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It Should Have Been Called Entitled Indian Men; Not The Great Indian Kitchen!

So many women in our pasts... so fucking many, have suffered due to systematic oppression. It’s mind boggling that we have been speaking up only for the past 100 years or so.

So many women in our pasts… so fucking many, have suffered due to systematic oppression. It’s mind boggling that we have been speaking up only for the past 100 years or so.

The Great Indian Kitchen is the most depressing thing I have ever watched. The arrogance of the Indian Male and the Enablers of Patriarchy made me rage, and I wanted to murder every single character in the movie (with the exception of protagonist and her house help, plus that child).

What a fantastically depressing movie. I was so torn between crying and raging, and amazed at the nuances shown and the clarity with which it was shown. At times, the movie felt almost boring at the repetitiveness, but isn’t that what a woman’s life is? As the maker of this film, Jeo Baby says in this Quint interview, “We purposefully made it like that because we wanted to get across how repetitive and endless the woman’s job is. That’s why we used lengthy shots and that’s the actual reality in the kitchen, a woman mostly is alone in the kitchen.”

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVED the movie; a fantastic one that everyone should watch.

That movie is my mom. My aunts. My neighbors and friend’s mother’s and my teachers and professors and every woman I have known. Either they were frustrated and alive, OR they were unaware and alive, but the narration holds true for every single woman. The outliers have been systematically shamed, and thus this narration holds true for them also.

The entitled Indian Man

Look at the sheer audacity of our collective Indian men. They bring a girl into the house very generation, so that every generation can live in leisure.

The expectations are set even before the girl comes in. The enablers are women themselves, whether it be the mother-in-law who let it happen, the mother who told her to find the benefit in the new routine, the aunt who came to do the work when she couldn’t… men have trained and conditioned the women around them to step in and provide what they need, if the woman fails. The shaming and guilt tripping is not subtle, but still, unnoticeable.

Is the MIL gone? Daughter in law will do it. Is she gone? Then the house helper will do it. Can she not visit? Then the women relatives will do it. I cannot even. How did this movie not get buried? How is it that every woman I know is talking about it? I notice that there is no commentary, as usual, from men. And even some of the women I know focus on the difficulties of cooking shown in the movie, rather than seeing the movie for what it is- a stark naked, unadorned look at patriarchy.

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Stark portrayal of women’s collective trauma

I cannot find pretty words to write this. I cannot be poetical or form deliberate sentences or check my grammar or anything… I am overwhelmed with emotions that we, as a collective species, have done this to ourselves. So many women in our pasts… so fucking many, have suffered due to systematic oppression. It’s mind boggling that we have been speaking up only for the past 100 years or so.

And yet… and yet the movie leaves out so much. It leaves out the curd my mom sets before sleeping. It leaves out the grocery my aunt buys. It leaves out the rush with which my teacher used to take the last bus to go home. While it shows the dripping sink, it leaves out the utensil drawer which doesn’t close, that loose tile on which my toe gets caught, that power outlet that doesn’t work, that fridge door that needs to be closed just so or it won’t stay put, it leaves out the unsharpened knife, that one burner whose lighter doesn’t work…

And why? Because this movie is the tip, and we can never fathom the whole massive iceberg under the surface. Just like that dripping sink, the man will never see it. And it has been ever the woman’s lot to suffer.

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