I was 21 when my mother came to know about my second relationship . As usual she didn’t receive it well and cried for 3-4 days. She didn’t stop until I promised to break up with the guy. I had to lie to her, you know. It hurts. Not to blame her, the culture of Kerala and India generally is the villain here.
Here in Kerala, a love relationship before marriage is mostly shameful. You are not allowed to love anyone before marriage. That doesn’t mean people don’t love, it means it is looked down upon. Majority of the parents become hysterical when they hear about their daughter’s relationship. They verbally abuse the daughter and sometimes beat her up too. Most of the parents do emotional blackmailing and threaten to committ suicide. (I am not kidding). Love before and outside wedlock is unacceptable. That’s why people use the word ‘affair’ more while talking about a love relationship. And FYI living together and casual dating is out of question. You date to marry, if you don’t marry the person you are dating you are a bad girl. Obviously this norm isn’t applicable to boys.
When it comes to marriages, parents choose their children’s partners most of the time. Parents dream about their child’s wedding. It includes finding their partners also. Love marriages are whole heartedly welcomed if 1. You are a man or 2. the groom you found is higher in social and financial status. Or if your parents are liberal minded. My mother couldn’t accept the fact that I found my own life partner. So she didn’t talk to me and when she did it was to cry and talk me out of it.
Then again my parents weren’t that bad. Because they didn’t abuse me nor did they threaten me. My father didn’t bother to comment on it and all my mother did was cry. Which is bearable when compared to many other people’s situation.
The system and procedure of marriage is also interesting here. In Christian families, first the parents collects all the details from the other family. I mean if Sam is looking for a woman to marry, then Sam’s family will collect all the details about the woman’s side of family. If details seems just fine, then comes the official customs. The first is ‘pennu kaanal’ which means bride seeing. The prospective groom along with a bunch of relatives comes to meet the girl. The two families get to know each other a bit and the P. G (Prospective Groom) and P. B (Prospective Bride) are allowed to talk to each other for like 10 minutes max, may be? If everything is perfect and no obvious faults are found, soon the P.B’s family visits the house of P.G. If the house is good enough and his relatives are fine too, then the marriage is fixed. After that an official ceremony is conducted at the church where the engagement takes place. And then comes the wedding.
After the wedding the bride moves in with her husband to his house. If it is the elder son of the family then he builds a new house and lives there with his wife and kids. The system of marriage here is actually funny. A few days ago I saw cartoon on Instagram. That sums up a woman’s married life. Let me show you that.
Nowadays movies are made on the life of married woman in a middle class kerala household. I think that’s a wonderful initiative. With that many people have started to notice things that were otherwise ignored or normalized. The Great Indian Kitchen is ranked number one on the list of such movies. If you want to know more about the movie click here.
Do you know there are thousands of Indian movies on love? Not just love, these movies are mostly about the couples who fight the whole world to defend their love and have a happy life. The movies aren’t lying. A huge number of people have to fight for their love. They have to convince family, relatives and sometimes even distance relatives too. Heard of Honour killing? It is a fast growing issue in India. This is an evidence of such struggles. “Honour killing or shame killing, is the murder of a member of a family, due to the perpetrators’ belief that the victim has brought shame or dishonor upon the family, or has violated the principles of a community or a religion with an honour culture”.(Wikipedia) If or when a person marries someone who isn’t the same caste/class/religion as his/her the relatives kill the both of them in the name of honour. Sometimes a whole village gangs up against the couple and brutally murders them. This system is mostly seen in uncivilised villages in India. There are movies on the same topic too. There is this one amazing movie named Zairat in which you can watch the plight of two young teens who went against the society. Now that I think about it I am so gonna write a blog on that movie for sure. What I planned to write about and what I wrote seems so different now. Sorry people.
So my parents didn’t approve my relationship earlier and I had to hide it for like 4 years. Now my marriage is fixed with the same guy and all the above said customs are awaiting. I am so excited. Hurrey…
Today I want to talk about a Malayalam movie. Not a review, not a synopsis. It’s just a revisit. Let’s go, shall we?
Hitler is one of the biggest hit in the career of megastar Mammootty. He is considered to be the epitome of masculinity among Malayali audience. In this movie as well he represents the men of Kerala.The title Hitler refers to the character played by Mammootty. He is locally known as Hitler due to his rough and tough character. He has a dominating personality with a rage towards the youngsters of the area for eve teasing and stalking his 5 younger sisters. Madhavankutty is the guardian of his sisters. He has already confirmed that women needs to be protected. Madhavankutty leading his sisters on the road is a symbol. Man who have the power, walks in front and submissive women obediently follows him. This representation of social reality was well received by the all time audience.
