The Great Indian Kitchen - A searing homage to nameless mothers and homemakers
Not sure about the intention behind the word "Great" in the Title, to me its fits as a symbol of sarcasm. Let first talk about the film's settings. An orthodox family, the age old big tharavad and its customs, a typical mother (the power of endurance and sacrifice), a father who is a symbol of a lighter patriarchal figure and the husband who at times feels and thinks modern but he is underpinned by the same age old thought process. And now enters Nimisha (the X gen), the newly married women into this family. The expectation and advice as usual from all the surrounding people including her own mother is to get adjusted to the new environment. How she manages the situation forms the crux of this movie.
What is being then presented on how the societies can stifle the independence is showcased in a very different way from what we have seen, and at times its very depressing take. Rich in symbolism, the director uses certain images to manifest the different and contrasting natures of the society. The mentality is simple If you want to change please be my guest, but i am not going to alter my lifestyle and time has ceased to move ahead inside the compound of this ancestral house. Nimisha gets stuck in a mundane life and she portrayed the un-glamorous house chores with a brilliant performance. She showcased the female fear , silence and frustration with authenticity. The notion of physical abuse or pure masculinity nature is not there and its not a villainous portrayal either , but its a different approach of suffocation that one goes through.
The visuals are mostly static and shots are ariel to give a muted and documentary feel. The scenes are both explicit and understated to showcase the everyday fight in the kitchen. Some might find it to be trivial, pretending every woman is more or less supposed to do as its a tight family integration factor and other might feel the pain, a deep sympathy and feel the need to react. Two brilliant shots of the movie are; the background music when they show cases the family tree pictures on the wall where the faces changes but the end result stayed the same. The second one being the I dont F.. care attitude involving the tea cup scene towards the end from Suraj. The last half hour to me wasn't that great and subplots were unnecessary including the aggressive reaction from Nimisha was unwarranted. The ending is as expected and thats a progressive start.
You can watch this film on the new Malayalam OTT platform Neestream by paying Rs 149.
Verdict - 3.5/5(A domestic abyss)