Sharanya Misra


A hard hitting story that tempts you in with droolworthy images of delicious treats, catches you unawares, and throws you headlong into the abyss of what it actually means to be a woman running a household in India.


Director Jeo Baby’s ‘The Great Indian Kitchen’ hit the OTT platform Neestream on the 15th of Jan this year. Ever heard of this platform before? No? Neither had I. But I am glad I have now. For, where popular platforms like Amazon Prime and Netflix dropped the ball, Neestream was clearly smart enough (and maybe even socially responsible enough) to be the only platform that realised it had gold on its hands.

The Great Indian Kitchen is a Malayalam movie that tells a very basic story. The story of women in the kitchen. The real story of women running households in India. It peeks into the hidden recesses of the “perfect” families presented before outsiders and reveals the relentless nature of the work that the women do day in and day out for the homes to function. Behind the delicious Instagram worthy pictures of food that tables are laden with, lie stories of women sacrificing their time, efforts and dreams at the altar of the kitchen counter.

This is the story of the Indian thought that women only belong in the kitchen, and more so, within the confines of the home. The movie is compelling in its narration, or rather in its lack of it. There is hardly any dialogue. What drives the point home is the monotonously repeated depiction of the drivel…the unending list of chores that women do. It makes you flinch at the site of the leftovers that must be cleaned off everyone’s plates. Leaves you sour and disgusted at the way the poor bride must unwillingly put her hand into a sink filled with putrid water to clear the blockage of food and wastes. Each time the woman hates the way her hand smells, it makes you want to throw up. And then there are the tasks outside the kitchen. The sweeping, mopping, laundry. Menial tasks in every household, often simply dumped on the shoulders of the women, young or old, with no thought or consideration. What makes you truly angry is the sight of the men sitting idle, reading the paper, doing yoga, reluctant to even grab their own brush or chappals, content in the idea that each member was simply performing the roles that must ‘naturally’ be assigned to them. One day is followed by another and women continue to do their bit, unrecognised, unappreciated and treated no more than the maid of the household, who is atleast paid for her work! The protagonists in the movie have no names. This could be the story of any of us, all of us, in India.

The movie silently tells the story of the patriarchy that rules in people’s homes and minds each day. Several women centric issues are raised. The ‘impurity’ associated with a menstruating woman. The dismissal of the idea of a woman having sexual desires. The unwillingness for women to have the freedom to pursue their own dreams outside the house. And the huge role that women themselves play in propagating patriarchy in their homes. It is a hard hitting story that tempts you in with droolworthy images of delicious treats being cooked, catches you unawares, and then throws you headlong into the spiralling abyss of what it actually means to be a woman running a household in India!!

The Great Indian Kitchen is a fantastic movie, that, if you think about it, has nothing new to tell…And yet it’s a movie that should have been made a long time ago. And when finally made, should have been given one hell of a reception without the makers having to run from pillar to post to get it streamed. Every dialogue, every scene in the movie conveys a message. There is a sense of purpose, that urges you to look within and ask yourself, have you been doing the same in your own family? The movie minces no truths, and that’s exactly what our society needs. A good dose of reality shoved in our faces.

Watch this movie and make sure to introspect about what happens in each of your homes. Equality is not just a post to pin up on the walls of social media. It is a reality that we must live and breathe in our everyday lives, and Joe Baby shows us just that!

Featured Image Source – Internet.

8 Responses

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