The ability to take one’s own decision is the strength of independence and basis of feminism. In this movie Madhavankutty never allows his sisters to express their opinions. He had been looking after the family since the death of their mother. Their father is married again with two daughters and his children from the first marriage do not even speak to him.
Throughout the movie we see Madhavankutty telling his sister what to do and what not to do. In the beginning, he even raises his voice and scolds his sisters for confessing that she ‘knows’ a boy. He accompanies or rather leads his sisters to and from their college. When he is busy with his work, he appoints a body guard for his sisters to do the same. He is an over possessive and over protective brother. All the more they are not allowed to go or stand outside of the gate without him. Madhavankutty is portrayed as a rough man to others but for his sisters he is a dotting brother who provides everything for his sisters. Madhavankutty brings lots of clothes for his sisters. Madhavankutty is the one who go shopping and brings clothes. The girls wear whatever they are given. Clearly the brother chooses for his sisters.
Madhavankutty is the protective patriarchal brother who can’t understand that these girls know better to take care of themselves. He has taken it on his shoulders to marry off his sisters and he is adamant that he will find partners for them. As he leaves the home to find a suitable guy for the eldest of his sisters, the girls are seen way too much excited indicating how frustrated or subdued they felt . They literally fist pump and jump. They sneak out with their cousin Gouri and go outing. (A song of happiness is followed, obviously)
In the absence of Madhavankutty Balachandran gets into his house to be with Ammu his prospected bride, and gets caught. This results in the hostility between the two families and Madhavankutty opposes any of the decided marriages to happen between families. Balachandran on the other hand wants to make them happen.
Things change when the eldest sister Seetha goes through an unfortunate incident where her unmarried professor under the influence sexually abuse her. Coming back to senses, the professor confesses his act to Madhavankutty. At first he becomes angry and beats him. But then professor says that he was drunk and Seetha didn’t try to protest either. Devastated on hearing this and how this incident could affect the lives of his sisters he goes with the solution that to marry off Seetha to the Professor. The confession of Professor who exploited his sister is well received by Madhavankutty. He later says that he will blame neither Professor nor Seetha. But he was upset that his sister lost something that made her herself. For him she was not the same anymore. He in order to escape from the possible ‘defamation’ for his sister was raped, he marries off her to the old Professor who is somewhat thirty years older than her. He didn’t bother to listens to what his sister has to say. He confronts Seetha and tells her that whether she likes it or not she has to marry the same professor. Because marrying someone else will be cheating in the brother’s opinion. Also he tells her that consider it as her destiny. (A destiny chosen by the brother ). The sisters become shocked to know that their elder sister is being married off to an older professor and they questions their brother. Their bodyguard Sathyapalan brings clothes for the wedding. Ammu becomes furious and throws away the clothes Madhavankutty has brought for them. She asks whether the groom hunting was a drama. She further says that the sisters wont let him to marry off their elder sister to an old man. Madhavankutty answered her question by slapping Ammu hard across her face and shouts that if he wills, he will marry off everyone as he wishes and no one will be able to stop him. (God, I hate that character)
This is Hitler. He doesn’t think of himself as answerable to anyone. Second, he silences everyone with violence. He overpower his sisters with the masculine authority that society and he himself bestowed upon him. Ammu who couldn’t agree with her brother’s decision, leaves the house and marries Balachandran. This infuriates Madhavankutty and breaks every ties with her too. His sister disobeying him was unacceptable to him. Also Ammu choosing Balachandran over Madhavankutty makes him despise Balan as well. Soon Madhavankutty’s father is killed by an enemy family leaving his two daughters orphan. Madhavankutty brings the two step sisters under his roof. But his other sisters are against this and they leave the house to stay with Balachandran and Ammu in the nearby house. He goes till the gate, apologizes for whatever he has done and asks his sisters to come out. Ammu comes out alone and tells that the sisters don’t want to live with him anymore. Madhavankutty become aggressive and shouts at Ammu that who is she to say that his sisters don’t want to come with him. She coolly replies that she is their elder sister who has the same rights and responsibility to sisters as much as he has. He shuts her up and ask how dare she could speak of her right over the girls. Madhavankutty is raged to hear that Ammu too have right over the sisters and they are not his ‘property’ only. His ego is hurt and authority is questioned. He believes his authority and rights over his sisters are limitless and unquestionable. The mere fact that the elder sister is speaking for the younger ones infuriates the brother. He becomes angry when he feels that Ammu is making decision for the sisters. The irony is, this is exactly what he has been doing all these time. He has been taking decisions for and over protecting them. But when Ammu started to do the same or he thought she was doing so he couldn’t handle it nor he could accept it. Madhavankutty keeps on shouting and raising voice at Ammu while the other people in the scene are talking rather peacefully and matter of factly.
