The Nice Indian Kitchen solid: Nimisha Sajayan, Suraj Venjaramood
The Nice Indian Kitchen director: Jeo Child
The Nice Indian Kitchen score: 3.5 stars
Final night time, I watched a movie which didn’t really feel like a movie in any respect. It felt like actual life. The folks within the body felt like folks I’ve identified, and felt for, although I had by no means set my eyes on the characters performed by Nimisha Sajayan and Suraj Vejaramood. The Nice Indian Kitchen has gone straight to the highest of my greatest movies, those that stick with you lengthy after you’ve seen them.
After we first come across her, she is dancing. Her face is a-lit. Rhythm actually will get her, makes her swing. Then comes an occasion which happens in so many younger ladies’s lives, the arrival of an acceptable younger man, and marriage. You possibly can, at this level, wipe the ‘pleased smiling lady’ slate and transpose upon it, ‘the start of the tip’.
She has no title. Neither does he. She is addressed as ‘molae’, generic Malayali time period of endearment for lady, and she or he calls him ‘etta’, a salutation you’ll hear in lots of Malayali households. They arrive collectively as any couple does in an organized marriage, hoping to search out commonalities, a mutual spark that can maintain them going. However very quickly, she discovers that the 2 males who dwell together with her within the sprawling ‘tharavad’, her husband and father-in-law, have very particular wants, and her solely job is to maintain fulfilling them. Quietly, with out making a fuss, or elevating her voice, day after day, meal after meal.
The ‘nice’ within the title needs to be essentially the most ironical use of the phrase: it subsumes ‘molae’, makes her small, imprisons her. Her day, from the time she awakes, until the time she sleeps, is stuffed with commandments. She has to end up meticulously cooked (the rice shall not be made within the strain cooker, solely on the hearth; the leftovers of lunch shall not be eaten at dinner) meals. She has to wash the messy desk, gather the dishes, wash the dishes, wipe the steps, throw out the stinking rubbish right into a stinkier dugout within the yard, wash the garments by hand (no, no, the machine will weaken the fibre), hold them out, fold them away when dry, make tea for entitled guests (oho, is that this what you name black tea?), and lie again for the compulsory bout of marital intercourse. After which begin another time, the cooking, cleansing, washing, until ‘etta’ calls for lights out.
No day trip. No time for herself, except it’s that point of the month, when she is banished to a skinny mat on the ground, untouchable until she purifies herself ‘on the seventh day’, ensuring she is not going to be seen by the partner, who has taken a holy vow of abstinence. A perpetually scolding, scathing older girl, a relative of the husband, helps to maintain ‘molae’ in her place, lest she forgets.
In 2021? Sure siree, this occurs even as we speak, prefer it did in our mom’s and grandmother’s technology. Patriarchy is alive and kicking, thanks very a lot. Those that are oblivious of those age-old ‘customs’ and ‘traditions’ are both fortunate or blind. The Nice Indian Kitchen spreads its wares generously. It’s not simply the kitchen which is designated as the girl’s area (a leaking pipe will proceed to leak as a result of the ever-busy ‘etta’ hasn’t discovered the time to name the plumber); it’s additionally the hallways which she has to mud, and the bed room the place she has to carry out, decorously, with out demanding something for her self. Foreplay? What’s that?
You watch ‘molae’ bending, ‘adjusting’, listening, obeying. You see her smile dwindle and die. She is only a creature, not an individual. She is a vessel, not somebody who can have an opinion, and definitely not somebody who is usually a occasion to the chatter round menstruating ladies and their exclusion from the Sabarimala shrine; she is requested to take away that offending video she has shared on Facebook. How dare she?
Lastly, ah lastly, she arrives on the level of no return with a unvoiced however clear retort of her personal. How dare he? You see her, strolling alongside the highway, the glimpse of the ocean within the distance. You realise it’s the first time, since her marriage, you’ve seen her out of that home, that kitchen.
The prologue turns into a bit too expository, too keen to inform us what we’ve got seen. However that’s only a tiny niggle. It is a movie which must be important watching. The characters are very particular, the places are in Kerala, however the conditions which receive via the movie are horrifyingly common. Lastly, you see the ‘molae’ because the important lady, the sunshine again on her face, and also you need to cheer. Out loud.