From the hearth

This new dance film, set in a South Indian household in the ’80s, combines Bharatanatyam with popping and locking as it explores the connection women share with the kitchen

Published: 10th February 2021 06:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th February 2021 06:41 AM   |  A+A-

A still from the film The Kitchen

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Is it possible to speak without words? Vishwakiran Nambi says yes and shows how this can be done through his latest dance film The Kitchen. The 10-minute long movie, which was screened at Chamundeshwari Studios in Vasanth Nagar on Feb. 6, is set in a ’80s South Indian kitchen. It features four women from different age groups who emote their stories through movement and abhinaya. 

The Kitchen uses a blend of contemporary dance and Bharatanatyam to show the women’s emotional connection with the space, especially since traditional domestic roles are assigned to women in a patriarchal society. “The story is inspired by the life and memory of my mother. I always saw her busy in the kitchen,” says Nambi.

He further adds, “The base of the movie is Bharatanatyam but all the dancers are trained in Indian contemporary dance, so you can see some elements of that too. We also wanted to see how we could make it more versatile so we added a little locking and popping as well.” Since not everyone is well versed with dance vocabulary, there are certain conversations between the characters that enable the audience to get some context about the story.  

 It features dancers Shruti Suresh, Namitha B Rao, Aswathy Manoharan and Maithri Rao. Its music was composed by Govinda Vasantha, who is one of the founding members of the band Thaikkudam Bridge, and has worked as a music director for Tamil films, like 96. 

Nambi had planned, conceptualised and shot this project in 2018, but its post production took time. “I never treated it like a music video but a movie, so budget was a slight constraint. And we wanted a producer who would understand the aesthetic side of the movie. Vandana Menon, the producer of the movie who is a dancer herself, helped us achieve that,” says Nambi, who is known for choreography in Kannada movies like Kavaludaari  and the National Award-winning Mahanati (Telugu/Tamil).

 The 33-year-old director is currently sending the movie to various festivals like Kochi Biennale and International Film Festival of India before releasing it on an OTT platform. While people still have to wait to watch the movie, some who were a part of the screening could not help but applaud the work. Actor Ananya Kashyap says she connected with the movie on a personal level.

“It’s a very brave approach. Sometimes, it’s difficult to express in words a bold subject like this but it gets even more difficult when you have to do so through movement. I have always been surrounded by strong women like my mother and sister, who were financially independent, but they still had to deal with a judgemental patriarchal society,” says the actor of Mundina Nildana fame.


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