Yelling is one of the most reprehensible acts of abuse. It is demeaning hostile and threatening with the intend of chastising. He yelled because his sisters denied to go with him and Ammu stood by them as a sister. He was disobeyed and his authority was questioned.
Gouri is portrayed as an extremely impulsive and opinionated woman. She enjoys her life and freedom unlike Madhavakutty’s sisters. She loves Madhavankutty who never shows love or affection to her. He even hates it when she comes to his home and talks to his sisters. He believes she is a bad influence on them. Madhavankutty behaves like a master or leader always. He carries himself as a saviour of women. First of his own sisters and then of his step sisters. It resembles the White knight syndrome. It is a personality characteristic found in most males that lead them to ; 1. Rush to the aid of any female they see who appears in any form of distress. 2. Become attracted to said ‘damsel in distress’ 3. Follow the dying code of chivalry and generally act like a nice guy. Men affected by the White Knight Syndrome are men who feel the need to protect, provide attention and affection, be viewed as ‘heroic’, boost their ego and generally feel good about themselves. (Not my words)
In this movie Madhavankutty chases Hrudhayabhanu, his regular victim, and beats him furiously because he saw him gesturing and talking to his sisters. The fact that his sister Thulasi likes him back and enjoys his presence doesn’t matter to him. Believing that she needs help Madhavankutty abuses Hrudhayabhanu. When Madhavankutty confirms that he won’t marry Gouri she tries to persuade him through a song sequence. He ignores her throughout but at the end he runs towards her thinking that she has fallen from some height. But that was a prank and she says she will wait for him to marry her. He who wants to protect his good boy image warns the workers who saw everything, not to tell any of what happened, otherwise he will beat them too. He gives them some money too. (What an unusual way of charity, right?🤪) Gouri surprisingly enjoys the verbal abuse her supposed to be fiancé gives her. According to Madhavankutty, she is a spoiled girl who he fears might spoil his sisters too. Gouri go to Madhavankutty’s house only in his absence. If she happens to be seen by him, he scolds her and insults her for not being a ‘good girl’. Obviously she doesn’t meet the criteria of a good girl made by him. Being bold and having opinions is bad in his book. Hence she is insulted, scolded and humiliated whenever they are face to face. Surprisingly or not so surprisingly Gouri enjoys this and considers this as a gesture of love. She is head over heels for a guy who never shows at least a glimpse of love for her.
His sisters also loves him so much even after so much tyranny and domination. The sisters can’t think of a life without their brother. Stockholm syndrome is a psychological condition in which a hostage emotionally bonds to his/her captor. The sisters are so used to be in under control of their brother that a life where they should take a decision by themselves must be terrifying for them. They are so familiar with Madhavankutty’s violence towards people. Hence when they here Balachandran has been beaten up by their brother, they immediately believe it. All through their life they have seen Madhavankutty chasing people, verbally abusing and beating them severely. This is the reason why people call him Hitler and the sisters believed that he could beat his Brother- in law also.
At the end when Madhavankutty leaves everyone and decides to wander places to understand the meaning of life Gouri and the sisters stand outside the gate and Gouri wolf whistles at a boy who was passing by them. He stops the bycycles and whistles back. Seeing this, Madhavankutty who with his anti Romeo attitude shouts at the boy and takes a u turn towards them. The movie ends where girls jump in delight to see their brother back. On the screen it is written that he can neither change his habits nor can he leave everything and go. Evidently everyone accepts the fact that he is never going to change his dominating and controlling personality.
The movie used a number of comic elements and a few comic characters to evoke laughter among audience. This movie focused mainly on brother sister relationship and few other things surrounded to it. The funniest thing is this film is considered as an epitome of a brother’s love for his sister(s).
