the cutting board, water splashing, spoons clinking, and clothes being beaten on a stone in the backyard. It just wonderfully covers the essence of the story.
A person is merely a product of society. Society has depicted this aspect of women to be confined within the walls of the house, and that her worth is decided by her cooking skills or merely just in giving pleasure. Simone de Beauvoir in her book ‘The Second Sex’ quotes beautifully ‘One is not born a woman rather becomes one’. Which has become one of the most proficient thought processes in the world of feminism.
In the movie, the men of the family leave a mess behind at the dining table, and the mother of the house sits over there in utter silence. When Nimisha talks to her mother on phone, ‘you have entered a household’, ‘get used to their ways’ are the phrases used by her own mother. While the men sit like Kings, the women are expected to run around like their subjects to provide for their needs.
At one point the Sabarimala issue of 2018 in Kerala is slowly eased into the movie by Jeo Baby. When in the News the journalist yells out that ‘how can a woman be impure if they menstruate?’ (regarding the Sabarimala issue), a woman sits in the other side of the house, restricted to a corner room with no bed because she is apparently impure for three days. At least she got a rest for those three days. The tripping point of Nimisha towards the end is a mere representation of anger and despair filled in the lives of these women around us.
The great Indian Kitchen Review
Must watch. Language shouldn’t be and isn’t a barrier for movies. The Great Indian Kitchen full movie is an artistic beauty sewed together with unsaid reality. It might be a pricking point for many, and let it hurt. In the end, you cannot say you didn’t like the movie, because this is you and me and our everyday lives. It is merely a depiction of reality. And if you don’t like that reality, then change it already.
Watch it on Amazon Prime
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