Mrs is the latest interpretation of The Great Indian Kitchen. Earlier, director R. Kannan tried to recreate the impact of the Malayalam film with his Tamil remake, even retaining the same title.
Mrs is the official Hindi remake of the acclaimed Malayalam film The Great Indian Kitchen. The teaser for the upcoming movie, starring Sanya Malhotra, was released on Wednesday ahead of its premiere at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival on November 17.
Mrs is the latest interpretation of The Great Indian Kitchen. Earlier, director R. Kannan tried to recreate the impact of the Malayalam film with his Tamil remake, even retaining the same title. However, he couldn't achieve what director Jeo Baby managed in the original rendition.
The less-than-minute teaser of Mrs also doesn't inspire much confidence in me about director Arati Kadav's ability to match the brilliance of the original film. You might wonder if it's premature to pass judgment without having seen what Arati Kadav has done with the source material. Generally, it's unfair to critique a movie based solely on a 50-second teaser, isn't it? Well, in this case, it's an exception.
Maybe Arati Kadav's interpretation and reimagination of The Great Indian Kitchen might be better than Kannan's attempt but, it can never come close to Jeo Baby's vision. Why, you ask? Because this film loses its novelty the moment anyone tries to fit it with elements to make it appealing to a broader audience.
Judging from the teaser, Mrs seems to have given The Great Indian Kitchen a Bollywood makeover, complete with colourful dance numbers and explicit dialogues that address the evils of patriarchal oppression.
The directors who aspire to remake The Great Indian Kitchen don't seem to understand what made the original film an instant modern-day classic in Indian cinema. It's not its scathing critique of the varied forms of patriarchy and how this age-old practice has managed to convince women that they are subservient to men. If that were the case, the original Malayalam film would never have gained nationwide recognition.
The Great Indian Kitchen was released during the height of the pandemic lockdown in the country. Major streaming platforms were not even ready to touch the film with a ten-foot pole as they were worried that it would offend the sensibilities of many in the country.
The Great Indian Kitchen initially found its home on a relatively new streaming platform, Neestream, at the time. But, director Jeo Baby's narrative technique was so powerful that it launched the film from obscurity to a national sensation. For a while, it felt like The Great Indian Kitchen was the sole topic of discussion in South Indian households.
The organic success of The Great Indian Kitchen was so massive that the leading streaming platform couldn't help but vie for a peice of it as its popularity grew.
The Great Indian Kitchen is not just about a young woman standing up to her oppressors. But, this film is about putting a magnifying glass on all elements deeply ingrained in our culture and way of life, highlighting the methods perfected over generations to limit women within the confines of a kitchen.
And the effect of The Great Indian Kitchen cannot be captured merely through words; it necessitates powerful visual storytelling, without taking the comfort of viewers into account.
A successful remake of The Great Indian Kitchen is impossible until a filmmaker understands this basic fact. The remakes may have greater production value, bigger stars, and stunning visual aesthetics, but they cannot evoke the same intensity as the original film, which was created on a modest budget with no star power.