Feb 4, 2021

My thoughts on "The Great Indian Kitchen"


Many people had messaged me, asking me to watch this new Malayalam movie "The Great Indian Kitchen" streaming on Neestream.

Since I'm a big proponent of home cooking and its importance in today's times, I was eager to watch this movie after seeing the trailer. 

I'm sure every woman in India who watched this movie would have been able to relate to atleast a few scenes and nodding their heads - either their own personal experiences or the observations they have had with respect to the lives of their mothers/MILs/aunts. 

After watching a new movie, I usually watch a few reviews of the movie on Youtube. In one such review, the reviewer mentioned that there were no names given to any of the characters. I realized this fact ONLY after watching the review. 

Apart from the actual preparation of the food, all the other work that is involved is highlighted so beautifully in the movie - chopping veggies, cleaning dishes, clearing the dining table, clearing the kitchen countertop etc. 

The scenes that I could relate so much are
  • The one where the women of the house keep running from the kitchen to the dining table, serving fresh hot dosas to the men, while they end up eating a stack of cold dosas in the end. 
  • The guest who cooks a meal, makes a mess in the kitchen and casually remarks, "What more work is there? We have already finished cooking". Highly irritating character! 
  • The man who doesn't want to eat leftovers for dinner and asks the wife to prepare chapathis.
  • The FIL who wants to have both chutney and sambhar along with dosas
Giving toothbrush in their hands, contributing nothing to home except eating and spitting leftovers all over the table, passing comments on how each dish should be cooked - Heights of patriarchy! Also shows us a glimpse of how people can be abusive in a nice, friendly manner without any physical or verbal ways. 

When the wife gets her period, the following scenes show a temporary househelp who does all the work - exactly the same set of tasks that the wife was handling. Depicts the place the wife is being kept at.

I wish there is a part 2 of this movie where a child comes into the picture, as the dynamics shift quite a bit when this family of husband/wife become parents.

At the end of this movie, I'm sure all of us would have felt a tinge of frustration and helplessness. 

Here's what I do to continue the habit of home cooking and not feel overwhelmed
  1. Setting the right boundaries - what work are you ready to take up? What chores for which you need external help? What chores do you expect others in the family to take responsibility for?
  2. Clearly spelling out the expectations - What menu are you willing to prepare? What menu is not possible? What times you would be in the kitchen?
  3. Asking for HELP. There's no pride in taking all work on our shoulders and feeling overburdened.
  4. Saying NO directly without hesitation. Hard at first but comes with practice.

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