Hey there, if you liked this article, please like and/or comment. Your feedback means a lot to me. Also if you want me to revisit any other Malayalam/Hindi/English movie, do tell me.. Ciao buddies….
I like reading books from a young age. Like when I was a preteen and all. But then somehow I lost the habit and had a dry life till my 16. That’s when I found a novel named I Too had a Love Story by Ravinder Singh. It’s a romantic tragedy in which the girlfriend dies at the end. There, I told you the story now you don’t have to read it and get your hopes up on Ravinder Singh. Because I was so overwhelmed by the novel and it’s climax that I cried inconsolably leading to a not so bad headache. God my eyes were sore that day. I have decided that ‘It’s fixed, from now on Ravinder Singh is my official favourite author’. The second novel came out and I bought that also and read. That time I was like ‘hmm, okay , Maybe not as good as the first one’ Then the third one came out and I scratched off his name from my favourite author and read Chetan Bhagat. There also I was impressed by only one of his works and then I got bored . During my Degree time I was sitting idly in my room and never bothered to hit the college library even for once. I saw a book on my room mate’s table. It had a picture of woman and a man lying on it’s cover and the title said, ‘P. S I Love You‘. (Drum rolls)
Was the book Good? Yeah! Did I love it? Yeah! Did I cry? A lot! Did I find my lost passion of reading? Hell yeah !!
Cecelia Ahern’s writing career began with the publication of P. S I Love You. So did my reading habit. I loved her every single work and I collected and read them twice or even thrice sometime. Her writing makes me feel that a friend is talking to me. I read all her novels and all of them are my favourites. But then again if I have to choose a top five ( there is no way I can shortlist them to two or three) I will put them like this. I won’t rank them, still. 💎 The Time of My Life 💎 The Book of Tomorrow 💎 Flawed & Perfect 💎 How to fall in Love 💎 If You Could See Me Now
I didn’t add P. S I Love You on the list because I thought it was obvious. After finishing Cecelia’s works I read some in Malayalam, my mother tongue. After that I read some of Jodi Picoult’s and John Green’s. Of Course I followed Nicholas Sparks also but soon I lost interest because it’s always the same thread. Boy meets girl, love happens, someone has a fatal disease, conflicts happens, someone with the disease dies. End of story. My favourite work of his is TheGuardian. (Ooh Goosebumps ).
Then I switched my interest into Crime/Mystery/psychological thrillers. But it was limited you know. I meant my reading. I chose Lars Kepler mainly to be blown away by crime thrillers. Among her The Stalker became my favourite. I read the Princess Trilogy by Jean Sasson Still Alice by Lisa Genova. The latter is such an amazing work of which I had written a review already.
I don’t know why I am telling you people all these. But now and then I am like Archimedes when he found his Principle. I am stricken with a sudden thought of book or movie and pour myself out on this page. If you are following me you can expect my doodlings. Most often they won’t be typical reviews or anything. Because who am I to judge an art. It’s more like how I felt about it. So if that’s what you want please do follow my page. If you want me to talk about any of the book just comment, if I have read it already then I will tell you. If I haven’t, I apologize in advance .
Somebody had the audacity to portray what exactly happens in most of the Indian Kitchens. Not a movie on Culinary wonders, let me clarify that. If you want to know what happens in the kitchens of India, watch this movie. I wouldn’t say every household is like this, but still 90% of family is like this only. Slight changes will be there if the family consists just husband and wife or if the family is a bit more “progressive”. But otherwise it is ditto what happens in every Kerala household. The movie The Great Indian Kitchen begins with an unnamed young woman passionately dancing. She marries an unnamed man soon enough and moves into her husbands house as the custom dictates. No character except the servant has a name in this movie. This is to show that the situation does not belong to a particular family but every single one.
If you are not familiar with the culture and tradition of India, I will give you a gist. # Most of the time, the actions of the girl child is judged by the phrase ‘behave yourself, you are to be married off to a good family’. # After marriage the bride has to leave her family and move in to her husband’s house. ( a few cultural groups are exempted) # More often than not this house includes grandfather, grandmother, father, mother and husband. Sometimes husband and wife move out and live in separate house. #Indian Culture basically preaches dependency. Like when we are younger they teach us that you are depended on your parents. Once the boy or girl becomes the age they are taught two different things. To a boy they say ; you have to earn a job and take care of your parents and wife and grandparents if they live with you. To a girl they say; start learning cooking, learn to drape a saree and complete the course with good marks. Because if your husband’s family agrees then you can get a job. # Not even once in the life chart independence is written. If you are a kid, you are depended on your parents, if you are an adult with a job then your parents are depended on you, if you have kids they are depended in you. If you become older you are depended on your kids. There is not a moment in your life where you live for yourself.
