Cast: Aishwarya Rajesh, Rahul Ravichandran, Kalairani, Poster Nandhakumar, Yogi Babu
Men clutching the newspaper or scrolling through their phones, and women in the kitchen preparing tea and snacks for them—it’s a scene in every home. In fact, this is the representative image of a happy household in films, advertisements, and textbooks. The Great Indian Kitchen, a Malayalam film directed by Jeo Baby, showed the same thing, but here the perspective is reversed. It showcased the harsh reality of women—one that doesn’t involve violence, harassment, or any other domestic crimes. Here, the men suppress the women with wide smiles. This story should definitely be told, especially in Tamil households, and a remake of The Great Indian Kitchen seems like a sensible choice. Thanks to the director, R. Kannan.
A splendorous start! We have the bride (Aishwarya Rajesh) and the groom (Rahul Ravichandran) blushing; an ideal arranged marriage happens, and the daughter-in-law enters the house. The routine starts: she peels, chops, cooks, serves, does the dishes, wipes and mops the floor. Every ten minutes in the film, we get to see Aishwarya doing household chores. Aishwarya’s mother asks her to adjust; her husband thrusts his sexist views on her; and her father-in-law barely even notices her doing all that work. The frustration eventually shows on her face, and, as an audience, we feel it too. She struggles to keep up with their family’s traditions and routine household chores. Will she continue to stay there or take a drastic decision that puts her family members in shock? This is the plot of the story. Though it seems very simple, the helplessness the central character feels is strongly conveyed.
Aishwarya delivers a powerful performance. Starting from helplessness, disgust, shame, crying, and finally bursting into tears, she has done a great job by taking on the entire responsibility of the film. Rahul Ravichandran, a self-centered and chauvinistic man, is ironically also a sociology teacher. Obviously, he is preaching this “Kudumba Thalaivar” tag to his students. Yogi Babu’s unannounced cameo adds value to the story. The entire film is shot inside a house, specifically in the kitchen and dining room. Cinematographer Balasubramaniem has done a great job in the confined space.
The Great Indian Kitchen Tamil is a frame-to-frame remake of the original with minor changes in the climax; even the dialogues were the same, yet the Tamil film didn’t convey the emotions as they were in Malayalam because actions were dealt cinematically. There were a few additions to the film: Aishwarya asks her mother-in-law, “What do you like?” and a female student asks Rahul, her teacher, “Why can’t a woman lead the house?” Though these questions were logical, they feel a bit over the top when compared to the Malayalam film. For those who have seen the original film, the remake might feel underwhelming. Nevertheless, The Great Indian Kitchen Tamil reflects the patriarchal society we live in.
Verdict: Watch The Great Indian Kitchen in order to know the reality of women in households!