Amazon & Netflix Rejected My Movie,” Says Jeo Baby The Director Of The Great Indian Kitchen

The Great  Indian Kitchen  is not a  only a film, it  is a revolution.Its searing exploration  of  kitchen politics and the art of cooking as a form of captivity for housewives, has  caught the imagination  of  the  entire nation. The Great Indian Kitchen has made the kind of life changing impact that cinema early achieves in today’s day and age.Tell me about the genesis of your project?

Actually I spent a lot of  time in the kitchen. After my marriage  a lot of the struggles in my life  happened  in the  kitchen. While I  was  cooking  I’d think about all the women trapped  in the kitchen. Actually it  is a  jail for women.  Even if she holds a job, even if she  brings in the earnings, she still  has  to toil  in  the kitchen. I  saw  a lot of gender discrimination in the kitchen. That’s how  I made The  Great  Indian Kitchen.

There  is  a lot  of  discussion  around  the  film now?

Yes  I am  glad to see it has opened  up a nationwide debate. I feel the laws regulating a woman’s  domestic   life, the  guidelines  for  the housewives, need  to  be  revised. Of course  there are  many laws  to protect women,  but not enough.

Were you aware  of  the  impact  the film would have specially on  women?

 Actually, I never  expected  this kind  of a response.It is the female  audience that made this happen. The  Great  Indian Kitchen has  struck a chord in  every Indian woman’s heart. It’s the women who have created  a momentum and  a movement, almost like a marketing strategy  for  the  film. I am overwhelmed! Yeah, every Indian woman thinks  The  Great Indian Kitchen is her story.I  couldn’t have  hoped for  more.

The idea of kitchen tyranny has existed for generations .How closely have you observed it?

Like I told you earlier , I spent  a lot of time in the kitchen  to realize how it enslaves the women  in our country.After my own experience I began to  closely observe each and every kitchen. I  had lengthy discussions on  the  subject with my wife, sister and women friends. The detailing  that you see in the  film comes  from them.

The actors seem exceptionally unaware of the camera .How did you select them specially the leading lady  Nimisha Sajayan? How closely did you direct her?

Our  first and only choice  for  the  protagonist was Nimisha. I gave her a detailed description  of  the  plot and  her  character . After that  I never had  to direct Nimisha.

When we talk about gender equality in our society we seldom bring the kitchen factor into the discussion.Now that you have raised the issue do you feel a sense of responsibility towards women who are questioning their own status in domestic politics?

The  volume of domestic violence  in  India is  very very high .The gender discrimination begins at home. Patriarchy decides  the  destiny of  a majority of women in this country. That shouldn’t be. I think attitudes towards women  have to change  at home first. For this, the  government needs to get actively involved. For instance this whole debate on housewives getting paid should be  taken ahead. Also studying gender  discrimination should be part of every school and college  curriculum. Children should be made aware  of  how their mothers and sisters are  treated is wrong.We have to make  gender corrections at  home.

Any regrets about having to release the film digitally? Is it true you had a tough time selling the film to the salient OTT platforms because of the Sabarimala issue?

Yes. I  don’t know what was  the reason for their rejection. Amazon and Netflix said they  can’t stream my movie. Then  when I emailed to them to ask why they’ve rejected  my movie they had no reply to give. I  don’t  know whether it was the Sabarimala issue that made them  reject my film. They didn’t tell me. I still don’t know why they rejected my film.

Their loss entirely, what next?

I haven’t decided what I will direct next. We are  thinking about it. I am also waiting to know what I’ll make after The Great Indian Kitchen.

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