I am not against family values or relationships. I love my parents so much. But my problem is against the system which teaches you dependency. Which indirectly ask you to live for others only. I mean everyone needs a break right? ##### Back to the movie. This is the most realistic movie I have ever seen. The movie is 99.9% life and .1 % fantasy. I have read so many comments on the movie saying 1. The movie so lagging 2. Some scenes are repetitive that it’s boring. Dude, that’s the whole point if the movie. That’s how a housewife’s day goes. It’s repetitive. It’s boring. People make her do the same chores everyday. They tell her it’s her duty, her responsibility, her role as woman. They ask her to be proud of her life. They manipulate woman in thinking that they are doing the worthiest thing she can ever do. By failing to do the that she is failing herself and the whole womanhood. She is disappointing not just her family but the whole society. I know this because I have faced many of the things said in the movie. My friend said that she had similar experience as well. I have talked to a bunch of girls about this movie and they all said that they are scared to get married after watching that movie. Not because the movie puts you in an uncertainty, but in a certainty. This is how your life is going to be after marriage. Proposals will be like ‘will you be the partner for life? Everything will be shared and we will be equally contributing to our life and family’. Now the hidden message here is ‘ equality is like you do one thing and I will do the other. You cook, I’ll eat. You wash, I’ll wear. You clean, I’ll enjoy, you work, I’ll work too. You do the chores after work, I’ll rest after work.’ I am not being negative, this is what happens in majority if the families.
The “progressive” families in kerala have the attitude that “We will let our daughter-in-law or Wife work even after marriage “. Now what happens is the woman have to get up early, do all the chores, prepare break fast and lunch and go to work. Return from work, do the chores, cook tea and snacks and dinner. That too with minimum or no help from her partner. I have heard older people say men cooking and helping woman in the chores is so humiliating for himself. It’s not at all manly. Cleaning,cooking and taking care of babies are the duties of woman only. Doing those makes a man weak and less manly. A generation of people thinks this and propagates the same. But fortunately present generation doesn’t think so. They think a little more clearly and logically. Men have realized that cooking is not a gender role but a life skill. That’s why majority of the men knows almost everything. They do it all the time when they live alone. They clean their own plates, clothes and room. They cook everything from common rice and curry to Biriyani. But once they get married, they forget everything. They cook occasionally, when they are free and feels like cooking, which happens once in a month or so. They cook only specials for special days. Only if they have the mood. But women doesn’t have that freedom. She can’t cook only if she have mood. She have to cook no matter what.
I once had a discussion with my friend about these topics and I asked him. Will you help your wife in chores. He said ‘If I have job and I am tired then no’.
What if your wife have job and she is tired or sick? ‘If she is sick then she doesn’t have to do it either’.
Oh That’s good. So what about the chores? ‘We can order food, and she can wash the clothes tomorrow or day after tomorrow. I won’t force her to do anything anyway’.
Still you won’t do it huh. ‘Why is it necessary that I should do it. Why are you forcing me?’
Oops. Sorry. Nope.. Nothing. So that’s how his mind worked.
Getting back to the movie. It’s basically a movie on a woman cooking and cleaning. Many people had positive response to it as well. There were some people who understood that the effect of this movie is for a week maximum. Many men said that they will change for a week or so, after that they will be the same old them. So make the best out if it and involve husbands in doing chores. It’s a relief to see there are men who see things clearly and acknowledges it. They give us the hope of a better tomorrow. I know a lot of people who believes feminism means ‘Man-hating’. People consider being a feminist as such a bad or worse thing. In a world of such people, the men who are educated and rational are clearly a blessing. Every single person is responsible for what happens in this world today. We cause it in one way or the other. Most of the time a woman can’t cut her own hair. She needs the permission of her father, mother, brother, grandparents, (after marriage) husband and in laws most of the time. She doesn’t have rights on her own hair. Also cutting a long hair short can get you in trouble and a lot of judging. May be that’s a topic for another time. Till then I would suggest you to watch The Great Indian Kitchen if you want to see the absolute reality. Ciao…